WEATHER: Freezing temperatures linger Sunday; Salem-Keizer cancels school Monday, Tuesday

Update, 1:20 p.m. Sunday

The Salem-Keizer School District has canceled school Monday and Tuesday due to weather conditions. The cancellation applies to the online EDGE program and also means district offices will be closed.

“These closures include all indoor and outdoor school or district events, travel and the use of district or school facilities by community groups,” the district said in an announcement.

Future delays or closures will be announced on the district’s app, ParentSquare, social media channels and the school district website.

The missed days of school may be added back at the end of the school year, the district said.

A planned Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Monday at McKay High School is also postponed, organizers said.

Update, 9:30 a.m. Sunday

Cherriots has suspended service Sunday, the transit agency announced.

“We intend to resume service on Monday, January 15, at a reduced service level. Our Maintenance and Operations teams are working hard today to prepare our facilities and vehicles for service,” Cherriots said in an alert.

Many Salem institutions remain closed Sunday, including the YMCA and Gilbert House Children’s Museum.

City roads remain icy, though the city of Salem has not reported any road closures. Portland General Electric and Salem Electric are not reporting any major power outages in Salem.

Original story:

Salem streets were largely quiet Saturday afternoon, save the crackle of freezing rain and the occasional crunch of car tires traversing the ice.

It was notably cold, said Shawn Weagle, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service. 

With a high for the day of 21 degrees, “December 22nd, 1990 was the last time we had a high this cold in Salem,” he said.

The high came just after midnight and temperatures got colder throughout the day, with a low of 17.6 degrees as of 4 p.m., according to a chart from the National Weather Service. The area saw about an inch of precipitation in the last 24 hours, according to the chart. 

The National Weather Service’s winter storm warning remains in place until 10 p.m. Saturday night, anticipating up to another inch of snow and a tenth of an inch of ice. The service warns of wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour, likely power outages, damage to trees and difficulty traveling throughout the Willamette Valley and especially east of the Interstate-5 corridor. 

Saturday night’s forecast, as of 4 p.m. is a chance of freezing rain and sleet through 7 p.m., which will dwindle into the night. It’s forecasted to get as cold as 14 degrees fahrenheit tonight.

It’ll still be cold and mostly dry Sunday, with a forecasted high around 25 degrees, but with weaker wind around 9 miles an hour. Sunday night is forecasted to have a low of 19 degrees. 

“Any of the snow and sleet and ice that fell today is probably going to stick around for a bit,” Weagle said, likely until Tuesday. There’s a possibility there could be more precipitation on top of it Tuesday night, but it’s too soon to tell at this point, he said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is reporting hazardous highway conditions, recommending that drivers stay off the roads until conditions improve. If you need to travel, check road conditions by calling 511 or on TripCheck. See winter driving tips and an emergency supplies checklist here.

The city is not reporting any road closures as of Saturday evening, according to their road conditions map

Public works crews spent Saturday putting sand down on Salem’s primary and secondary snow plow routes. “Deicer hasn’t been applied because it won’t be effective on hardpack frozen,” city spokesman Trevor Smith said.

Residential streets won’t be treated. Crews will continue to work 24 hours for the next few days, he said.

The health risks of the weather include hypothermia, frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Oregon Health Authority. For the latter, the agency warns against using gas stoves, grills or generators indoors, and to reduce fire risk by plugging heaters directly into the outlet rather than an extension cord or power strip. See the OHA’s winter safety tips here.

The gas utility NW Natural is asking customers to conserve gas use in the region, due to increased usage and “complications” at a Washington storage facility that has strained its system. To conserve gas use, lower thermostats as much as is safe and comfortable, turn off non-essential appliances and minimize hot water usage. 

There were no widespread power outages in Salem as of Saturday afternoon, according to outage maps from PGE and Salem Electric. The Portland Metro area had over 100,000 homes and businesses without power as of 5 p.m. Saturday following a day of freezing temperatures and high winds.

For a list of Warming Centers open Saturday night or to volunteer, see the city’s announcement here, or the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency’s site

ARCHES Day Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 615 Commercial St. N.E., and offers transportation to Salem First Presbyterian Church which is open for overnight stays. The church is at 770 Chemeketa St. N.E., and is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

Seeds of Faith Ministries has a warming center open 24 hours until Monday, at 1230 Winter St. N.E. 


Cherriots suspended all service Saturday, beyond “life-sustaining trips” using LIFT paratransit, but as of Saturday afternoon had not announced whether regular service would return Sunday. See their website for the latest information on closures. 

Chemeketa Community College said all its campuses would be closed Saturday and Sunday and that “all in-person and remote classes, activities, work and events are canceled.”

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.