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Portland, Ore., surveys damage from deadly winter storm with more ice in forecast

UPI
A Portland, Ore., police car was buried under a fallen tree during a severe winter storm that rocked the Pacific Northwest over the weekend. Police officials said no one was in the cruiser when the tree fell due to high winds and ice accumulation. Photo courtesy Portland Police Bureau/X

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Residents of Portland, Ore., spent Monday assessing the damage from a deadly weekend winter storm even as forecasters warned more freezing rain and likely power outages are on the way.

Damage was widespread throughout Oregon in the wake of the wake of the weekend storm that brought high winds, snow, sleet, and freezing rain to swathes of the Pacific Northwest, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

Local officials said the frigid weather contributed to at least four deaths while emergency rooms in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, saw 25 cold-related visits, KGW-TV reported.

Downed trees and power lines closed many roads and knocked out power across the northwestern part of the state over the weekend. After reaching a peak of 160,000 homes and businesses without power on Saturday, nearly 94,000 remained without power as of midday Monday, according to PowerOutage.us.

Portland General Electric said more than 1,400 employees, crews and support staff from across Oregon, California, Idaho and Washington worked on Sunday to address the multitude of problems around the region. They included at least 850 downed power lines with some lines wrapped around fallen tree limbs, as well as transformer and substation damage with other damaged equipment.

Portland's Bureau of Transportation said that as of 11 a.m. Monday, 42 roads were still closed in the city entirely due to downed trees or power lines.

"Our snow and ice routes have been well treated and plowed and should be navigable for vehicles with front-wheel drive," transportation officials said on social media.

PBT also advised the public to run important errands ahead of the expected continuation of freezing weather and possible worsening of conditions.

"Prepare to hunker down and avoid travel one more time before this event is behind us," they said.

Multnomah County said it is urgently seeking volunteers to assist at warming shelters, which will remain open through at least noon Tuesday due to the severe weather.

National Weather Service forecasters said more freezing rain is forecast across northwest Oregon and southwestern Washington state starting late Tuesday morning, with ice accumulations between 0.10 and 0.50 inch.

"Prepare for additional tree damage/power outages. Ice will make for EXTREMELY dangerous travel conditions," they warned.