Greg Wahl-stephens  /  AP
Workers try to clear ice under an American Airlines jet at Portland International Airport on Thursday.
updated 1/8/2004 5:37:57 PM ET 2004-01-08T22:37:57

The Pacific Northwest saw mixed weather Thursday after two days of snow and rain that complicated travel, knocked out power and closed schools.

In Oregon, where icy roads brought much of the Willamette Valley to a halt, there were about 35,000 power outages Thursday, and Portland International Airport officials said no flights would leave or arrive until at least Friday morning.

“It’s not very comfortable — a lot of people are spread around and napping,” said Dennis Wyza, who had been hoping to escape the glum weather with a trip to Hawaii.

Portland public schools canceled classes, and Federal Express canceled all deliveries in the Portland area for the first time in at least a decade, company spokesman Anthony Hicks said.

Temperatures were in the high 20s Thursday in the Portland area.

In Washington state, rain returned as temperatures warmed into the 30s and 40s in some areas, and most schools that were shut down by the snowstorm reopened Thursday after two days off.

Video: Snow, cold clutch Pacific Northwest Nearly 30,000 Washington electric customers, most in the Seattle suburbs, were without power Thursday morning, down from 136,000 outages Wednesday. Utility crews were working to repair power lines brought down by ice-covered tree limbs.

Dorothy Bracken of Puget Sound Energy, the hardest-hit utility, said power would be restored to most customers by Thursday night.

Tuesday’s snow accumulations were the most since 1996 in western Washington, which typically has mild weather. Snow ranged from 3 inches in Everett, north of Seattle, to 11 inches at Hoodsport.

The heavy snow prompted businesses and government offices to close, freeing thousands to grab skis, sleds or anything else that could slide for some fun in the snow. But Wednesday’s warmer, rainier weather ruined much of the fun, filling the streets with slush.

I-90 open for business
Interstate 90, Washington’s principal east-west route, was reopened Wednesday evening after being closed all day because of heavy snow.

The snow also stopped a northbound Amtrak train overnight in Vancouver, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore.

“They said we were going to make it, but we didn’t,” passenger Ron Gregory, 49, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We sat in Vancouver for 12 hours.”

The train eventually returned to Portland and waited for another Amtrak train to carry the passengers to Seattle. Gregory took the bus.

Delays also stranded passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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