Umatilla County residents can expect more snow to fall on Sunday night, Feb. 14 through Monday, Feb. 15 after conditions ease up briefly over the weekend, a forecaster from the National Weather Service in Pendleton said.
Robert Cramp, a meteorologist for the NWS, said that light snow will fall off and on from Saturday afternoon until another winter system is expected to move in on Sunday night.
As of Saturday afternoon, around 12 inches of snow had fallen in Pendleton and other low-elevation communities in Umatilla County. The upcoming storm is expected to add 2 to 4 more inches, Cramp said.
Communities at higher elevations in the Blue Mountains, such as Meacham, Ukiah and Tollgate, can expect 4 to 8 more inches of snow, Cramp said
Cramp said that temperatures in Pendleton are expected to remain in the 20s and will climb slightly into the low 30s on Sunday. A gradual warming trend is expected to follow the weekend’s storm, with high temperatures between 35 to 40 degrees.
Cramp said there will likely still be “several more storms” bringing precipitation throughout the week, with rain in lower elevations and snow up higher.
All available Oregon Department of Transportation crews were out plowing, deicing and applying sand to slippery roads in Eastern Oregon on Saturday as snow continued to blanket the region, according to an ODOT spokesperson.
“Right now, all hands are on deck,” Tom Strandberg, a spokesman for ODOT, said on Saturday morning.
ODOT is encouraging residents to stay home while crews clear the roads.
“Staying off the roads will help city, county and state maintenance forces clear snow more quickly and efficiently,” a press release from ODOT said. “Be patient, stay safe and watch out for winter crews and each other.”
Strandberg said that he has yet to hear of any major road closures in Eastern Oregon as of Saturday morning, but added that some secondary routes are not being plowed as ODOT continues to focus its efforts on primary routes, like Interstate 84 or Highway 204.
“There’s going to be some routes, where people would typically see crews out there, but it might take a little longer (for ODOT) to get there,” Strandberg said.
Strandberg said conditions seemed more severe in Umatilla County. In areas where the roads are especially icy, like downtown Pendleton and Hermiston, as well as Interstate 84, OR 204 and other highways, ODOT is urging drivers to have chains or traction tires. In some areas, chains are required.
Strandberg said that ODOT was hearing of crashes and cars sliding off roads throughout Saturday morning, but it seemed that few, if any, resulted in reported injuries.
If travel is unavoidable, Strandberg said that people should take precautionary measures in case they get stuck, like carrying extra gas, a charged cell phone, blankets, food and water.
“It’s going to be a long slog,” Strandberg said. “But our crews are out there, and they’re dedicated.”
For updated information on road conditions and closures, visit www.tripcheck.com.