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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, the Washington Capitol is seen at sunset as snow falls in Olympia, Wash. Snow fell across the Pacific Northwest as the first winter storm of the season hit the region. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
STEVEN DUBOIS, GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press

Published: 10 December 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A wintry mix of snow, ice and rain continued Friday in much of the Northwest as ice was slow to thaw and new winter weather warnings were issued around the region.

Portland Fire & Rescue tweeted Friday night that they were working to rescue between 75 and 100 people from a light rail train stopped by a high voltage power line down on the tracks. By 10 p.m., authorities said the power line had been cleared from the tracks, the train was being evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Fire officials also said preliminary numbers show the department responded to 378 emergencies between midnight Friday and 7:30 p.m. with more than 120 of the calls related to power issues and falls on ice.

Seattleites woke up to rare winter powder Friday after an overnight weather system brought 1 to 3 inches of snow to the city and other parts of Washington state.

Some schools canceled classes, while others including Seattle Public Schools delayed school start times.

In Portland, forecasters expected a couple inches of snow to stick to the ground Thursday, followed by freezing rain, but while the forecast called for just rain eventually, temperatures were slow to warm above freezing.

The wintry conditions prompted an extension of the freezing rain advisory through early Saturday. Ice-laden trees and power lines were falling Friday night, causing thousands of customers, mostly in Multnomah County, to lose power, according to Portland General Electric.

The National Weather Service also issued an ice storm warning and winter storm warning for much of the Columbia River Gorge through the early morning hours on Saturday and said travel in that area would be extremely difficult.

In Washington, the State Patrol said Friday night that troopers had investigated 113 collisions in the past 24 hours in King County.

A winter storm warning was issued through Saturday afternoon for that area encompassing Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon with sleet and freezing rain to mix with light snow expected.

The warning includes Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 12 along Snoqualmie Pass and White Pass.

On Thursday evening, Portland's transit service said two light rail lines were disrupted because of ice on overhead power wires. At least one line of bus service was canceled, and others traveled with chains on snow routes. Cars crept along roads and some spun out as they tried to navigate curves.

Freezing rain also hit Vancouver, Washington, Thursday and over 3 inches of snow fell at the state Capitol in Olympia by Thursday evening.

Many school districts canceled classes before the first flurries fell.
Joey Moffenbeier, 12, went sledding with some friends on a hill at the high school in Lake Oswego, a Portland suburb.

"We've been waiting all day for the snow and it finally started, so we decided to come out," he said. "We've been getting some good rides in but we need a little bit more to make it really good."

Some children, unaccustomed to snow, weren't wearing gloves and had only sweatshirts on in temperatures that dipped below freezing — but they didn't let that stop the fun.

A group of older boys played soccer on a school's field. They were joined by some friends and the soccer snow match turned into a snowball fight.

"We're just out here having fun. It's so uncommon for us to have snow here," Colin Hardy, 15, said. "The snow day got called early, too, so we were all ready for a day off."

Portland city government also closed, as did federal court, the zoo and state offices in several counties.

National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Cullen said as much as 10 inches of snow could fall in the Gorge, particularly from Cascade Locks toward Hood River.

Wintry weather also swept through Central Oregon.

In Bend, snow fell steadily and ducks swam among ice floes in the Deschutes River.
The Columbian reported that two people were injured when trees fell into houses — one in Vancouver and another in Camas.

 

___
AP reporters Andrew Selsky contributed to this story from Bend and Lisa Baumann and Phuong Le from Seattle. AP correspondent Rachel La Corte contributed from Olympia, Washington.

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