Winter storm: ODOT warns to be prepared if heading over the mountains

ODOT snow plows

The Oregon Department of Transportation is warning drivers that it’s not just Central Oregon that’s going to get hit with severe weather this weekend. Drivers headed over the mountains to Portland, the Willamette Valley and the coast need to be prepared for severe winter weather Friday and Saturday.

Here are details from ODOT on what to expect if you’re traveling west.

Snow and ice are not the only hazards brought by winter storms. Heavy rain and wind can cause landslides, rock fall, downed trees and high water on the roadway. Drive with caution no matter where you are going through the weekend.

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Conditions are likely to make travel difficult or impossible at times, so rescheduling this weekend’s travel plans may be your best option. Road and weather conditions can change quickly. For the latest state highway information, visit, and for the latest weather, visit the National Weather Service.

Portland is expecting snow starting on Friday, and the Columbia River Gorge is expecting near blizzard conditions with high winds, poor visibility and snow.

If you are planning to travel between western and central or eastern Oregon this weekend, ODOT crews caution travelers to reschedule their trip. All of these routes may be affected by severe weather. Cascade passes are forecast to get heavy snow, high winds and near zero temperatures over the weekend. Interstate 84 has the lowest elevation of our west to east routes and is one of our highest priorities, but with blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures in the forecast there is a chance it may close. We monitor all routes closely and close roads when conditions become unsafe or the roads are impassible.

If you must travel this weekend, be prepared

Safety is our priority – for travelers and our road crews. If you decide to travel, plan extra time for your journey and carry emergency supplies. Delays and closures are common during winter storms. Expect to encounter chain restrictions if traveling in mountain passes.

Give snowplows and emergency crews extra space to do their work, and never pass a snowplow on the right. Our crews are working hard to clear roads, but their job becomes more difficult when disabled cars and trucks block traffic.

To help reduce traffic and stay safe, consider working from home or taking public transit. Or, take a snow day and give our crews time to do the hard work and get the roads clear. If you’re out walking or rolling, bundle up and go slow because conditions may be slick.

For more winter weather driving tips, see our winter travel news packet.


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