Early C.O. winter blast ices roads, topples trees

At least 600 lose power in S. county; Hwy. 97 slick

POSTED: 10:27 AM PST December 24, 2013    UPDATED: 1:07 PM PDT October 28, 2013 
Hwy. 97 Lava Butte
BEND, Ore. -

An early blast of winter weather caused road and power woes around the High Desert Monday morning. Highway 97 iced up near Sunriver and sent cars and semis spinning and crashing, while trees blown onto lines cut power to about 1,200 Midstate Electric Cooperative customers in southern Deschutes County.

The Prineville area also had a coating of sticking snow as the storm moved through, especially at higher elevations.

A tree was across the road blocking Sparks Drive, according to area resident Joe Powell.

Around 9:30 a.m., a car was reported to have left Highway 97 south of the South Century Drive intersection (the Sunriver exit) and turned on its side down an embankment.  There was no immediate word of any injuries.

NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Bob Shaw said temperatures wouldn't warm up much -- the low to mid 40s as highs -- and winds would kick up to 20-30 mph Monday afternoon. Partial clearing will mean cold temperatures, with lows in the 20s, and more blustery winds Monday night. 

Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said the road was blocked as several semis spun out; earlier, several were reported to be pulling over and chaining up near the Lava Butte grade south of Bend.

Midstate repair crews were called out as strong winds toppled trees onto power lines, knocking out power in the Oregon Water Wonderland No. 2 area for a time, as well as Sun Forest, Split Rail, Twin Drive and Fall River Estates.

Spokeswoman Teresa Lackey said while some had power back by 10 a.m., new outages were cropping up, such as in Newberry Estates, and about 400 still were without power at that time. All but about 20 had their power back by early Monday afternoon.

Tune in to NewsChannel 21 at 5, 6, 10 and 11 for your latest Local Alert Weather forecast from Travis Knudsen.