Icicles dangle from a parking sign located appropriately on Southeast Winter Street on Friday, Feb. 12. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
NOTE: Share your photos or observations about the ice storm with Salem Reporter by email to [email protected]
Salem is waking up largely without power and encased in ice, but warming on Saturday could return the area to rain.
But getting electric service restored for thousands in Marion County isn’t expected until Sunday – Valentine’s Day.
Portland General Electric reported nearly 100,000 homes and businesses in Marion County were without power Saturday morning.
Salem Electric said about 6,000 of its customers in west and northeast Salem and in Keizer were in the dark.
“Crews have been working throughout the night to patrol lines and restore power and will continue to do so until everyone is back on,” the utility said on its website. “At this time, we cannot speculate about restoration times.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in an early Saturday tweet that “ice is continuing to cause many trees and branches to fall throughout the county, knocking down power lines. Our patrol deputies want to encourage people to stay home if possible.”
Metcom, the Woodburn-based 911 center, said in a Saturday tweet that the system was “overwhelmed.”
“We are encouraging residents to PLEASE STAY HOME!” it tweeted. “Many utility companies have ceased operations due to safety.”
A Salem resident reported via Twitter: “We’re hearing trees and branches fall because of the weight of the ice. Such an eerie sound.”
Cherriots announced Saturday morning that it was suspending service “until further notice” because “road conditions are extremely dangerous with downed trees and power lines.” The transit agency said its regional services were suspended for the entire day and urged riders to check its website for updates on when buses resume their routes.
Marion County officials said that as of 5 a.m. Saturday "more than 60% of county roads are blocked by downed trees. Tree falls continue at a rapid pace, so more road closures are expected before conditions improve. If you live on a county road and venture from home this morning you may not get very far or may find it impossible to get back. Stay home, stay safe until conditions improve and roads are cleared."
The county asked people to report downed trees to Marion County Public Works Department by calling 503-588-5304.
The National Weather Service kept its ice storm warning in place for the Salem area through noon. As of 6 a.m., Salem was recording a temperature of 30.
The area got a quarter inch of ice overnight.
“Unfortunately, the freezing rain will continue through this afternoon with additional accumulations likely,” the weather service reported.
But it also said the forecast was tricky, with warmer air moving up from the south. The timing of when that hits the mid-Willamette Valley will drive what kind of day is ahead for Salem.
“The forecast today for the Willamette Valley can be described as ‘ever changing,’” the forecast said.
According to PGE’s outage report, here are outages by zip code in the Salem area, the number of homes or businesses out, and the goal for getting power restored:
97301: 15,000 - 3 p.m. Sunday
97302: 15,838 - 3 p.m. Sunday
97303: 4,927 - 2 p.m. Sunday
97304: 13 - 11:45 a.m. Sunday
97305: 12,088 - 3 p.m. Sunday
97306: 11,745 - 1:45 p.m. Sunday
REPORT AN OUTAGE:
Salem Electric: 503-362-3601
Elsewhere in the state, snow was piling up. Portland reported nearly 8 inches of snow since midnight. The Oregon Department of Transportation on Friday closed Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River, saying it would open again when conditions made it safe to do so.
To get the latest road conditions, go to Oregon TripCheck.
Leaf buds near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Salem are encapsulated in a thick coating of ice on Friday, Feb. 12. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
A heavy coating of ice caused this large tree branch to fall on a sidewalk near the intersection of Center and High Streets on Friday, Feb. 12. The branch brushed against the Equitable Center entrance but caused only minor damage and no one was injured. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)