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Phone: 503-823-5185

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ALERT: City prepares for strong winter storm predicted to bring low snow levels today

February 28, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Cheryl Kuck

Portland Bureau of Transportation

503-577-8236

cheryl.kuck@portlandoregon.gov

City prepares for strong winter storm predicted to bring low snow levels today

(Portland, Ore.) — National and local forecasts are predicting that a strong winter storm front will bring low snow levels to the Portland metropolitan region this afternoon before the late afternoon and evening commute. Snow levels are expected to settle in near the 500 to 1,000 foot range later tonight and on Wednesday through Thursday.  High winds are also expected with this storm system. The traveling public is advised to be alert for snow later this afternoon and through Thursday, limited visibility, fallen trees and branches or power lines, and widespread snowy, slushy and slippery streets and sidewalks in tonight’s commute and through Thursday.

Because there is still significant uncertainty in the amount, type and distribution of precipitation, the traveling public is advised to make a plan now for today’s evening commute and Wednesday and Thursday commutes; avoid driving on icy, snowy, or slushy streets; take transit if at all possible; or delay their trip until conditions improve. Motorists driving in elevations above 500 feet or on steep hills are advised to carry chains and use them on icy, snowy or slushy streets.

In wintry weather, motorists are advised to equip their vehicles with an emergency kit, chains, a full tank of gas, proper tire pressure, and transit schedules for their routes to and from work. Motorists are advised to stay with their vehicle in a snow storm, not to park on rail tracks, and not to park in a travel lane. Motorists should pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for conditions to improve and help to arrive. The City is prepared to tow any vehicle that interferes with light rail and Streetcar operations or creates a safety hazard for other travelers and emergency responders.

Pedestrians and bicyclists should dress warmly and make sure they can see and be seen. Use lights, wear high visibility clothing, and be cautious crossing streets.

Wet, heavy snow plus wind gusts forecasted to reach 30-35 miles per hour may bring trees, branches, or power lines in the streets and yards. Citizens are advised to report debris, mud, rocks, trees, or branches blocking a road or sidewalk inPortlandby calling 503-823-1700 and report a downed power line by calling PGE at 503-464-7777. Do not try to free power lines or remove tree limbs from lines by yourself.

City crews will provide around the clock operations to monitor conditions, patrol routes, and keep roads clear and safe. Transportation’s trucks are equipped with chains, plows and sanders are ready to be deployed as needed. The City’s limited resources are focused on bridges, overpasses, emergency response routes, major bus routes and known trouble spots throughout the city. View the Portland Plow Map at www.portlandonline.com/transportation/plowmap for plow routes and elevation information.

The public is advised thatPortlandcan have widely varying weather conditions throughout the city. It is not uncommon to have a significant amount of snow accumulation in one part of the city while a few miles away there is no snow at all.Portlandhas hills on both the east and the west sides of the city, several bridges and overpasses, and streets along rivers that are more exposed to freezing temperatures. These varying conditions increase travel difficulties and require special attention from City crews.

Because conditions can change quickly and without warning, the City recommends Portlanders be prepared, be alert, and monitor conditions where they are traveling. The site www.PublicAlerts.org provides links to street closures, highway road conditions, transit schedules and service alerts, warming shelters and services for vulnerable populations, and other emergency information.

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