PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Some drivers spent the night inside their cars after 10.8 inches of snow blanketed much of the Portland area Wednesday – the second most snow ever recorded in a single day in Portland.
The weather caught many off guard or unprepared for just how bad conditions would be. The only other time Portland received more snow than this in a day was in 1943.
For anyone still stranded in their vehicles, the National Weather Service has tips to stay safe.
The first thing they say to do if your car is stuck is to stay in your vehicle. In situations where wind is blowing the snow around and temperatures are below freezing, it’s easy to get disoriented.
Drivers should turn their vehicle on and run the motor for about 10 minutes each hour for heat. While running the motor, crack the window for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Also, be sure to clear snow from the exhaust pipe to avoid gas poisoning.
Stranded drivers should make sure they’re visible to rescuers. Turn on the dome light of your car when you’re running the engine or tie a bright-colored cloth to the antenna or door of the vehicle.
When the snow stops falling, raise the hood of your vehicle to indicate you need help.
Before venturing out in snowy conditions, the Oregon Department of Transportation has advice on how people can prepare.
First, you should check some basic things on your car. Make sure the heater and defrost functions are working and check to see that the antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and other fluids are filled. You should test the lights on your car and ensure your tires are in good condition.
In winter driving conditions, drivers should carry chains or use safety tires and have an automotive safety kit in their vehicle.
While driving in the snow and ice, do not use cruise control. If you lose traction while driving and your vehicle feels like it’s floating, gradually slow down. Don’t slam on the brakes.
Watch for shaded areas and snow down before them. The shade can keep roads cold and frozen.
Drivers traveling in the snow should make sure they have the following items in their vehicle:
- Working flashlight and extra batteries
- Cell phone and charger
- Extra food and water
- Tools: jack, lug wrench, shovel
- Road maps
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Extra warm clothes: Boots, hat and gloves
- First aid kit
- Matches or lighter
- Battery jumper cables
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Paper towels
- Extra washer fluid
- Chains or traction tires
- A full fuel tank
However, it’s worth saying: Don’t venture outside in these dangerous conditions unless it’s an emergency.