Bracing for Round 2: Possible snow, freezing rain overnight

Cars made their way over roads mostly clear of ice and snow Tuesday, but some of the side streets and roads at higher elevations were still dicey. (KATU Photo)

Click here for updated story: Winter weather advisory expands to Portland-Metro, freezing rain expected

Original story:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Many side streets remained treacherous for drivers Tuesday after the region was hammered with ice and snow over the Christmas holiday.

More snow and freezing rain is headed back into the area between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Wednesday, meaning the morning commute for many drivers will be dicey. While the forecast calls for only light accumulations, Oregon and Washington’s departments of transportation are preparing the roads to help keep drivers moving and safe.

LATEST FORECAST

Crews in Washington have been working 24-hour shifts since Thursday. Before Christmas, crews put down de-icer. As snow fell Christmas Eve, crews used salt as well as de-icer.

Many of the roads in southwest Washington are now completely cleared.

Washington Department of Transportation officials said crews are still staying on their 24-hour shifts to prepare the roads in case any additional ice or snow falls overnight.

“We never know what we are going to get,” said Tamara Greenwell, with the department. “The Christmas Eve storm kind of hit a lot of people off guard, but we were prepared. Our crews were out there, putting down material as needed. It’s important to note to folks that weather conditions change and they change quickly. We can’t be everywhere at once.”

While road conditions improved in Portland during the day Tuesday, ice and snow still caused problems.

A number of cars were still abandoned on roads, causing delays for many drivers.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, it did use salt during the Christmas holiday storm on the Glen Jackson and Interstate 5 bridges. For this next burst of precipitation, it will use it sparingly.

And shortly before 4 p.m., city officials closed Northeast Halsey from 145th to 148th and said crews were headed to the area to spread de-icer and sand.

KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said Tuesday afternoon that while skies will stay dry for the afternoon, more freezing rain will likely move into the region late tonight, causing roads to ice over.

“It’s going to be a short-lived event, and it’s not going to be all that big compared to the past couple of days – heck, by late morning, early afternoon, it’ll all be pretty much over and done with,” he said.

Most of the precipitation will stay south of the Portland-Metro area, and most of the action will occur east of Interstate 205. A Winter Weather Advisory went into effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday until noon Wednesday. It mainly affects the western part of the Columbia River Gorge -- from Troutdale to Cascade Locks.

Any roads in the region that are wet now will refreeze overnight.

The low temperature for overnight in Portland will be 32 degrees.

Things didn’t warm up much Tuesday in Portland. It was only 33 degrees at 4 p.m.

But there is good news. Salesky said warmer temperatures will arrive Wednesday afternoon, improving travel conditions.

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