Winter Weather Travel Advisory

Photo: Ford, Brad

The National Weather Service has advised the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to expect the potential for brief snow or hail storms that could create intermittent periods of hazardous traveling conditions across the city, at all elevations.

Periods of brief, localized accumulating snow or hail of up to 1 inch or more could potentially impact travel during the Friday morning and evening rush hour periods, as well as travel on Saturday morning. If hail or snow do accumulate, forecasters say they would likely melt away promptly, thanks to warming temperatures.

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, hail 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. 

Areas at 500 feet or higher above sea level may have more snow on both days.

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 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.

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

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

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

Source: Portland Bureau of Transportation

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