Oregon DOT: Drivers Beware, Extreme Winter Weather Will Make Travel Difficult 

Winter Driving | I-5 Exit Guide

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that the first severe winter storm of the season is about to hit, and it’s coming to many corners of Oregon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting severe weather, including blizzard conditions with near zero visibility starting early Tuesday. Forecasters warn that travel could be difficult or impossible for heavy-hit areas. NOAA says that blizzard warnings in Oregon are rare. 

The blizzard conditions are predicted to hit Cascade and Blue Mountain passes with extreme wind and feet of snow. Other mountain areas in Oregon are expecting heavy precipitation as well.

Our crews are prepped and ready, but this weather will challenge us all. Strong winds blow sand, salt and deicer off the roads as soon they are put down and falling trees can quickly close a road. Whiteout conditions make plowing and driving dangerous even for expert drivers. If you are able to cancel or delay travel, do so. Let our crews do the fighting and sit this one out. 

Lower elevations may also see challenging weather with heavy rain, wind, ice and some snow expected to accompany the mountain blizzards. We know that delaying or canceling travel plans can be hard, so if you do have to travel, follow these tips:

  • If you decide to travel, do your research to fully understand the conditions you may face along your route. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • Make sure you have a capable vehicle with traction tires and chains. Many areas in the coming week may require chains to travel.
  • Have good windshield wipers and a full charge or tank of fuel. 
  • Pack an emergency kit including food, water and warm clothes in case you are delayed or a road closes. One crash or downed tree can close a road for hours. 
  • Consider using public transportation to get where you need to go – leave the driving to a professional.
  • If you are out walking or rolling during the storms, help drivers see you by wearing bright colors. 
  • Give everyone, especially our plows, extra space in snowy or icy conditions. 

No matter where you are in Oregon, prepare for challenging conditions in the days to come. Stay home if you can or plan ahead and prepare if you have to travel. We want everyone to get where they need to go safely.

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