The National Weather Service expects the first winter storm of 2020 to make its way into Central Oregon Friday, with a “prolonged period of moderate to heavy snow over the mountains.”
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect to 4 p.m. on Saturday for most of Central Oregon including Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond.
Snow totals are expected around 3 to 5 inches with the heaviest accumulations south of Redmond.
Central Oregon Daily Meteorologist Dorrell Wenninger said we could see as much as 8 inches of snow in town by the end of day Sunday.
The advisory extends into Monday morning for the eastern slopes of the Cascades including Sunriver and La Pine.
The NWS is forecasting up to 3 feet of snow there and wind gusts as high as 50 mph.
Mt. Bachelor’s forecast for the weekend calls for 7 to 11 inches of snow Friday night, up to 18 more inches through Saturday and up to two feet of snow through Sunday night.
“Although there may be occasional breaks in the precipitation, this will be a prolonged period of snow for the Cascade Mountains,” according to the advisory. “Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility…gusty winds could bring down tree branches.”
This is the first significant snowfall in the region since the week of Thanksgiving when just over a foot of snow fell in just one day, snarling holiday traffic, but giving Mt. Bachelor enough snow to open a lift.
Although fresh snow is exciting and a draw for backcountry recreationists, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team want to urge those traveling into the mountains to use caution. The snow conditions could be challenging for all but the most experienced and will increase the risk of tree well issues and avalanche danger. Additionally, these conditions challenge rescuers and increase our response times to backcountry emergencies.
Ski, snowshoe and snowmobile trails are already becoming hard to distinguish in some areas, which make it difficult to navigate.
For additional information on tree well safety, visit: https://www.deepsnowsafety.org
For additional information on local avalanche conditions, visit: http://www.coavalanche.org
Any backcountry travelers should have proper gear (including avalanche gear) and food for 24 hours, ensure they have adequately charged cell phones, and should tell someone where they are going.
For more information on backcountry preparedness, visit: https://www.deschutessearchandrescue.org
Even those who are not traveling far into the forest could expect hazardous road conditions and should ensure their vehicles are equipped for the conditions. We recommend all travelers also carry additional supplies in the event they become stranded. Those camping in the forest could find themselves stranded and should consider moving to lower elevations.
For additional information from ODOT, visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/ORDOT-2758bcd?wgt_ref=ORDOT_WIDGET_8