by: VERN UYETAKE, Lake Oswego Firefighter Troy Waddell, shovels snow in front of the downtown Lake Oswego Fire Department Monday.

Hold onto your hats … and mufflers and mittens.

Snow had an 80 percent chance of falling today in the metro area, according to predictions from the National Weather Service's Portland office.

The Wednesday overnight forecast for rain or snow or both was 100 percent.

And the situation doesn't get much better in coming days. The area is expected to get a break Friday and Saturday with sunshine and highs in the mid-20s and lows in the mid-teens before another round of snow hits the area Saturday night. Snow is likely for Sunday, the weather service said, and there is a chance of it falling both Monday and Tuesday.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Northwest Oregon Wednesday through tonight with a mix of snow, rain and ice possible. Periods of freezing rain and snow were possible through tonight.

According to the weather service, 'an unusual upper level flow pattern will continue to drive weather systems from Canada and the Northern Gulf of Alaska into the Pacific Northwest for the remainder of the week. Cold Arctic air east of the Cascades will stream westward through the gaps and across the ridges with temperatures remaining mostly below freezing from today on through the weekend.'

Two to fourinches of snow were forecast for Wednesday with possibly another couple inches Wednesday night and into this morning, said Andy Bryant, a senior service hydrologist with the National Wea-ther Service's Portland office.

Temperatures were expected to possibly warm up to a balmy 35 degrees Wednesday afternoon, creating a potential for freezing rain or the plain old wet variety. But whatever's on the ground will freeze overnight when the mercury dips into the low to mid 20s.

'And it will stay cold until the next storm arrives on Saturday and is likely to stay cold until the middle of next week,' Bryant said.

Expect bone-chilling temperatures to continue this weekend.

'Any time we get a strong blast of Artic air, we're going to see strong winds and bitter cold wind chills in the gorge,' Bryant said.

The system could taper off by tonight.

But by Saturday night or Sunday morning, well, let's just say things are still up in the air about how bad it's going to get. National Weather Service Meteorologist Charles Dalton said area residents can take their pick: One forecast model shows very cold air hitting the region Saturday night and Sunday, dropping freezing rain and more snow for two days; another model shows cold air, but not as much freezing rain.

Dalton said he should have a better idea by later today what kind of storm is going to hit the area.

'The potential is there for another significant snowstorm,' he said. 'But there is some uncertainty for the extended forecast for the weekend. It's something that we'll have to keep our eye on.'

Meanwhile, with snow, cold weather and windy conditions over the weekend, officials for both the city of Lake Oswego and the Lake Oswego School District closed facilities Monday through Wednesday. A decision on closures for today and Friday was made after the Review's deadline on Wednesday.

City officials reported that 'non-essential' city facilities, including the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, city hall, West End Building, library and the tennis center, will be closed 'due to continuing unsafe weather conditions. Employees at non-essential facilities may come to work if they can do so safely. Those who cannot safely come to work are welcome to use their accrued leave for time off.'

Police, fire, 9-1-1 and maintenance will be operating and employees were expected to report to work.

Citizens are invited to go to the city's Citizen Information Line at 503-635-0257 for future updates and instructions.

Other than the cancellations and closures, inclement weather is passing calmly in the Lake Oswego area. Emergency personnel are reporting few incidents related to weather problems.

Gert Zoutendijk, spokesman for the Lake Oswego Fire Department, said weather-related incidents have been limited to scattered power-outages in the Mountain Park area and what appears to be a minor sledding accident at Lakeridge High School.

A young sledder struck his head on the school bleachers in that incident, Zoutendijk said, but the youth did not lose consciousness in the collision. He was alert and talkative afterward, said Zoutendijk, both positive signs following a head injury.

A more serious sledding accident in the Westlake area was reported late Tuesday afternoon. (See separate story on page A1).

Generally, he said, 'It's been OK because people have been staying home and taking the advice,' that unless you need to be out you should stay off roads.

The Lake Oswego Fire Department is also advising people to stay off of frozen areas of Oswego Lake.

'If the weather stays like this the lake in some places - in the bay and the canals - has the potential to get some snow and ice,' said Zoutendijk.

Lake Oswego emergency crews assisted motorists with stranded cars, slippery streets and even a broken ankle during recent blustery weather.

Driving woes began at 8:31 a.m. Sunday when a car spun out on Country Club Road, blocking traffic.

Drivers became stuck in snow and ice throughout the day on Country Club Road and also on Iron Mountain Boulevard, Bangy Road, South State Street, Overlook Drive, Boones Ferry Road and Jefferson Parkway.

A stuck semi blocked two lanes of traffic while the driver chained up and another also blocked traffic after jack-knifing, both on Country Club Road. Another troubled truck stopped traffic on Bergis Road.

But only one driver gave up on driving throughout traffic troubles that continued through Wednesday. That driver abandoned a car on McNary Parkway.

Police helped other motorists safely secure vehicles off of the road on South Shore Boulevard, Fosberg Road, Botticelli Street and Country Club Road.

Excepting the fender-benders and marooned cars, ice and snow caused few problems.

Weather conditions were responsible for only a handful of minor car collisions earlier in the week, including one on Rosemont Road and several on Jefferson Parkway. On Jefferson Parkway, multiple cars began bumping each other after becoming stuck at about noon Monday.

But only one injury was reported when a driver on Egan Way slipped outside a stalled vehicle and injured an ankle, possibly breaking it.

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