Categories > Guides and Tips

A Guide to Dealing with Winter and Snow in Portland

A Guide to Dealing with Winter and Snow in Portland

Thinking of spending your winter in the largest city in Oregon and wondering if you can look forward to the white stuff?  

Quick answer: you can, but it’s not guaranteed and there isn’t always a lot. Here, we’ll show you what to expect when it snows in Portland.

How often does it snow in Portland?

It does snow in Portland but it happens infrequently, often lasting for 2.6 months from November 30 to February 16. According to the latest climate data, the city receives very little snow each winter, with an average of 3 inches of snow per year.

If you’d like to do any snow activities such as sledding, skiing, or even snowboarding, you should come to Portland in January since it’s the month that has the most snow in the city. Just make sure that you’ll all geared up to stay safe during your visit.

How harsh is the snow in Portland?

Snow in Portland is no joke, but it is rare to have a true freeze. The winter season in Portland has a temperature of above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), while it can get near 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Here are the average temperatures for the winter season for your reference.

MonthAverage Temperatures
December46 F (8 C)
January47 F (8 C)
February51 F (11 C)

How do you stay updated with the weather?

How do you stay updated with the weather

Being informed of the latest weather update is a key to scheduling a perfect vacation. As much as we want you to experience the slightest snow in Portland, we also want you to stay up to date all the time just in case an emergency happens.

1. Use a weather app 

Your smartphone is an effective tool that can keep you informed about everything going on around you, including the local weather. 

So, if you already have spider webs on your phone screen, you might want to deal with that first for a better experience. 

Plan your days accordingly by using weather apps available for download. Simply search for weather forecast apps and you’ll find a variety of options to choose from.

2. Watch local news

Television is a useful tool for communicating the most recent information on the local weather. It’s considered one of the earliest and longest-running mediums for distributing weather forecasts to the general public.

3. Get a weather monitor

Purchasing a weather monitor is another excellent way to stay informed about the weather. These practical tools are made to help you be ready for situations where the weather could affect your daily activities. 

How to Survive the Winter in Portland

How to Survive the Winter in Portland

Let’s say you scheduled your winter vacation in Portland and you will be visiting in just a few weeks. What could you possibly do to prepare for your much-needed break and eventually survive it? 

Here are some helpful tips for you to consider.

1. Layer your clothes

Stock up on your winter wardrobe. Yes, that’s the very first thing to remember. 

Here are the items you must have on your list when you go out shopping for winter gear.

  • Fleece – Fleece is considered the superior layer for staying warm, at least to the residents in Portland. Forget anything else, but this.
  • Jacket – A jacket is another type of clothing that is a must-have during cold/ winter seasons. To be better prepared, get a rain jacket and an insulated jacket.
  • Boots – Snow boots to be exact. This helps keep your feet warm and dry in the snow.. Get a pair of your chosen design – fashion will not kill you during the winter season.
  • Wool socks, beanies, and gloves – Wool is one of the more breathable textiles that is also quite adept at absorbing moisture. So make sure to have your socks, beanie, and gloves in this type of clothing.

2. Refrain from using your own vehicle

Driving in deep snow will not only leave you stranded, but it will also cause damage to your vehicle. Speaking of that, the local officials in the city actually limit the use of private vehicles and encourage the use of public transportation. 

Officials also advise being prepared for any winter circumstances on the road. So make sure your lines are always open to receive important updates. 

3. Buy chains for safety

One way to be prepared for winter circumstances is to purchase chains and keep them on your vehicle. You can use it for emergencies – say you’re stranded in Portland locations higher than 500 feet above sea level. 

Although it’s not ideal to upkeep your car’s good exterior, it’s something you might need for safety purposes. The Portland Bureau of Transportation might also require having chains and traction devices at some locations in the city. 

4. Clear snow around your home

Clear snow around your home

During winter storms, the Portland Bureau of Transportation uses snow plows and anti-icing agents to remove ice from the roads near bus routes. But it’s suggested, as the property owner, that you provide safe passage on sidewalks around your place by clearing all of the snow. 

It’s one winter survival tip not just for you but for your neighbors as well. Plus, you don’t want to risk big piles of snow piling up on your newly landscaped backyard or any entrances and exits of your home.

5. Build an emergency snow kit

Before going on a winter trip, you must always keep an emergency snow kit in your vehicle for your safety in case of emergencies like being stranded. 

Make your own list and jot down the following: 

  • a blanket
  • extra clothing (hats, stockings, boots, mittens)
  • a flashlight
  • a mobile phone
  • chains
  • a shovel
  • battery
  • a first aid kit
  • other necessary tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver, and knife)

6. Keep warm indoors

Turn on your heating system and continue binge-watching your favorite TV show or reading the books you’ve been meaning to get to. Nothing beats the comfort of your warm home, especially the snow outside gets a little too tough.

If the snow permits easy travel, you can also drop by other key places in Portland. You can spend a day inside art galleries or munch on your favorite meals in a quiet cafe or an open brunch spot.

Related topics