Winter weather advisory expands to Portland-Metro, freezing rain expected Wednesday AM

Drivers should be prepared for an icy Wednesday morning commute as more freezing rain is expected to fall in the Portland-Vancouver area. (KATU Photo)

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the western part of the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, Vancouver and areas surrounding the two cities.

The advisory goes into effect midnight Tuesday and ends at noon Wednesday. Up to one tenth of an inch of ice is expected.

A previous advisory was just for the western part of the Gorge.

Freezing rain began developing in the area late Tuesday night but KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said most of it will come down between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wednesday. It will mean 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.

Road crews across the metro area are applying de-icer to certain roads and bridges overnight. Then they plan to follow up with sand and gravel, and in some cases they will use salt.

TriMet said MAX trains will run all night to keep ice from building up on cables, and many buses are still using chains, which slows them down. TriMet officials said riders should consider delaying their commute a few hours if it becomes too icy and to be careful on their way to stops and platforms.

Washington County snow zones will stay active through Wednesday morning. People are required to have chains or traction tires on 175th Avenue between Scholls Ferry and Rigert roads as well as Barnes Road from 118th Avenue to the county line, and Cornell Road, east of Cedar Hills Boulevard.

There is good news, however. Salesky said warmer temperatures and just plain rain showers will arrive Wednesday afternoon, improving travel conditions.

The major roads dramatically improved throughout Tuesday but many of the side streets never recovered.

Watch the 11 p.m. Forecast:

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