Foot of snow blankets Portland, above-freezing temperatures days away
The bottom line for everyone Wednesday: If you don't have to drive, stay inside.
Snow started falling during the Tuesday evening commute and continued overnight. Between 8 inches and a foot of snow has been about standard throughout the Portland metro area and the Columbia River Gorge, but some areas of North Portland and higher elevations elsewhere report totals in the 16 to 18-inch range.
The National Weather Service has named the event "Winter Storm Jupiter," and much of the valley shouldn't expect thawing temperatures until well into the weekend. The highs sit around freezing until Saturday, but don't really promise to make a dent until the Sunday highs spike into the 40s.
With the melting, forecasters are predicting warmer temperatures will arrive with rain -- and a distinct, widespread flooding risk. Those in lower elevations will have the melting blanket of snow as well as new rainfall total come all at once Sunday into Monday, and should be aware of general flooding and river level dangers.
KATU crews are encountering hundreds of abandoned cars and icy and snowy conditions on all area highways and roads, and some Good Samaritans have been out and about helping pull the vehicles onto less-snowy roadways.
The Oregon Department of Transportation lifted a requirement for drivers to chain-up on all Portland-area highways and state roads.
Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River was closed for hours Wednesday due to blizzard conditions, but reopened around 1 p.m.
ODOT used salt on Highway 26 Tuesday evening, but they say they only have a "limited supply" left.
TriMet service is "severely" impacted, with reduced service and shuttle buses for MAX lines that couldn't function due to ice, downed trees and downed power lines. Many buses will be on snow routes, and all will be on cable chains. Click here for more info from TriMet. The streetcar is also affected by downed trees and power lines.
Tree branches hanging low under snow weight interfered with the path of all public transit.
School districts all over the area – including Portland Public Schools – closed for the day.