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Major snowstorm in Portland closes schools, knocks out power to thousands

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- A major snowstorm spread through Portland and southwest Washington, toppling trees, closing schools and cutting power to thousands.

The National Weather Service says parts of Portland got up to a foot of snow, a rare event in a city known for its rain.

The snow began at the end of Tuesday's rush-hour commute, so the roads were free of heavy traffic during the storm. Still, some cars were left abandoned on highways and the state Department of Transportation warned drivers to stay home Wednesday, if possible.

Several large branches were down near Portland State University and Portland General Electric reports that more than 30,000 customers are without power.