Snow moves up into the hills, down into the Gorge

PORTLAND, Ore. - More snow showers were expected to hit the Northwest early Wednesday morning, but as the day dawned, most lowland areas were seeing just a cold rain.

KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said the snow level would likely rise to above 2,000 feet west of the Cascades as dawn broke. "The threat of snow is over" for valley locations she said.

That wasn't the case in the Columbia River Gorge, however, where more snow piled up in Hood River and other locations into the afternoon. Streets had a thick layer of snow in Hood River and snow also covered lanes of Interstate 84 through the Gorge. View ODOT cameras

Hood River School District officials decided to release students an hour early on Wednesday as the snow continued to come down.

The National Weather Service had forecast 1 to 3 inches of snow in the northern Willamette Valley early Wednesday morning, with more at the higher elevations, which did see some new snow.

But lower elevations around the Portland area missed out on the new round of snow.

Wednesday's winter weather advisory for snow is in effect from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., the NWS said. A High Wind Warning is also in effect for parts of the Oregon Coast until 10 p.m.

While surface streets and highways around the area remained clear of snow, anyone heading for a mountain pass in either the Cascades or the Coast Range should be prepared for winter driving conditions, including mandatory use of traction chains or other devices according to ODOT.

The Cascades will get 10 to 18 inches of new snow in southwest Washington while the North Oregon Cascades will get 6 to 10 inches, adding to a growing base at ski resorts. Check conditions

The North and Central Oregon coast could also see wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph on Wednesday, the NWS said.

Snow showers moved through the Northwest Tuesday morning, giving the area an early taste of winter. Around Portland, road crews were keeping an eye on conditions but most streets at low elevations remained just wet despite the snow flurries.

"Travelers should check road conditions Wednesday morning and, if warranted, consider leaving later, taking mass transit or staying home," said Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Updates can be found on the TriMet website and a special service alerts updates page.

Meanwhile, transportation crews are monitoring conditions and will continue routine operations to keep streets safe and clean, said Cheryl Kuck with the Portland Bureau of Transportation.