Travel chaos ensues after Portland picks up heaviest snow since 1943
Vehicles were abandoned on roads across the Portland area with some motorists stuck on snow-clogged highways throughout Wednesday night.
Snowy and icy weather has made travel treacherous in Portland, Oregon, on Feb. 22-23, with cars stranded and police vehicles assisting motorists by pushing them uphill.
Chaos ensued across Portland, Oregon, late Wednesday as one of the heaviest snowfalls in city history ground travel to a halt, stranding drivers on major highways through Thursday morning.
Accumulating snow began in the Portland area before the Wednesday evening commute, causing travel conditions to deteriorate at the worst possible time. As of Thursday morning, large sections of Interstates 5, 84, 205 and 405 were closed due to snow. Many schools across the area canceled classes on Thursday due to the wintry weather.
"Many roads are blocked by stalled and abandoned vehicles," the Oregon Department of Transportation said on Thursday morning. "Avoid travel if at all possible until conditions improve."
At least 70 vehicles were abandoned on Highway 26 near Portland, with hundreds more stranded on the road in a weather-induced gridlock, according to KPTV reporter Bonnie Silkman.
One Twitter user documented his commute home on Wednesday, which started around 8 p.m. PST Wednesday, and said he was stalled on the snow-clogged road for more than eight hours.
Other motorists decided to abandon their vehicles along the sides of roads and trudge through the snow on foot.
The bus service in the Portland area offered free rides to warming shelters for people experiencing homelessness amid the wintry weather, according to The Associated Press.
The snowstorm unloaded 10.8 inches of snow across the city on Wednesday, making Feb. 22 the second-snowiest day in Portland history, only behind the 14.4 inches that fell on Jan. 21, 1943.
The 10.8 inches of accumulation on Wednesday is nearly double the city's historical average snowfall for the entire winter, which is 6.1 inches.
The one-day snowfall in Portland is higher than the snowfall totals for many big East Coast cities throughout the entire winter so far. As of Thursday morning, the seasonal snowfall in Boston stood at 8.5 inches, New York City was at 0.4 of an inch, and Baltimore was reporting just 0.2 of an inch.
Although the snow has tapered off, the messy conditions on roadways have continued to slow down travel in and out of the city.
Nearly 20% of all flights into and out of Portland International Airport were canceled as of 7 a.m. PST Thursday, according to Flight Aware. More delays and cancellations will be possible at the airport due to the ongoing cleanup from the snowstorm.
More snow is in the offing for Portland over the weekend as another storm is expected to arrive in the western U.S.
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