In weather like what we’re about to get: “Even brief periods of exposure can be life threatening.”

An ice storm warning from the National Weather Service starts at 2 this afternoon and lasts through 4 Wednesday morning, , and this means some very hazardous conditions. 

Those hazards, stem from ice accumulating a quarter to half an inch thick, likely to cause more power outages and tree damage, and make travel very difficult, especially through the evening commute.  Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson urges people to get ready and be careful outside.

“These are still very critical weather conditions.  Though transportation is currently a challenge getting around, free transportation to warming shelters is available by calling 211,” said Vega Pederson.  “Unfortunately, we know that things are not going to get easier as freezing temperatures and power outages will continue across the county.”

In Lincoln County, Kenneth Lipp’s the Public Information Officer.

“There’s lots of debris on the sides of the roads, and then, you know, in lots of places up until including my own house it was completely dark. And it remains dark,” said Lipp.

Lipp is thinking about the ice he’s already seeing.  “You still see it covering all the power lines, small bicycles on most of the trees. You still see them encrusted with ice. Lots of trees have come down to the roads.” 

And now, the freezing rain on the way is likely to mean more struggles, with power outages and trees falling. “Approximately half of our residents have been without power at some time during this storm.”

The Portland Bureau of Transportation urges people to stay home all day Tuesday and says hazardous conditions may linger into Wednesday.  Local leaders and emergency responders strongly discourage travel, but if you must drive somewhere, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. And prepare for possible power outages. 

Here is the warning statement from the National Weather Service:

ICE STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM TUESDAY TO 4 AM PST WEDNESDAY…

WHAT…Significant icing expected. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch and ice accumulations of one quarter to one half inch. Winds gusting up to 40 mph near the Columbia River Gorge.

WHERE…In Oregon, Coast Range of Northwest Oregon, Greater Portland Metro Area and Central Willamette Valley. In Washington, Greater Vancouver Area.

WHEN…From 2 PM Tuesday to 4 AM PST Wednesday.

IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel will be difficult. The hazardous conditions will likely impact the evening commute.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Localized ice accumulations of over one half inch are possible for western portions of the Tualatin Valley, the West Hills of Portland, the Vancouver suburbs, and areas near the west end of the Columbia Gorge.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Travel is strongly discouraged. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Prepare for possible power outages.

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