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Digging out: Most C.O. schools closed again as snowfall ebbs

Bend has had nearly 4 feet of snow this winter

BEND, Ore. - The latest in a string of major snowstorms was starting to move out on Wednesday, leaving very cold temperatures in its wake, but the snow it's left behind on area roads and sidewalks prompted almost all Central Oregon schools to close again.

Put simply, all school districts declared closures -- except Crook County schools, which were on a regular schedule, and Powell Butte Community School, which was on a two-hour delay.

District and college closures included Bend-La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Jefferson County, Gilchrist, Culver, OSU-Cascades and COCC. Redmond's note cited "continued difficult conditions driving and walking on side streets and in rural areas" of the district.

Other school closures: High Desert Montessori, Cascades Academy, St. Thomas Academy, Waldorf School, Sisters Christian, Eastmont School, Morning Star, the REACH program in Redmond, Seven Peaks and Three Sisters Adventist and Phagans' Cosmetology School in Bend.

Other closures to report: The Oregon Child Development Coalition Head Start program in Madras and Culver and Rimrock Trails outpatient programs in Bend, Redmond and Prineville. Canceled school-related programs included Bend Parks and Rec's KIDS INC. before- and after-school programs and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend.

Deschutes County courts were opening an hour late, at 9 a.m., while other state agency offices were set to open at 10 a.m. in Central Oregon (They were closed for the day in the Portland area, hit hard by a very rare foot of snow, and several harder-hit Eastern Oregon counties.)

All Mosaic Medical clinics in Central Oregon were opening at noon and closing at 4 p.m.

Wednesday program, meeting or event cancellations include the COCC Board of Directors meeting, the Bend Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meeting,, the High Desert Treasure Club's January meeting and Wednesday night's Bend Soroptimist candlelight vigil to mark National Human Trafficking Day.

Also, no Head Start or pre-school for The Children's Learning Center in Madras, and the Mid-Columbia Children's Council Madras Head Start site also closed. The Planned Parenthood Bend Health Center opens at 10 a.m.

Please send your school or other program or event closures, cancellations or delays to stories@ktvz.com

The winter storm warning for much of Central Oregon expired early Wednesday, but was replaced later with a winter weather advisory for the east slopes of the Cascades (higher-elevation areas including La Pine, Sunriver and Sisters) until 4 p.m. for a possible 2-5 more inches of snow, with temperatures 12 to 20 degrees and winds gusting up to 25 mph.

A check of NWS data shows Bend officially had a half-foot of snow Tuesday after nine inches Monday, with 20 inches on the ground.

The city's snowfall total is 23.5 inches already in January -- way above the 1.5 inch normal for the first 10 days of the month -- after 21.3 inches in December.  Bend has seen a total of 45.8 inches of snow so far this winter, compared to the average of just 9.5 inches for the November-January period.

As the big clean-up continues, NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Bob Shaw said most main roads in the area had been cleared and were in okay shape -- but many side roads still had packed snow, plowed or not, which makes travel difficult yet again for many on the High Desert.

Crook County officials on Tuesday declared a local emergency, due to residents trapped on unplowed private roads, A Deschutes County emergency operations center was opened in Bend to coordinate response to the snowfall, which triggered crashes and prompted a plea to stay off the roads.

Roads in the region, many still not clear of the weekend's snowfall, got a new layer Tuesday as it kept falling, at varying intensity, through the day

Crashes were reported before sunrise Tuesday on Highway 97 about six miles north of Bend and near Yew Avenue in Redmond. The one near Bend, reported around 6:30 a.m., closed the highway for over an hour, causing major traffic backups.

"Roadways are very slick," said Deschutes County sheriff's Sgt. Nathan Garibay, the agency's emergency services manager. He said travelers should "expect significant delays. Secondary roads are not good detours, so we ask people to stay home if possible and avoid travel through the area."

Tuesday morning, the Crook County Court approved an order declaring a local emergency due to the significant snow accumulation, the likelihood of more and potential dangers with flooding and other weather-related emergencies. They asked the state for National Guard to reopen non-county-maintained roads in places like Juniper Acres, where residents trapped by impassable privately maintained roads have called for help.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's office has been helping people who request evacuation. But they said they cannot deliver food and supplies, due to other demands on local resources.

All state offices in Deschutes County closed at 2 p.m. due to the snow.

Bend City Manager Eric King released non-emergency city personnel from work Tuesday and said area agencies were opening the Emergency Operations Center at 911 headquarters, to coordinate efforts due to the projected snowfall.

The Bend Park and Rec District closed all facilities at 1 p.m. Tuesday, including The Pavilion and Bend Senior Center, and cancelling all afternoon and evening programs. They expected a delayed opening Wednesday at 9 a.m., to provide time to clear streets and parking lots.

Redmond Parks and Rec facilities were closing early as well. 

Even Crater Lake National Park was closed due to the heavy snowfall.

Numerous Tuesday events were canceled around the region.

The St. Charles Immediate Care clinic at 2600 Neff Road stayed open late, until 8 p.m. to help relieve the Emergency Department’s patient load. Several clinics have curtailed hours; for more information, call 541-706-3700 or visit the St. Charles update page at https://www.stcharleshealthcare.org/Alert-Messages/Weather-Closures

Check the latest travel conditions at our ODOT TripCheck page. Air travelers should visit the Redmond Airport's flight status page; or check with your carrier before heading out.

Shaw said the region was seeing the snowiest start to winter in at least 20 years if not longer, back to the much-remembered winter of 1992-93.


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