With snow likely around Christmas, local and state officials urge caution on roads, at home

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As families across the state get ready for Christmas and finalize their travel plans, the Portland office of the National Weather Service is warning that snow and freezing temperatures are increasingly likely starting Friday, the eve of Christmas for higher and lower elevations later this weekend.

Snow above Banks on January 1, 2017. Photo: Chas Hundley

As families across the state get ready for Christmas and finalize their travel plans, the Portland office of the National Weather Service is warning that snow and freezing temperatures are increasingly likely starting Friday, the eve of Christmas.

The latest forecast indicates a mixture of rain and snow from Friday, December 24. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-1930s, with wet roads. On the highways 6 and 26 passes, conditions could worsen for motorists heading to or from the coast as snow levels drop to 1,100 feet on Friday night.

Christmas Day is expected to see snow levels drop to 800 feet, meaning some of the higher elevations in and around the area could start to see snow start to stick. For all others, a mixture of rain and snow is expected. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, with an accumulation of about an inch of new snow possible.

From then on, temperatures are expected to hover around or below zero for the foreseeable future.

Read the forecast for your area on the National Weather Service website.

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For those taking the highways for travel over Christmas weekend, the Oregon Department of Transportation has urged motorists to exercise caution. Route 26 from Timber Junction to Route 47 is considered a snow area, as is Route 6 from Timber Junction to Jordan Creek, and motorists are currently required to wear chains or have traction tires.

“The Willamette Valley, the mountains, the Columbia River Gorge, and central, southern and eastern Oregon are all likely to see varying degrees of snow and freezing temperatures over the three-day weekend and of the following week, “ODOT said in a press release. .

The highway agency offers the following tips to prepare for travel in adverse winter conditions.

– Know before you go. Visit tripcheck.com and see road conditions along your route from start to finish.

-Remember that many tripcheck.com the cameras include temperature, altitude and other critical details of road conditions.

–Drive for the conditions. If you encounter rain, mud, snow, ice, or extra traffic, be sure to slow down and leave extra room to stop.

–Keep your vehicle in good working order by regularly checking the brakes, headlights, tires and wipers.

–Beware of cyclists and pedestrians. In winter conditions, visibility decreases.

–Be aware of roadside message boards. They contain essential information about the conditions of the road ahead.

– Be patient, wear your seat belt, pay attention to conditions and keep a sober driver behind the wheel to ensure a safe arrival for vacation activities.

ODOT, facing staff shortages that have plagued the agency for at least last year, noted that their below-normal workforce could slow their response times.

“We may need a little more time to clear the roads, whether it’s snow or slips,” the agency said, saying it was continuing its work to fill the vacancies. .

Describing the expected weather conditions, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue urged patience instead of heading into potentially dangerous road conditions for those traveling on vacation.

“It might be better to stay a day or two more, to wait until the road conditions improve. So be prepared to stay longer, ”FGF & R said in a social media post.

The Banks Fire District also noted the potential for snow and ice.

“This weekend [Portland General Electric] encourages customers to prepare for possible outages now, ”Banks Fire District spokesperson Mitch Ward said in a social media post.

Information on building a power failure kit and other tips on dealing with a power loss can be found on the PGE website.

The Oregon Emergency Management Office has also provided a list of tips for staying safe during winter storms, which you can read here.

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