Icy Winter Storm Could Close I-84 and Will Cause Hazardous Driving Conditions
Forecasters expect extreme cold temperatures to continue today with high winds in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington. This will create more winter driving challenges this weekend. In parts of eastern Oregon and adjacent states the wind chill temperatures may be 20-30 degrees BELOW zero today, with warmer temperatures on Saturday and Sunday bringing snow, sleet and icy conditions.
Another round of winter weather is expected to hit the Tri-Cities, surrounding areas and central Oregon. The snow will starting midday Saturday and continue through late Saturday night with 1-4 inches of new snow is expected. We will have a brief lull in the early morning hours on Sunday, then things get wild with a wintry mix of precipitation - snow, sleet, freezing rain, turning to rain late Sunday afternoon.
On the western side of the state, the Columbia River Gorge may be hit particularly hard by snow, ice and high winds. ODOT will close Interstate 84 east of Troutdale if road conditions are unsafe and will keep it closed until it’s safe again for traffic. Such closures in the past have lasted for several days.
Travelers are reminded to keep a watchful eye on weather forecasts for the areas in which they live, or may be traveling through. Here are some tips to managing an icy storm.
- Get yourself safely situated before the storm hits. The best recipe for massive gridlock is when everyone decides to hit the road after a storm hits. It’s much less stressful to chill at home.
- No one can safely drive on ice. If ice forms, better to stay off the roads altogether.
- Be ready for power outages. Ice storms can bring down trees and power lines so make sure you have candles, food and batteries.
- Transportation crews cannot work to clear roads that are clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be cleared.
- Look out for each other. Slow down, allow plenty of stopping distance and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists in urban areas, because stopping distances are much longer.
- Be aware that blowing snow that covers the road surface may be hiding packed snow, ice and slick conditions.
- Slow down. Drive according to the conditions of the road.
- When passing, be mindful that you may be stirring up powder snow behind you that can create white-out conditions for other motorists.
- Be prepared for sub-zero temperatures in some areas.
For Washington roads and conditions go to the WSDOT site. For Oregon check www.TripCheck.com.