- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon transportation officials shut down a 45-mile section of Interstate 84 Tuesday as yet another storm pummeled residents who have been grappling with record snowfall and an unusually harsh winter in a place more known for its rain.

The closure between Troutdale and Hood River came as an ice storm swept into northwest Oregon, including parts of Portland, in the early afternoon hours.

An ice storm warning was in effect in the east Portland metropolitan region and the Columbia River Gorge until 10 p.m. Portland was expecting one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch of ice, but areas east of Interstate 205 and into the Columbia River Gorge could get up to an inch, the National Weather Service said.

Ice was disrupting and delaying public transportation around Portland Tuesday evening, transportation officials said. Officials were urging Portland residents to avoid travel if possible.

A high wind warning was also in effect along the Oregon and Washington coasts, with gusts of up to 75 mph predicted on headlands and open beaches in some locations.

Flights were also delayed at Portland International Airport due to icy conditions.

Oregon has been pummeled by snow and below-freezing temperatures for days, but a warming trend starting Wednesday could mean flooding later in the week.

That would be another problem for newly sworn in Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has fielded angry questions on Twitter about why Portland streets are still caked with a thick layer of ice a week after a storm dumped nearly 10 inches of snow on the city.

At a news conference Tuesday convened to discuss a new homeless shelter, Wheeler also spent time talking about the city’s response to the storm.

“I’m not here to make excuses. I think we can do better,” he said, adding that he wanted to review the response.

An incoming weather system was spreading freezing rain across a broad swath of the Cascades, Central Washington and southwest Washington.

The Yakima airport in Washington closed at 6 p.m. while the runway at Spokane International Airport was closed at 9 p.m. due to freezing rain, causing flights to be diverted and canceled, officials said.

Officials on Tuesday evening said the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 in Ellensburg, Washington, would be closed overnight because of freezing rain and snow slides. The eastbound lanes over the pass were closed for hours Tuesday night due to spinouts, officials said.

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