The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning as a moist Pacific warm front sent precipitation down through cold lower layers of inland air to spread sleet and freezing rain across roads and streets.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Ice and freezing rain made roads treacherous across the metro area today, snarling weekend traffic, causing accidents, delaying flights at Portland International Airport and forcing cancellation of weekend events around the city.


The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning as a moist Pacific warm front sent precipitation down through cold lower layers of inland air to spread sleet and freezing rain across roads and streets.


But the forecast called for warming Sunday that was expected to avoid a repeat of the problems that plagued the region today.


More than 200 minor accident reports had been tallied by Oregon State Police by noon, but there was no word of any serious injuries.


It had warmed enough by noon for the Oregon Department of Transportation to lift a requirement that chains be used on vehicles on all state highways in the metro area. But chains still were required on Interstate 5 north of suburban Wilsonville.


Travel across the two main bridges in Portland was limited to a crawl. The Fremont Bridge, carrying Interstate 405, was closed for more than two hours while the Marquam Bridge, carrying Interstate 5, was clogged with semi-trucks and cars unable to navigate the icy pavement, according to ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson.


Traffic barely moved for more than two hours on the southbound I-5 lanes on the lower level of the Marquam Bridge while traffic was being untangled, causing a backup along the freeway into neighboring Vancouver, Wash.


Mayor Tom Potter joined police and state officials to urge drivers to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel.


Interstate 84 remained open eastbound but transportation officials warned of icy conditions in the Columbia River Gorge, along withi blowing snow and freezing rain.


Residents were asked to stop calling the 9-1-1 emergency number for weather updates and instead call the separate 5-1-1 number that provides weather information.


Thompson recommended checking the ODOT Web site for updates on travel conditions: http://www.TripCheck.com.


Utility officials also urged residents to stop calling 9-1-1 for power outages and to instead look up numbers for their local utility service.


Sanding truck crews were spreading out on the main roads along with de-icing equipment, Thompson said.


“Everybody’s out right now. We’ve got 50 trucks on the road,” Thompson said.


The city of Portland has 55 trucks to handle snow and ice, and all were on the road with their crews, said Mary Volm, the city’s transportation spokeswoman.


Dozens of flights at Portland International Airport were delayed or canceled, said Steve Johnson, Port of Portland aviation spokesman.


“It’s really important for travelers to check before they come to the airport,” Johnson said.


He did not have a complete list of airlines with problems, but he said the storm had affected nearly all operations at the airport. De-icing crews were keeping flights running while the runways and taxiways appeared to be in good shape, Johnson said.


Mike Higgason, spokesman for Horizon Air, the main commuter airline for the Northwest, said most flights were being canceled or delayed until the weather cleared.


Portland General Electric crews were on the road checking lines but no major outages were reported by late morning, according to Mark Fryburg, PGE spokesman.


The Legacy Health System was operating under a storm management plan for nonessential staff and workers while several private universities canceled classes. A number of high schools canceled events, including basketball games and wrestling matches.


The Oregon Zoo made a rare weather-related closure, and the Oregon Democratic Party postponed its required organizational meeting until Sunday after the storm forced Portland State University to close the meeting hall and other buildings on campus.


For Eastern Oregon, a winter storm warning was in effect from noon until 6 a.m. Sunday as forecasters predicted up to 5 inches of snow followed by sleet and freezing rain overnight across a wide area from Bend to Pendleton.


Interstate 84 remained fairly clear through the Columbia Gorge but snow was increasing, according to a KGW-TV crew in Hood River.