PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Conditions in The Columbia River Gorge began to deteriorate Tuesday afternoon as the rain began to fall, turning the Hood River area into a sheet of ice.
By Tuesday afternoon, the icy conditions were no match for traffic trying to pass through the gorge on I-84. Almost half a dozen semi-trucks jacked knifed and several other vehicles including a truck with a trailer slide off the side of the road. ODOT announced Wednesday morning they expected this stretch of I-84 between Troutdale and Hood River to remain closed all day.
By nightfall, the ice coated cars and signs, making any kind of travel hazardous. Many semi-trucks, RV trailers and cars spent the night in the Hood River Walmart parking lot waiting for the roads to reopen.
Fortunately there were no major injuries.
The Hood River Fire department shared several photos of a crash involving a semi truck that crashed and overturned on I-84.
Truck driver Todd Flippence was stuck when his route was blocked by the road closures.
“I’m going to have to stay here,” Flippence said. “It’s crazy. Freezing rain is dangerous.”
Another driver, Dan, was stuck since Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a nightmare. This is a joke,” Dan said. “You can not do it. You can not drive in this wind and ice. There’s no way no matter how heavy you are. Just with the wind alone you get blown over — not a problem.”
It’s the same story across the river in Washington, where SR 14 from Washougal to White Salmon was closed to semis. The Washington Department of Transportation required chains on all cars.
Other spots like Battle Ground, Happy Valley, Forest Grove and Hillsboro are still below freezing, as well. Ice can accumulate quickly on the roads.
But with temperatures above freezing in so many spots, it looks like the ice storm will mainly hit the east metro area and the gorge.
People who live closer to the Gorge could see an inch or more of ice.
Roads were icy, with at least one crash reported, when a car rolled over on Highway 30 at Cornelius Pass. The driver told KOIN 6 News that another car cut him off and he hit ice, swerved and flipped.
But the flood watch remains in effect for a large portion of the KOIN 6 News viewing area. As the temperatures rise and the rains come, floods are expected.