Traffic woes, impromptu ski races on Portland’s snowiest day since 1943

Snow isn’t guaranteed every winter in Rose City, but its spontaneous visits can shut down the entire metro area.

A ruler sticks out of the snow, showing more than six inches of accumulated snowfall, with scrabble letters spelling out "CLOSED SNOW DAY"

Bored? Take a walk to one of the best winter photography locations in Portland.

Weren’t we dreaming about an early spring just days ago? Full disclosure that we may have jinxed the weather by flouting the groundhog’s prediction earlier this month. Please forgive us.

Wednesday, Feb. 22 marked Portland’s snowiest day in 80 years. A whopping 10.8 inches of the white fluff fell in the city — the second highest total since record keeping began at Portland International Airport in 1939.

The snowiest day on record occurred in 1943 when 15.5 inches fell on the City of Roses within 24 hours. At least motorized snowplows had been invented by then.

A black and white photo of men removing snow on a city street using a tractor with a trolley and cars parked in the background.

Men work to clear snow at Southwest Broadway and Yamhill on Jan. 25, 1943.

Photo via City of Portland Archives

This week’s snowfall triggered power outages, flight delays/cancellations, and headaches for drivers across the metro area. One man told KOIN 6 News he had to pull over on Highway 26 and wait out the night, calling the experience a “nightmare.” As with past snow storms, abandoned and crashed vehicles clogged freeways, snarling PBOT’s efforts to plow.

While vehicles shouldn’t be left unattended on freeways, drivers who found themselves stuck in metered parking spots were off the hook. PBOT said it wouldn’t issue parking tickets for vehicles that overstayed their time limits through 12 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 in an effort to keep people off the roads.

portland snow day pdx

Midwestern transplants often have a hard time driving on winter roads here too — psst, it’s the ice.

Photo by @ava.flave

Anyone who needs to travel is encouraged to take TriMet. If you absolutely must get behind the wheel, be sure to keep an eye on road closures — and it never hurts to brush up on these tips for winter driving.

Many Portlanders took advantage of the snow day by heading to Northwest Couch Street and 11th Avenue for the fifth-ever Stumpton Birkebeiner, a pop-up cross-country ski race that happens whenever enough snow falls in the city (read: rarely).

We just have one question: was it also the perfect texture for running? IYKYK

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