Oregon Weather Gets Icy and Dicey
|Manzanita's San Dune Inn looks lovely but frightfully
cold (photo Brian Hines).
(Portland, Oregon) - Snow and more snow, then lots of ice,
accidents and the proliferation of chained vehicles.
This was all of northwest Oregon on Sunday and Monday,
as a big blast of arctic air took hold over Portland, the coast range
and the Oregon coast. And it's not expected to end soon - even expected
to get worse.
In the coast range, on Highway 26, the heavy snow showed
up early. Saturday afternoon saw major banks of snow along the side of
the highway, and enough cold and wet slush on the pavement to make things
slippery on the two summits along the highway. One is approximately 1200
feet and the other 1600 feet, but there were miles of stretches surrounding
both that were covered in the slippery stuff.
|Highway 26 looked much worse than this in many places on Saturday.
Hazardous driving conditions still exist in the coast range,
along Highway 26, Highway 6 (to Tillamook) and Highway 18 to Lincoln City
and the central coast. At 5 a.m., the Murphy Hill Summit reported a temperature
of 19 degrees, and much of that road is as snow-covered as any you’ll
see in Portland. The area climbed to a mere 21 degrees by 4 p.m. Monday.
The City of Portland made snow chains mandatory Sunday
afternoon on all highways around the city. To most, this meant I-5, I-84,
Highway 30 and 26, among others. But to the surprise of most Portlanders,
many other main thoroughfares are considered state highways, such as 82
Ave., Barbur Boulevard, Powell, Lombard and more. That was later rescinded
in the wee hours of Monday morning.
|One dog in Beaverton was dressed as warmly as his human
The Sylvan Hill on Highway 26 experienced some of the biggest
problems, being the highest point on any heavily traveled main arterial
in Portland. Early on Sunday there were 45-minute delays, thanks to wrecks
and extreme problems getting up that snowy, windy hill.
Consequently, most schools in the Portland area remain
closed, as are most school districts on the coast.
With temperatures well below 30, most streets were frozen
over fairly quickly. Even small inclines created major problems for motorists
without traction devices. For example, Laurelwood Avenue in Beaverton
created some big issues for some who braved the trip from nearby neighborhoods
to Zupan’s Market. It’s a tiny hill where motorists must stop
for a stop light, but even that caused some to slide backwards, sometimes
never able to make it onto adjoining Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.
|A frozen pond creates scenic splendor in the Raleigh Hills area.
On the Oregon coast, snow hit hard and things got icy later
on Sunday as the arctic blast took hold there, freezing up streets before
dark. Brian Hines, owner of San
Dune Inn in Manzanita, said about an inch dusted the coastal town
early in the day. But by 9 p.m., Pizza Garden owner Phil Kaufman said
the streets in the Nehalem Bay area had become dangerous.
many in north coast towns like Seaside and Cannon Beach reveled in the
wintry wonderland on the sand, having snowball fights by the sea and snapping
pictures of a rare occurrence on the coast.
Monday has seen conditions clear up considerably along
Highway 101, as no new snow has allowed the temperate coastal climate
to melt the roadways and dry them up. Lincoln City was completely clear
on Monday afternoon, with only snow on the sides of the roads.
|A Beaverton home blends in with its white picket fence.
Hines said the snow killed all traffic and business in
the area Monday, and he felt “isolated.”
half the cars on the road have chains,” Hines said. “The rest
are slipping and sliding everywhere. Everyone is just hunkered down. No
phone calls. No walk-in traffic, obviously. Just laying back, catching
up on the Christmas cards and playin' jazz.”
In Oceanside, Sarah McDonald co-owns Sea
Sweet Vacation Rentals. She said the ocean was rough, and noted how
usually the snow melts quickly – if it happens at all on the coast.
|Wheeler, on the north coast.
At Arch Cape House
near Cannon Beach, Cynthia Malkowski joked about the medieval vibe of
having a castle in such weather, and about how the name of the place was
once St. Bernard’s.
"I really do feel like St. Bernard," Malkowski
said. "We are no longer called that of course, but it is the history
of this place. We are here in this warm and welcoming castle, ready to
help stranded travelers on their journey."
For more see the Oregon
Coast Weather page.
big freeze is far from over in Portland, although the coast will clear
up. The weather forecast from the National Weather Service calls for conditions
to worsen greatly, with more snow kicking in by mid-week. Weather pundits
are warning that more, bigger storms are coming Wednesday and Thursday,
and simple travel around the streets will be very difficult.
|Cannon Beach's snowy Haystack Rock (photo Seaside Aquarium)
Tuesday: Sunny with highs around 27; east
winds at 11 mph.
Wednesday: Some snow after 10 a.m., ending
by 10 p.m. Highs near 29; SW winds around 21 mph.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near
25 and a 60 percent chance of more snow, turning to showers later in the
evening. Nighttime lows expected around 15 degrees, which means icy conditions
on the road.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near
25, evening low around 14.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high
near 26 and another chance of snow at night.
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