information
Storm damage recovery

Winter Travel Advisory: Wind, rain, snow could create hazardous travel conditions through Sunday

Press Release
Be prepared for worse conditions than expected, as forecasts come with uncertainty about timing and amount of wind, rain and snow
Published
Updated
This image says "Get Ready!" with an image of the Portland Bureau of Transportation's winter ready sasquatch mascot.

(Jan. 8, 2024) The National Weather Service has advised the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to expect high wind overnight tonight, periods of heavy rain on Tuesday and the potential for snow on Wednesday morning and this weekend.

Wind -- Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 35 to 50
mph are expected tonight. There's a 70 percent chance of gusts as high as 45 mph in the West Hills Monday night and Tuesday morning.

High wind can result in downed limbs or trees, leading to power outages or blocked streets or sidewalks. Secure outdoor objects in advance. Report tree emergencies to Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry at 503-823-TREE (8733). Learn more about how to report and what to expect. If you see a traffic signal without power, treat it as an all-way stop. 

Rain -- Rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday could create slick road conditions or ponding water. PBOT crews work to keep city drains clear and prevent flooding, but with over 58,000 drains in the city, crews can’t get to them all. Learn how you can “adopt” a storm drain near your home or business, help keep it clear of debris, and prevent street flooding.

Cold and Snow -- Cold temperatures mean some snow may fall with the rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Based on current forecasts, temperatures are expected to drop further -- potentially below 20 degrees -- on Friday night through Sunday, producing the potential for up to 2 inches of snow during the weekend.

Areas at 500 feet or higher above sea level have the potential for the highest wind gusts and most accumulation of snow. Get to know parts of the Portland area at 500 feet or 1,000 feet above sea level by using the interactive map at PBOT's online Winter Weather Center.

All forecasts come with uncertainty and they can change in the days and hours leading up to a storm event.

If you haven't yet, today is a great day to stock up on provisions for you and your family, including food, medications, and water. Check in on your vulnerable neighbors and make sure you have a shovel and ice melt ready to clear snow from your sidewalk.

Respond to weather conditions you see while traveling

People driving, walking or biking are advised to be prepared to respond to the weather conditions you see on your trip. If you see snow or icy precipitation, slow down. Use extra caution. Be prepared to slow down or pull over to park your vehicle and wait for conditions to improve. Dress warmly. 

The public should be prepared for worse conditions than is forecast, including more snow and snowfall that arrives earlier or later than expected. Forecasts come with uncertainty, and weather forecasters have difficulty predicting snow in the Portland area.

Be prepared to travel based on the conditions you encounter during your trip, including carrying traction devices like chains and an emergency weather kit in your vehicle. Helpful items to include in addition to chains are a snow shovel, bag of sand, jumper cables, first aid kit, basic tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver and knife), blanket and warm clothing, extra food and water, cell phone and extra charger, and a flashlight.

View additional winter weather travel tips online.

During winter weather, PBOT works to keep vital public transit lines and emergency routes open. These 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 routes so that vehicles with front wheel drive or traction devices can get through. Depending on the severity of snow and ice, it can take up to three 12-hour shifts for our crews to sufficiently treat our routes with anti-icer. In a major snowfall, it can take our crews up to one 12-hour shift to plow our routes. See our Winter Weather Center for a full interactive map of our routes.

Sign up for weather alerts, get prepared

PBOT crews inspect a snowplow during an annual inspection in October of 2022

PBOT crews have been preparing for severe weather since the fall. Every October we run our staff and equipment through a series of tests to get prepared for snow and ice. (Photo by PBOT.)

Preparing for severe weather travel:

Stay informed. Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email, or phone. Go to PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to track real-time weather, traffic, road closures, and plow information. Sign up for PBOT alerts via text or email.

Build a severe weather travel plan. Before the inclement weather hits, plan ahead for how you'll travel in severe weather. Our "Get Home Safe" travel checklist provides essential tips for taking transit, walking, biking, and driving in winter weather. 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.

No time for inaction, find some traction. Traveling in snow and ice can be challenging, and at times dangerous and slippery. Immediately after snow and ice, Portlanders are encouraged to limit their travel and stay close to home. Traction devices for your shoes will help navigate your neighborhood streets.

Have you purchased chains yet for your vehicle? Take the time to practice putting them on your car before you get stuck! You'll be glad you did. PBOT has additional winter weather travel travels for pedestrians and people biking and driving

A PBOT crew member installs heavy trains onto a truck ahead of winter weather.

PBOT crews attach snow chains to the tires of large trucks during an annual inspection. (Photo by PBOT.)

During a winter weather event:

If you need to travel, consider TriMet: If you cannot delay travel during periods of snowy conditions, consider public transit as your first option, and be prepared for delays, and look for alerts and changes to transit routes. Public transportation schedules can be found via TriMet’s website, as well as PortlandStreetcar.org/schedules.

Monitor road closures: Current PBOT winter weather road closures and chain advisories

Do not abandon your vehicle in a travel lane: It disrupts snowplows, police and fire responders, public transit and will likely result in your vehicle being towed with a citation.

Report downed trees. Did you see a downed tree or large limb on City property or public streets? Report it by calling 503-823-TREE (8733). Please be patient; Urban Forestry crews are minimizing safety risks and clearing the largest debris first. Emergency dispatchers are available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Report Road Hazards Call PBOT Maintenance emergency dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700 or email at pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or use the PDX Reporter mobile website.

###

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at www.portland.gov/transportation