Central Oregon roadways become ice rinks due to freezing rain

Central Oregon experienced a sudden onset of freezing rain on Tuesday afternoon, which rapidly transformed the region’s highways, streets, and roundabouts into treacherous ice rinks.

By 3:00 p.m., the rain had begun to pour. Within just an hour, reports started flooding in from friends and family of the Central Oregon Daily newsroom staff. They mentioned the challenging navigation on the streets and the near-impossible task of crossing certain hills.

Around 4:30 p.m., a driver recounted her experience of being stuck in a major traffic jam on Brookswood Blvd., just south of Power Road in Bend. She shared that it took her a daunting 50 minutes to cover the distance from downtown to that particular location.

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Bend Police took to Facebook, urging drivers to stay home if possible.

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The Bend Police Department advised drivers involved in non-injury crashes to move their vehicles out of the roadway and exchange information with the other party. According to a social media post by Bend PD, the police may not be able to respond immediately to non-injury incidents due to higher priority calls.

Similar issues have been reported throughout the state, with the Oregon Department of Transportation taking action by closing a 47-mile section of Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River. This decision was made in response to the challenging winter driving conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for a significant portion of Central Oregon, which will remain in effect until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday. According to Dorrell Wenninger, the Chief Meteorologist at Central Oregon Daily News, there is a possibility of up to one-tenth of an inch of ice accumulation on Tuesday night.

According to meteorologist Wenninger, the upcoming nights will be cold, but with warming expected. This will lead to areas of freezing rain, creating icy conditions on roads. The temperatures will drop to the teens and 20s, and the morning winds will become breezy at times. On Wednesday, the weather will be partly to mostly cloudy, with intermittent clouds and scattered rain-snow showers. The mountains will receive more snow, as they will absorb the majority of the moisture. High temperatures will range from the 30s to 40s, and gusty winds can be expected as a reinforcing cold front weakens.

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