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ODOT Preps For Next Round Of Arctic Weather

BEND, OR -- We get a bit of a break Thursday, before another blast of winter weather hits almost every corner of Oregon through the weekend. Central Oregon was hit hard over the past two days, as snow blanketed mountain passes and the eastern slope of the Cascades. ODOT's Mindy McCartt says plows are out in full force, "Crews are out, shifting to 24 hour service - 12 hour shifts, so they can cover the bulk of the traveled roads: 97, 84, 26, those highways that are used the most."

She says Oregon Department of Transportation forecasters predict treacherous conditions along the entirety of I-84, over the next several days, "Troutdale, even into Gresham, all the way through the Gorge and then out, down south of Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City - white-out conditions, even over through the weekend." The coast is also bracing for more high winds, snow and ice is also forecast for southern and eastern Oregon, and the Portland area could see as much as 4" of snow. Crews are preparing, even in low-lying areas, "They’re out there pre-treating. You’ve got sand, you’ve got deicer, you’ve got gravel in certain areas," says McCartt. 

Even with all that preparation, McCartt says not every highway will get cleared, "White-out conditions, heavy amounts of snow, some ice. At some point, even our max amount of snow plows and staffing, we still don’t have enough to beat Mother Nature this go-around. But we’re doing the best we can with what we have." She asks drivers to be safe and responsible, and not wait too long to chain up, "When those chain requirements are in place, that means those chains need to be on your vehicle when you pass that restriction point. It doesn’t mean ‘let’s just keep going until we slide off and then put our chains on.’"

ODOT asks drivers to delay travel, if possible, especially over mountain passes, "All of the ski resorts are up and open, so all of these people that have been just dying to get out on the slopes are maybe looking forward to getting out this weekend," says McCartt, "And it’s not going to be the safest choice for them to try to get up the mountain passes over the weekend." If you must travel, visit Tripcheck for the latest conditions and road closures. 

Photo of I-5 near Ashland, 01/10/24; courtesy Oregon's Dept. of Transportation

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