FeaturedNews
0

2 adults, teen killed when power line topples on SUV during Portland ice storm

PORTLAND, Ore. Three people were killed, including a high school teenager, when a live power line toppled onto their vehicle during an ice storm in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday.

Portland police and fire officials rushed to the scene after 911 callers reported a power line was down on an SUV and three people were now outside the vehicle unconscious, according to Rick Graves, public information officer with Portland Fire & Rescue. All three were later pronounced dead.

Graves says it appears those inside the car became scared when the live line hit their car and tried to escape. But the three were electrocuted when their feet touched the ground.

A 2-year-old child was found alive with one of the victims and rushed to a local hospital, Graves said.

“That young child looked comply unaware of the situation that just occurred,” Graves told FOX Weather. “And it was an emotional scene; it was moving.”

HOW MUCH ICE IS NEEDED TO KNOCK OUT POWER, DAMAGE TREES?

One of the victims was identified as a sophomore at a nearby high school in Milwaukie, according to FOX 12 Oregon.

Graves said if you ever find yourself in a similar situation with a live wire across your vehicle, you should stay inside.

“The best thing to do is ride it out safely in the vehicle,” Graves said. “But once you begin to exit, and you touch the vehicle yourself along with touching the ground, you become part of that electrical circuit, and unfortunately, you can have some grave consequences. Wait for professionals to come and de-energize the lines.”

Storm left swath of damage across northwestern Oregon

Several trees and power lines fell across the region as hours of freezing rain led to thick ice accretions. Many areas reported at least a tenth- to quarter-inch of ice, with areas closer to the arctic air spilling from the Columbia River Gorge reporting ice of 0.75 inches thick.

At the peak of the storm Wednesday, about 90,000 people were without power in Oregon, although roughly half of those outages were lingering from an earlier ice storm last weekend.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ICE STORMS

Springfield, Oregon, resident Tyler Kranz posted video on X showing widespread tree damage under a thick coating of ice left from the two back-to-back storms.

“This is the worst winter storm damage I’ve ever seen (in the Springfield area),” he wrote on X. “Nearly every tree was damaged or downed. Power lines down all over. Pray for Oregon!”

Schools were closed across the Portland and Vancouver metro areas as transit services either shuttered or ran on reduced service. Interstate 84 was closed for much of the day through the Columbia River Gorge due to heavy icing and strong winds, while Department of Transportation crews kept busy clearing wrecks and spinouts on Portland-area freeways.

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Damage left behind after an ice storm hits Springfield, Oregon on Jan. 17, 2024.
(Tyler Kranz / @tkranz23 via X)

Graves said his office responded to four times as many calls as on a typical day during the days-long winter storm.

“That ice is weighing down, be it power lines to trees or branches of trees and causing significant issues,” Graves said. “The myriad of emergencies that our organization is responding to is continuous and it’s widespread.”

SNOW, SLEET, FREEZING RAIN AND HAIL: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

More freezing rain possible Thursday night

The Portland area may not be done with the freezing rain threat as yet another storm system is heading into northwestern Oregon on Thursday evening and lasting into Friday morning.

While the arctic air mass has moderated somewhat on Thursday morning, keeping precipitation as rain, the new storm is expected to again draw colder air from eastern Oregon into the Portland area through the Columbia River Gorge, dropping temperatures at the surface back below freezing and renewing the freezing rain threat. New ice accretions could reach 0.20 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Winter Weather Advisories once again cover the Portland metro area into Friday morning for another round of freezing rain accretions.

Wintry weather threats end on Friday as milder air begins to push into the Northwest, bringing temperatures above freezing.

By the weekend, temperatures will climb above average as more typical rainstorms move in off the Pacific Ocean and snow levels rise well above the lowlands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *