(UPDATE: Central Oregon school districts and multiple private schools have reported they are closing or are delayed Wednesday morning. Find the updated list here.)
Freezing rain began falling across Central Oregon Tuesday afternoon, quickly turning highways, streets and roundabouts into ice rinks.
The rain started falling at about 3:00 p.m. Within an hour, staffers inside the Central Oregon Daily newsroom were hearing reports from friends and family about how the streets were nearly difficult to navigate, and some hills were nearly impossible to traverse.
One driver told us around 4:30 p.m. she was in a huge backup on Brookswood Blvd. just south of Power Road in Bend, as seen in the image above. She said it took her 50 minutes just to get from downtown to that point.
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Bend Police posted on Facebook, asking drivers to stay home if they can.
“If you get in a non-injury crash, move your vehicles out of the roadway and exchange information. Police have to respond to higher priority calls and may not be able to get to your non-injury incident,” Bend PD posted.
Similar problems are being reported around the state. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed a 47-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River due to winter driving conditions.
The National Weather Service Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for much of Central Oregon until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. Central Oregon Daily News Chief Meteorologist Dorrell Wenninger says up to one-tenth of an inch of ice accumulation is possible Tuesday night.
“Overnight temperatures will be cold with warming expected. Areas of freezing rain will cause icy conditions on many of our roads. Lows will be in the teens and 20s with morning winds becoming breezy at times,” Wenninger said. “Wednesday will be partly to mostly cloudy with some in-and-out clouds and scattered rain-snow showers. The mountains will absorb the brunt of our moisture resulting in more mountain snow. Highs will be in the 30s to 40s and winds will be gusty for many of us as our reinforcing cold front fizzles out.”