Updated 10:12 a.m.

Rain lashed the North Coast and Long Beach Peninsula through the night and this morning and snow was falling today on the elevated parts of U.S. Highways 26 and 30.

In some cases, the new snow east of Astoria is on top of packed snow, causing authorities to warn of continued dangers.

More rain is expected through Wednesday and into Christmas Day.

A high surf warning is in effect on the Oregon and Southwest Washington coasts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday

The National Weather Service said a powerful storm developing in the Gulf of Alaska is expected to move quickly down the coast of Canada bringing the dangerous surf conditions.

It is expected to subside Thursday evening.

With electric service slowly returning to the Jewell/Elsie area, county officials have elected not to open Jewell School for meals to the public today.

The school was opened Tuesday to provide food and a place to warm up for local residents who are coping with power outages that began last weekend. About seven people came by the school while it was open.

With power restored to a nearby store and restaurant and all local highways open to traffic, officials determined that local residents had access to food without the need for meals at the school.

On Monday evening the county opened its Nehalem Valley Substation to provide self-contained "Heater Meals" and blankets to local residents in need of help.

The Clatsop County Sheriff's Office continues to monitor the situation in and around Jewell and is prepared to re-open the school and provide needed supplies and services if the weather again causes widespread power outages.

Sheriff's personnel have checked on elderly and disabled residents in the area and brought water and ready-to-eat meals to some people in need of assistance.

Anyone in the area in need of assistance is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (503) 325-8635 during business hours, and (503) 325-2061 between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.

To address dangerous deep, icy ruts on Interstate-5, Oregon Department of Transportation crews will begin an ice and snow removal operation from Wilsonville to Portland this morning, beginning about 10 a.m. on I-5 northbound near the Baldock Rest Area at mile point 282.

Crews planned to use multiple graders - large, slower moving pieces of equipment that scrape ice from the roadway- simultaneously to clear I-5. Crews and equipment from McMinnville, Salem and Eugene were being brought in to assist Portland area crews.

"This massive snowfall is creating unsafe conditions that, left unchecked, will cause crashes that block the highway," said ODOT Director Matthew Garrett. "We understand that these operations can cause significant disruptions, but our options are very limited at this point. We need to clear these thick ice curbs that are forming between the travel lanes on I-5."

Chains or traction tires are still required in the Portland metro area. Drive with caution through the area, use alternate routes or avoid traveling, if possible.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ted Kulongoski has declared a state of emergency in Columbia, Multnomah and Clackamas counties.

Heavy snow and freezing rain since Dec. 13 has been causing extremely difficult driving conditions throughout the county and the state.

"Road conditions have caused numerous obstacles for individuals to obtain life saving medications and services," said Gov. Kulongoski. "The requests for assistance include ongoing ODOT support activities as well as additional extraordinary support for transport of personnel and medical supplies."

Because of the conditions, Columbia County Offices will be closed to non-essential personnel; State Court offices will be open at 9 a.m.

Tuesday the Columbia County Board of Commissioners approved an order to impose a 10,000-pound weight restriction on certain county roads.

The road restrictions are expected to begin Saturday and run through Jan. 4, however, the specific date for the weight restrictions to begin may vary and is dependent upon thawing.

Residents are urged to contact the County Road Department for information and a list of those roads subject to the weight restriction.

In the past, weight restrictions have been imposed on certain roads after a heavy freeze and thaw cycle, to protect the road and the underlying road structure from significant damage that can be caused by heavier loads going over these roads.

The weight restriction applies to vehicles with gross weights of 10,000 or more.

For a complete list of those road being considered for weight restriction, please contact the Columbia County Road Department at 503-397-5090.

In Lincoln County, the Oregon Department of Transportation has opened Oregon 18 (Salmon River Highway) following closure due to downed trees. Vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or vehicles towing must use chains from mile points 12 - 18 (Murphy Hill). Other vehicles must carry chains or traction tires.

Engineers warn drivers to drive with caution, and be ready for icy conditions. Be prepared for intermittent delays or closure due to fallen trees or limbs.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.