Slideshow: Snow returns in full force to Hillsboro
The most powerful snowfall in the Hillsboro area since 2008 has caused widespread shutdowns and outages.
Power companies and road crews scrambled Wednesday morning to respond to a larger-than-anticipated snowstorm that left as much as a foot of snow on the ground across the Portland area overnight
All Washington County school districts, including Hillsboro schools, were closed, along with libraries and other public facilities.
The blast of wintry weather, which dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the Westside overnight after beginning Tuesday evening, came just days after a smaller system brought light snow and freezing rain to the area Saturday. It is the fourth major winter storm to lash the region in the past month, after an ice storm on Dec. 9 and a snowstorm on Dec. 14 that both affected evening commutes.
But this week's snowstorm, which continued past the Tribune's press deadline, brought the largest snow totals of the decade to the Portland area, according to the National Weather Service's Portland forecast office — Tuesday being the snowiest calendar day, it Tweeted, since Dec. 20, 2008.
Initial forecasts for the snowstorm had between 1 and 4 inches falling. The NWS admitted on Twitter late Tuesday night that the force of the storm came as a surprise, as its modeling predicted at most 6 inches for the region.
"We under forecast this event," NWS Portland wrote. "We saw (6 inches) as the very max possibility. This storm wayyy over-performed."
Portland General Electric also reported about 37,000 customers without power as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Snowplows were out overnight and into Wednesday morning. But downed trees and lines colluded with the deep snow to badly snarl traffic on major highways and freeways. At one point Wednesday morning, Interstate 5 was closed at Barbur Boulevard between Tigard and Portland to allow for plowing. Trees were reported to have fallen on Highway 26 and Interstate 205.
KOIN 6 News, The Times' media affiliate, reported that hundreds of cars were abandoned on roads and freeways across the region.
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.