Freezing rain hits High Desert, ices roads

Semi flips near La Pine, crushing parked pickup

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Adding forecast warm-up)

Many Central Oregon roads turned slick from freezing rain and sub-freezing temperatures early Thursday, as a semi-truck overturned north of La Pine and struck some parked cars and a power pole, authorities said.

The crash around 5 a.m. near Wickiup Junction did not block Highway 97, ODOT reported, but the truck reportedly hauling apples crushed at least one vehicle, a pickup truck, in a parking lot and knocked down a power line, also spilling fuel. 

Midstate Electric Co-Op reported no major power outages, but there were unconfirmed reports of some precautionary evacuations at a nearby mobile home park.

"Motorists advised to be wary of icy conditions on local highways," an ODOT traffic alert stated.

One La Pine resident reported the roads were "an ice rink already ... Don't drive if you don't have to."

The Bend area also was getting freezing rain, making a slick shiny glaze on streets, driveways and sidewalks as commuters crept to work, but rollover crashes were reported from Highway 20 east of Sisters to Highway 31 south of La Pine. There was no initial word of any serious injuries.

More crashes occurred as the sun struggled to break through the fog and black ice reports abounded Thursday morning, one reportedly involving a Harney County Sheriff's Office vehicle on U.S. Highway 20 about 80 miles east of Bend.

Public schools remained closed for the holiday, so no closures were reported.

NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Bob Shaw said the freezing fog and freezing rain combination made for treacherous conditions, with temperatures not expected to rise above freezing until midday.  He said highs should reach the low to mid 40s, but overnight lows at or below freezing bring another chance of freezing rain.

Follow traffic updates at our ODOT TripCheck page.

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