(Feb. 26, 2019) The National Weather Service has notified the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) of the potential for accumulating snow of a half inch to 2 inches in the Portland area late Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday morning commute hours. Temperatures may remain low for much of the morning on Wednesday, so snow that accumulates may linger.
There may be more accumulations in areas south and west of Portland, so everyone should check the elevation and weather conditions at your home, your destination and areas along your route before starting a trip. Conditions will likely vary across the metropolitan area, depending on elevation and proximity to colder winds from the Columbia River Gorge.
PBOT advises the public to be aware of forecasts, use caution, delay your travel to avoid traveling during forecast snow or ice. Consider public transit, and check trimet.org/alertsand portlandstreetcar.org for service alerts before you go.
PBOT also reminds property owners, tenants and businesses that they are responsible for clearing sidewalks of snow and ice. It is important that sidewalks are clear so that people who are walking to transit and people with disabilities can move about safely.
In snowy and icy conditions, PBOT strongly advises delaying travel if possible. If people must travel, PBOT recommends taking public transit.
While the forecast is still unclear, there are some simple things all Portlanders can do to prepare themselves for winter weather.
- Make a checklist for your home, business, and/or vehicle. Property owners, tenants and businesses should have supplies on hand, such as ice melt and snow shovels to clear sidewalks as well as pathways across their driveways. People driving should carry snow chains and an emergency kit.
- Create an emergency plan with your family or work colleagues that emphasizes telecommuting, public transit and emergency meeting locations for your Monday morning commute. Check our Winter Weather Center to see the priority snow and ice routes nearest you.
- Know your elevation, and the elevation of areas you are traveling to and through. Check the interactive elevation map in the "Elevation, Weather and Traffic" section of PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to see if your area is located at 500 feet or 1,000 above sea level. Use PortlandMaps.com to look up any address in Portland and find the approximate elevation.
Zoom in on your travel route online, see areas at 500 feet or 1,000 feet or higher in the
Use PortlandMaps.com to look up any address in Portland and find the approximate elevation
PBOT's Maintenance Operations plans to have extra crews working Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to prepare. As of Wednesday morning, Maintenance Operations will go into Incident Command System (ICS) mode, working around the clock in 12-hour shifts. We are treating our anti-icing routes. We are watching the forecast and will adjust our response accordingly, including plowing and salting city streets.
PBOT works to keep vital public transit lines and emergency routes open in winter weather. These priority snow and ice routes are the most critical for our city’s police and fire stations, hospitals, schools, frequent bus routes, the downtown core and major business districts -- about a third of our entire street grid. PBOT’s mission is to provide at least one passable lane in each direction on these priority routes so that vehicles with front-wheel drive or traction devices can get through. In a major snowfall, it can take our crews up to 12 hours to cover these priority routes once.
Please give PBOT crews time and space to do their work in winter weather. Our crews drive equipment in low visibility and extreme weather. DO NOT cut in front of them or try and pass them at any time. Even if they are going slow, you will find the road much clearer and safer behind a snowplow than in front!
Don’t assume you know what their job is. Our crews perform multiple jobs with their trucks, not just plowing. If you see a truck with its plow up, they may be travelling between points on their route, refueling, responding to an emergency or otherwise doing tasks to keep the city moving during winter weather.
PBOT crews and emergency management volunteers took a ride in our plows and describe why it's important for you to keep a safe distance from them in winter weather:
- Stay informed. Sign up for PBOT alerts via text or email. Go to PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to track real-time weather, traffic, road closures and plow information. Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email or phone.
- Never abandon your vehicle in a travel lane. If you choose to drive and your vehicle loses traction, pull over into a shoulder or legal parking space. You can call for a tow truck and remain with your vehicle. Or you can leave your vehicle legally parked and walk carefully to a public transit stop or other safe place. Any vehicle creating a safety hazard is subject to citation, tow and impound. The cost of a citation and tow for abandoned vehicles preventing free passage (blocking a travel lane) is $201. Additional costs to store a towed vehicle longer than four hours is $27 per day.
At this time forecasts are changing and variable. Please monitor the weather forecast for both your home, your travel destination and your route, as road conditions could vary throughout the city beginning Friday evening.
PBOT provides tips for winter travel for people walking, biking or driving. Learn more at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/snow
PBOT’s Misson: In winter weather, our crews work around the clock on our designated snow and ice routes to make sure there is one passable lane in each direction as soon as possible after a winter storm.
This means that front wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with traction devices such as snow chains will be able to get through.