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C.O. snow followed by some sun - and frigid temps

By Barney Lerten
Published On: Nov 08 2012 08:44:30 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 11 2012 03:01:35 PM CST
Redmond snow Trish Jorgenson

Snowy view from the front window of Trish Jorgenson's home in SW Redmond

BEND, Ore. -

A weekend that began with snow across the High Desert turned dry for Veterans Day parades and other events Sunday -- but it turned very cold and windy as well.

Lower-elevation areas of Central Oregon that saw little or no snow Thursday night, while La Pine got a foot-plus in places, got their share of measurable snowfall Friday night and Saturday morning, It was another busy night for police as cars and trucks slipped, slid and in some cases flipped.

Saturday night, skies cleared -- and as a already, temperatures plummeted, already to the teens in many spots by midnight.

Bend dropped to 16 degrees overnight, Redmond to 15 and Madras to 23, according to the National Weather Service. It rose to barely above freezing in most locations as Veterans Day parades kicked off on Sunday morning.

But dry roads made for safer travel than earlier in the weekend.

Still, it’s not just snow causing driving troubles, but black ice.

Crook County sheriff’s deputies said two Prineville residents escaped injury Saturday evening when their Nissan Pathfinder hit a patch of black ice on the O’Neil Highway west of Prineville and the driver lost control, sending her vehicle off an embankment and into an irrigation ditch.

Friday night, on Highway 97, south of Bend, a scanner report indicated everyone was able to get out of a Jeep that rolled three times around 9 p.m., coming to rest on its wheels.

Snow was sticking, and how, in Bend, Redmond and Madras.

A Camp Sherman-area weather spotter recorded 2 1/2 inches of new snow overnight and a total of 5 1/2 inches on the ground Saturday morning.

The Sisters area reported about four inches of snow in 24 hours ending Saturday morning, while Madras got about two inches, Prineville about an inch and Sunriver another half-inch or snow. Bend had a half-inch to an inch or more snow reported.

There were two inches or more in some areas of Bend Saturday morning, before the sun began to melt it off. But many roads were still slick, and several crashes were reported around the area, some resulting in injuries.

Friday night, the unbeaten Redmond Panthers football squad didn't let heavy snowfall and near-whiteout conditions at times beat them, as they knocked off visiting Churchill 40-15 to raise their record to 10-0 and continue on in the playoffs.

Winter weather had staged a powerful return to some areas of the High Desert Thursday evening, bringing over a foot of snow in the Sunriver-La Pine area, where classes were delayed two hours Friday morning, and a return of slick, tricky driving conditions.

Friday morning, the National Weather Service in Pendleton extended its winter weather advisory for the area another 24 hours, to 9 a.m. Saturday. They said snow showers would increase in coverage and intensity Friday night.

Thursday evening, a La Pine resident reported 4-6 inches of snow and it was still coming down hard. There also was a half-foot as the tape measure showed in Oregon Water Wonderland, between Sunriver and La Pine; another OWW resident shoveled 7 inches off her back deck and it was still snowing hard before 7 p.m.

By Friday morning, much of the area had close to a foot of snow -- a resident of Thousand Trails, south of Sunriver, reported a whopping 18 inches -- and yet, to the north, roads were slick in Bend but only lawns and roofs (and cars) were really coated at lower elevations.

Slide-offs were reported on numerous roads around the region.

ODOT, meanwhile, decided Friday to close the Old McKenzie Pass Highway (Oregon 242) for the season, effective immediately, "due to higher than anticipated snowfall." (A day earlier, they had planned to close the road next week.)

"We have over a foot (of snow) and still coming down hard off State Rec Road, between Sunriver and La Pine," Amie Hamilton said around 9 p.m.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies requested, and ODOT called out plows to try to keep ahead of the snowfall that was causing slide-offs from Sunriver to south of La Pine.

Forecasters warned motorists to be very careful and slow down -- and indeed, slide-offs and other traffic issues were starting to happen before the heaviest snowfall after nightfall.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies called for ODOT plows, saying 6-8 inches were building up before 7 p.m. Friday.

The La Pine Rural Fire District issued a winter driving alert with some common safety tips for this time of year::

With the seasons first significant snowfall upon us road condition will be hazardous at times. Please review these 10 simple steps to make you winter driving safer.  Starting from the easiest and least costly. Note the first six cost little or nothing and you can start doing them immediately and improve your winter travel greatly!

 #1 Slow Down - Simple enough, but really - leave earlier and give your self time to deal with the additional hazards of slick roads and others who have not heeded this advice.

#2 Clear off ALL windows of snow and ice – Yes it’s a pain, but it’s not going to blow or melt off quickly. Keeping a broom near your parking spot makes the job much more palatable.

#3 Headlights on at all times – This helps others see you, so they don’t pull out in front of you.

 #4 Adjust your travel time if you can – Fortunately here in Central Oregon the sun can quickly help our DOT folks improve road conditions by mid day. Check ODOTs road condition website and cameras for the latest.

#5 Add weight (a few sand bags) - This is more for balance rather than for traction. Most vehicles are lighter in the rear, even 4x4s’. Balancing weight greatly improves handling and predictability in slick environments. Think what NASCAR racers do to their vehicles.

#6 Have winter survival gear in your car. (flashlight, snow boots, gloves, hat). Be prepared to walk a mile if you need to.

#7 Sipe your tires – Those extra little edges cut into the tread – really help especially on pack snow and ice – conditions when vehicles most often loose control.

#8 Tire chains – For traction when going over the passes and in extreme conditions. They also force you to slow down – go figure.

#9 Snow tires on all four wheels – Help in deeper snow and slush. Put on all four wheels - again more for balance, steering, and braking.

#10 Studded tires – Adding studs to snow tires can help on hard packed snow and ice, especially if it is glazed and wet.

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