A complex winter weather system is delivering heavy snowfall, ice and high winds to parts of the state and heavy rain and melting snow to others. The Office of Emergency Management is imploring Oregonians to avoid traveling on treacherous roads and instead stay home to stay safe and help ease the strain on the statewide response system.
“We have severe weather advisories, watches and warnings all over the state, including threats of flooding caused by heavy rain and snowmelt. This can trigger debris flows and landslides in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in wildfire burn scars,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “We need to take winter weather hazards seriously and make good decisions to reduce our risk of being stuck on snow-covered roads or trapped by floodwaters. If you don’t need to be on the road, stay home: Do your part to keep yourself and others safe.”
OEM is monitoring and coordinating statewide hazards, impacts and needs and informing Oregonians of tools and resources to stay safe. Oregon Dept. of Transportation crews are working to keep roads clear and urging travelers to observe highway closures, give crews space to work and never drive around barricades or pass snowplows on the right.
Impacted counties are establishing sandbag locations for flooding. For local flood advisories and sandbag locations, call 211.
OEM is asking all Oregonians to do their part to reduce shared risk by adopting the following safety best practices:
Stay informed. Be Ready.
- Sign up for local emergency alerts at https://oralert.gov.
- Monitor the weather forecast for watches, warnings or advisories at https://weather.gov.
- Learn the difference between watches, warnings and advisories at https://weather.gov/sjt/WatchWarningAdvisoryExplained.
- Evacuate immediately if told to do so.
- Stay alert for road hazards such as flooding, downed power lines, falling trees and washed-out roads.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwaters; just six inches of moving water can knock a person down, and one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle. Learn how to prepare for and what to do during a flood at https:/ready.gov/floods.
Avoid unnecessary travel. If travel is necessary:
- Check weather and road conditions in advance at https://tripcheck.com/ or call 511. Be patient and allow for extra travel time.
- Share travel plans with others and know the route; GPS won’t always have the latest road conditions and if the main roads are in bad shape, the back roads are likely worse.
- Pack chains, a cell phone and charger, water, food and warm clothes.
- When stuck in dangerous winter conditions, remain in the vehicle to stay warm and make it easier to be located by rescuers. Leave the vehicle running for about 10 minutes each hour for heat. Open a window a bit for fresh air and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Review more winter weather travel tips from ODOT at https://oregon.gov/odot/pages/winter-driving.aspx.
Prepare for power outages.
- Find area power outages at https://poweroutage.us/area/state/oregon.
- Have a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, and blankets available and ready to go.
- Make sure phones and other electronics are fully charged.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: Don’t use camp stoves indoors and place generators outside at least 20 feet away from the home.
- View more resources at https://ready.gov/power-outages.
Assemble a go-kit.
- A go-kit is a self-contained and portable stockpile of emergency supplies, often placed in a backpack and left in a readily accessible and secure location. Read what to include in a go-kit at https://ready.gov/kit.
- Make sure the go-kit contains waterproof matches or a lighter and a watertight container for important documents.
- First responders may not be able to reach everyone impacted within hours or even days after a disaster. Each Oregon resident should proactively prepare to be self-sufficient for at least two weeks when a disaster strikes.
- Being “2 Weeks Ready” means having a plan and enough supplies for a household to survive on its own for a full two weeks should a disaster occur. Learn more at https://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/2-Weeks-Ready.aspx.
“As Oregonians, we have a shared responsibility to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe,” said Phelps. “Everyone should take steps now to stay warm, dry and safe throughout this series of storms. Connect with friends, family or neighbors and help them access the resources they need. We’re counting on every Oregonian to reduce their risk and be part of the solution.”
Source: Oregon Office of Emergency Management