Heavy snowfall causes tree damage, power outages
The winter's first snowstorms, as it turns out, were mere teases.
The Portland metro area's snowiest winter in years continued Tuesday, Jan. 10 with a storm that lasted through the night and left about 4.5 inches on the ground as of 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
That inch count only grew as the snow continued through the morning, forcing local schools to close along with all government buildings. According to police and fire officials, no major weather-related incidents had occurred as of Wednesday morning, but they warned residents to stay off the roads unless driving was absolutely necessary.
"If you don't need to go anywhere, you should strongly consider not (leaving)," West Linn Police Sergeant Burv Corbin said.
All roads leading up the hill remained closed Wednesday, save for Salamo Road and Sunset Avenue. According to Corbin, while police dealt with a number of minor car-related issues Tuesday night, the most pressing concerns Wednesday morning were downed trees and power outages occurring across the city.
"We've had so many trees coming down, taking down power lines, which is the biggest thing," Corbin said. "It's one end of the city to the other, all along (Highway) 43. People lost phone lines, cable lines and trees are blocking cable lines.
"Public works is working hard … now we're just starting to get on top of things."
The downed trees and power lines, according to Corbin, appeared to be caused by the sheer weight of the snow.
"Every once in awhile, Mother Nature decides to trim (the trees)," Corbin said. "But Mother Nature doesn't clean up after itself. … And we're not done; another tree just fell near Mark Lane. The same people get their power fixed, just to lose it again."
Driving, on the other hand, caused fewer problems this time around as both Corbin and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVFR) spokesperson Cassandra Ulven agreed that residents seemed to have learned from recent experience.
"The very first storm, people learned from it," Corbin said. "People have stayed home if they were wary of it."
"I think because people heeded warnings to stay home if you could, we haven't seen a dramatic increase in calls," Ulven said. "We've been echoing the same warning as law enforcement: Stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to go out."
Ulven added that this particular storm was a reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness kits.
"Even a storm like this that leave you in your house for a couple of days highlights things you could plan better for," Ulven said. "So you can plan and improve your disaster preparedness kits during the snow day."