▶️ Portland ice storm: 3 dead, baby injured after power line falls on car

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A power line fell on a car in Portland on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring a baby during an ice storm that turned roads and mountain highways treacherous in the Pacific Northwest.

Rick Graves, spokesman for the city’s fire department, said the power line crashed into the car after being drawn down by the branch of a large tree. It is believed the car’s passengers died when they exited the vehicle and became charged with electricity, he said.

Reminder: Never go near a downed power line. Always assume it is live and energized. If you are trapped in a vehicle beneath a power line, call 911.

Around Portland, long icicles dangled from roofs and cars, and ice encased branches, plants and leaves like thick glass. Swaths of the area were under warnings Wednesday for as much as an inch of ice, promising only to add to the damage wrought by a powerful storm that hit over the weekend and was blamed for at least seven deaths.

RELATED: 5 killed in collision on Highway 97 near Crescent

The warning area was reduced later in the morning to parts of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, including Portland, a metro area of over 2 million, and further limited to the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge in the afternoon.

Diane Flaherty, resident of a hilly and forested neighborhood in southwest Portland, said her home has been without power since Saturday. That day, she left her house when she saw the large tree in her front yard start swaying in the strong wind. To stay safe — and warm — she decided to go stay with her brother-in-law.

“It was like a war zone,” she said, describing the sound of trees cracking as they toppled onto her neighbors’ cars and homes. “We were absolutely stunned.”

Schools and government buildings closed as authorities warned of icy roads and the chance of new power outages, even as crews struggled to restore electricity to thousands blacked out for days.

The storm canceled or delayed flights, including in Vancouver, British Columbia, where heavy snow blanketed the city and snarled traffic, The Canadian Press reported. The city could get nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow by the evening.

The storm hit the northwest corner of the U.S. as much of the rest of the country coped with bitter weather that in some places put electricity supplies at risk. More than 90,000 homes and businesses — mostly in Oregon — lost power across the country, according to PowerOutage.us.

 
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