PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A record 10.8 inches of snowfall and hours of compact wet snow has made for treacherous driving conditions throughout the Portland metro early Thursday morning.

From higher elevations to major interstates, everywhere is a problem area Thursday morning, according to Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“It’s cold, it’s snowy and it’s icy. It’s a bad day out there on the roads,” said Hamilton.

Numerous vehicles are stalled or moving slowly on snow-covered interstates and highways. For example, Interstate 5 near Lombard is lined with semi-trucks and personal vehicles that were forced to come to a standstill. 

Drivers that are stuck out on the roads are urged to stay with their vehicles and wait for response teams to come out.

One man who has been trying to get home to Vancouver since 3 p.m. Wednesday told KOIN 6 that he was forced to hunker down in his van on Highway 26.

“I just couldn’t go anywhere,” he said. “I had to pull over and get some rest. But I didn’t sleep.”

“This is like a nightmare,” he added. “I thought I was going to die in the van here overnight … I miss my children.”

Abandoned cars that are blocking roads to access hospitals or used for public transit are at risk of being towed, according to Dylan Rivera with the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Although some side streets are passable, road conditions are slippery due to packed snow and ice. City crews plowed several main streets overnight.

“We’re working around the clock right now — 24/7. Our crews are out there doing the best they can,” said Hamilton.

If possible, drivers are urged to delay travel and stay off roads.

“The public can help by staying off the roads, stay home and let us work these routes, let us continue to work on making these streets passable as quickly as possible,” said Rivera.

PBOT said that it will not issue parking citations for vehicles that overstay parking time limits at parking meters and at other public parking spaces with time limits. This will last until noon on Saturday. Car owners will, however, be responsible for towing charges and fees.

The bureau also said they will not issue citations for vehicles that are towed for blocking a travel lane or impeding access, but vehicle owners will be responsible for all towing charges and fees.

Similar conditions across the river have prompted the Washington State Department of Transportation to schedule a 24/7 rotation for crews through Sunday.

Even though WSDOT is prioritizing major roadways, spokesperson Tamara Greenwell warned that roads will not be cleared fully very quickly. During this time, crews will be focused on clearing at least one lane of Interstate 5, Interstate 205, State Route 14 and State Route 500.

“We have really diverse roadway conditions, ” said Greenwell. ” Our crews started in advance of the winter storm and continued overnight to attack the snow and ice built up. We had a lot of snowfall in a short period of time yesterday, so we’re salting, de-icing and we’re plowing in locations.”

Jackknifed semi-truck on I-5 SB near La Center on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 (Courtesy: WSDOT).

“What’s on the roads will stay on the roads until we can clear it,” Greenwell added.

Just before 7:45 a.m., WSDOT tweeted that a jackknifed semi-truck is blocking the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near La Center.

Tough road conditions have prompted multiple school districts across Oregon and Southwest Washington to delay or cancel classes for Thursday.

A Winter Weather Advisory has replaced a Winter Storm Warning for Portland, which is now in effect until 8 a.m. Thursday. During this time, the valley could get another 2 inches of snow while the coast could measure 1 more inch.

Stay with KOIN 6 for continuing coverage.