Thursday, September 28

Rare, record-breaking April snow blankets Portland area

Most of the Portland metro will awake Monday to a blanket of up to an inch of snow, the latest the city has seen winter weather in at least 80 years.

It’s the first measurable snow in April recorded at the Portland International Airport since records began in 1940.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through 10 a.m. Monday. The National Weather Service predicted anywhere from a half inch to two inches of snow in Portland, and three to six inches at elevations above 500 feet, such as Council Crest.

The forecasts proved correct as residents in Portland neighborhoods from Mount Tabor to Nob Hill to St. John’s reported a heavy, wet mix of slushy snow covering their cars, backyards and gardens.

The snow showers are expected to transition into rain after 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. The snow level will rise to elevations around 2000 feet by the afternoon, keeping the frigid precipitation out of the metro area. A high temperature of 44 degrees is expected Monday, which will keep any accumulated snow from sticking around for long. Winds are pushing out of the northwest at 6 to 13 miles per hour but gusts could reach as high as 20 miles per hour.

The peak period of snow fall was from about 3 to 7 a.m., forecasters said, as an unseasonably cold low pressure system moved inland across the valley floor.

The Cascades foothills saw around 6 inches of snow, according to the the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Portland Public Schools, Gresham-Barlow, and Vancouver school districts, as well as several others in the Portland area, are closed Monday after the unseasonably late snowfall. School districts in the suburbs, including Beaverton, Tigard and Sherwood, delayed their starts by two hours.

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Portland and Vancouver city buildings will also open at 10 a.m. Monday due to downed trees and slick roads from the inclement weather.

In parts of Southwest Washington, at least four inches have fallen and significant snowfall is continues at 8 a.m.

By 8 a.m., one of Portland area’s main highways was shut down after the rare shot of heavy spring snow and wind brought trees down onto the roadway.

All lanes of U.S. 26 were closed from OR 217 to Interstate 405 on Portland’s west side, according to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson Don Hamilton.

In Northwest Portland, Skyline Boulevard was closed in two spots, between West Burnside and Northwest Cornell Road and between Northwest Newberry Road and Germantown Road.

Northwest Germantown Road was also closed between Skyline and Northwest Bridge Avenue, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The agency said the wet, heavy snow had brought down tree limbs across the city, adding to the danger of slippery roads, and advised drivers to delay their commute if at all possible.

At least 60,000 customers were without power Monday morning, according to Portland General Electric and Pacific Power, mostly concentrated in the Portland and Salem areas. Portland General Electric cited downed trees and power lines across the state.

Snow will continue in the mountains and foothills into Wednesday as cold onshore flow brings chances of thunderstorms across the Portland area on Tuesday.

The next weather system is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and will bring another chance for snow to the valley floor, according to the National Weather Service. Early forecasts indicate at least a trace of snow, but up to a few inches down to the lowest elevations.

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A very active (and more normal) spring weather pattern continues through the rest of the week, with cool showers into the weekend.

So the question remains: does Portland remember that 77 degree day it saw last week, now that the cherry blossom trees are weighed down by wet snow?

–Savannah Eadens; [email protected]; 503-221-6651; @savannaheadens

–Kale Williams; [email protected]; 503-294-4048; @sfkale

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