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Snow, freezing rain hits Northwest

PORTLAND — A wintry mix of snow, ice and rain continued Friday in much of the Northwest as ice was slow to thaw and new winter weather warnings were issued around the region.

In Portland, forecasters expected a couple inches of snow to stick to the ground Thursday, followed by freezing rain, but while the forecast called for just rain eventually, temperatures were slow to warm above freezing.

That prompted an extension of the freezing rain advisory through early Saturday. Ice-laden trees and power lines were falling Friday night, causing thousands of customers, mostly in Multnomah County, to lose power, according to Portland General Electric.

Portland Fire & Rescue tweeted Friday night that they were working to rescue between 75 and 100 people from a light rail train stopped by a high voltage power line down on the tracks. By 10 p.m., authorities said the power line had been cleared from the tracks, the train was being evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Fire officials also said preliminary numbers show the department responded to 378 emergencies between midnight Friday and 7:30 p.m. with more than 120 of the calls related to power issues and falls on ice.

The National Weather Service also issued an ice storm warning and winter storm warning for much of the Columbia River Gorge through the early morning hours on Saturday and said travel in that area would be extremely difficult.

On Thursday evening, Portland's transit service said two light rail lines were disrupted because of ice on overhead power wires. At least one line of bus service was canceled, and others traveled with chains on snow routes. Cars crept along roads and some spun out as they tried to navigate curves.

Many school districts canceled classes before the first flurries fell.

Joey Moffenbeier, 12, went sledding with some friends on a hill at the high school in Lake Oswego, a Portland suburb.

"We've been waiting all day for the snow and it finally started, so we decided to come out," he said. "We've been getting some good rides in but we need a little bit more to make it really good."

A wintry mix of snow, ice and rain showered fear and excitement in Portland. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)