A big blast of winter weather may be coming to many corners of Oregon in the days ahead with a chance of snow, cold, wind and ice creating very hazardous conditions.
The forecast is calling for heavy snow in the Cascades and in Central Oregon, high winds and tidal flooding on the Coast and cold and low elevation snow in the Willamette Valley. All are all possible over the next week.
ODOT wants travelers to think twice before driving over the mountain passes which are expected to get several feet of snow this weekend. Also, with the predicted snow and ice in the Willamette Valley starting next week, ODOT suggests that travelers not drive in these extreme winter conditions.
If you do drive, use plenty of caution and observe a few common sense rules for navigating hazardous weather conditions:
- Get safely situated. Don’t wait until after a storm hits to get on the road. Get to your destination before conditions turn nasty and unsafe.
- Travel smart. Consider waiting until a storm passes to get on your bike or in your car.
- Look out for each other. If you must drive, remember cyclists and pedestrians are harder to see in a storm. If you’re biking or walking remember that cars don’t stop quickly on snow and ice.
- Leave early. It’s smart to allow plenty of time to get where you’re going. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.
- Check on any appointments you have before you leave. Offices and businesses may close due to the weather.
- Know before you go. Plan your route. Visit Tripcheck.com in advance to look at ODOT cameras and check conditions.
- Don’t abandon your vehicle. It prevents us from clearing the road and emergency services from getting to the people who need them.
- Carrying an emergency kit that includes supplies of water and food, and blankets. Have a full tank of gas and charge your phone.
- Beware of outages. If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.
- Watch for plows. ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can’t clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated. Stay at least three car lengths back. Everybody benefits the sooner they can get the road cleared.
In severe weather, ODOT deploys all available tools in its winter arsenal, including plows, sanders, deicers and rock salt, as appropriate. Crews and equipment are being pre-positioned to respond.
ODOT crews will be working 12-hour shifts around the clock. If conditions allow, crews will pre-treat roads with de-icer -- magnesium chloride with rust inhibitor – on area roads with plows and sanding trucks on standby for use as needed. Mountain passes are receiving heavy amounts of snow and travelers over higher elevations should be prepared for extreme winter driving conditions by carrying chains and knowing how to use them.
Remember, driving on ice and snow pack is never a safe choice. The safest thing to do is stay off the road.