• Recalling grip of last year's storm, officials warn of snow ahead

Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Multnomah County Commissioner Diane Linn and TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen will urge the public to prepare for snow at a news conference this afternoon.

According to city Communications Director Mary Volm, the officials will also talk about their plans for improving communication and coordination among public agencies during winter storms and episodes of severe weather.

The warning follows predictions by independent meteorologist Phil Volker that snow could fall through the weekend and then resume next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Other area meteorologists are saying there is more likelihood of rain than snow this weekend.

Volker, however, maintained that 'the conditions are very similar to what we had just before the (2004) New Year's storm.' Volker, who has a degree in atmospheric sciences from Oregon State University, accurately predicted the snowstorm that shut Portland down for a week at the beginning of 2004. 'People didn't think we'd get much snow then, but they were wrong and we did.'

Volker, former senior meteorologist for KOIN (6), operates an independent weather forecast firm called Extended Range Weather Forecasting Inc. Many local governments and agencies contract with the firm, including the city of Portland, TriMet and Portland Public Schools. They use his predictions to prepare for bad weather before it hits.

Although the storms may not be as severe as last year, Volm said the public needs to plan for them.

'The first hit may be mild, but it's a wake-up call,' Volm said.

Because of Volker's prediction, TriMet sent out a news advisory late Wednesday urging the media to remind people to begin planning for winter storms. Among other things, TriMet wants riders to remember that some buses change their routes and schedules when it snows. These changes can be found by calling the agency's 24-hour snow and ice line at 503-231-3197 or going online to

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