PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It is a rare event when snow falls in the Willamette Valley floor in April. This seems to be one of those rare events.
A winter weather advisory will be in place for the Portland metro area from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. with a high level of disruption for the Monday morning commute. Snow totals in the higher elevations of Portland metro range from a half-inch to 2 inches.
Heavy snow in the mountains and passes is expected
Crews with the Portland Bureau of Transportation will be out overnight and will respond accordingly to any areas that need attention, PBOT spokesperson Hannah Schafer told KOIN 6 News.
“The road temperatures are above freezing and we don’t expect them to drop below that,” Schafer said. “We aren’t particularly concerned about sticking snow but we want to remind people that even slushy snow can be pretty slick and that might happen in the (Monday morning) commute.”
She also suggested delaying your morning commute until later, if you are able.
This is “one of the trickier forecasts we can get here in Portland,” she said, noting that elevation changes in a motorists trip can also change road conditions dramatically.
PBOT crews will focus on areas with an elevation of 1000 feet or higher.
“In Portland, that’s Council Crest and the higher up areas of the West Hills and we will have folks (road crews) out there primarily. There are other areas that can be higher elevation, as well, and get slick sooner such as Mount Scott on the east side,” Schafer said.
One tip she had for drivers: keep a significant stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you just in case you have to brake quickly.
Oregon Department of Transportation crews will also be out across the region. They say if you head to higher elevations, keep your car packed with supplies like water and emergency kits.
“We might need chains out there on the road,” said ODOT’s Don Hamilton.”Make sure that you’re ready in case you have some problems out there.”
Another tip: know what the conditions are where you’re heading to because while things might look great where you start your commute, the end destination could be an entirely different story.
“Look at the cameras. Find out what conditions are like, not just for where you are but for the route you’re taking out there and for where you’re going, too,” said Hamilton. “Winter is never over until summer.”
Transportation officials also suggest avoiding getting out if your car is not prepared for slick or wintery conditions. You can also opt-in for public transit if you need to get to work.