(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Dec. 27 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
After high winds and rain began Monday night, the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday in anticipation of south winds increasing. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts of 45 to 55 mph are expected. Forecasters say the strongest winds are expected between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The NWS urged caution while driving, as unsecured objects and tree limbs could be blown around. Power outages have already begun as a result of the wind.
Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Tillamook People’s Utility District reported thousands of customers in the dark as of Monday night. PGE reported 4,920 customers were affected by outages, 4,207 of which were in Washington County. The company also reported 237 customers affected in Clackamas County, 269 in Multnomah County and 136 in Yamhill County. Pacific Power said 3,802 customers were affected by outages, and Tillamook People’s Utility District reported 1,734 customers without power.
Many travelers are still attempting to return home or start their vacations after winter storms, busy holiday travel and reduced airline staffing caused major flight cancellations across the country over the weekend. Flight Aware reported more than 3,600 flights were canceled and around 6,000 were delayed on Monday.
At Portland International Airport, hundreds of flights were canceled on Friday due to icy and windy conditions. Several more were canceled on Saturday.
Because many flights were fully booked over the holiday weekend and into this week, some travelers have been forced to wait days for another flight. Southwest Airlines canceled around two-thirds of its flights on Monday and issued a statement apologizing for the “operational challenges” and wide-scale disruption. Alaska Airlines said many travelers would be delayed several days in rebooking because existing flights following Christmas were already fully booked.
Multnomah County faced backlash on social media after announcing it'd be closing emergency warming shelters on Saturday morning after temperatures rose above its emergency threshold of 25 degrees. By Friday, the county had opened five of the shelters to allow those living on the street and otherwise to get out of the dangerous, cold temperatures. On Saturday morning, temperatures rose to around 30 degrees. Shelters were closed at 8 a.m.
However, conditions were still cold and icy at the time, prompting outrage at the announcement of closures. On Twitter, one person wrote, “If your guidelines say it’s ok to toss people out into ‘freezing rain’ then your guidelines need adjusting.” Another tweeted, “This is beyond inhumane. You sent 1,000 people back into conditions that are not safe at all on freaking Christmas Eve. Who made this decision? I hope they feel ashamed.”
Executive Director for the Blanchet House Scott Kerman said it may be time for the county to reevaluate its threshold of 25 degrees. He said the nonprofit provided meals to many of the people who had been asked to leave the warming shelters on Saturday night.
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