A weather emergency has been declared through Jan. 3 in Oregon, Multnomah County and Portland ahead of an anticipated blast of winter weather that could hit the area as early as Friday evening.
"The especially cold and wet winter weather that experts predicted weeks ago is on its way," Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said before a Dec. 23, press conference where she declare her version. "According to the latest forecasts, our region is facing an extended period of snow and frigid temperatures, starting this weekend and worsening next week. Those are conditions that bring a high risk of danger to our neighbors who are surviving outside without a home."
Kafoury said city and county leaders called the conference due to the expected impact of the snowy and icy conditions on residents and infrastructure. It included announcements about opening emergency shelters to protect residents against the cold.
Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County health officer, said there is a substantial risk of hypothermia over the holidays. She cautioned community members that the signs of hypothermia can look similar to intoxication.
"Hypothermia often looks like confusion, clumsiness or passing out," Vines said. "It looks similar to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but please don't assume that's what is happening."
Officials asked for volunteers to help staff shelters, which could be strained as the weather is expected to approach freezing on Sunday.
More information can be found at multco.us/care-when-its-cold.
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