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Rain atop snow begins C.O.'s battle with slush

Urban, small stream flood advisory until Thurs. AM

Warmer weather creating slushy roads

BEND, Ore. - Wednesday's rain and warmer temperatures have begun to eat away at the huge berms of snow nature and Central Oregonians have piled up across much of the High Desert -- but also created lots of slush on streets that can be even harder to navigate than a snow-packed road.

Local government agencies' roads update at 1 p.m. Wednesday began with that topic: "Slush management":

The warm weather is helping Bend's and Redmond's Public Works clearing the slush off the streets. Street-clearing equipment in the region is out clearing slush on roadways in an efficient, targeted effort that prioritizes problem areas.

Crews are also assisting with catch basin clearing and flooding issues in priority areas. In Bend, 11,093 storm drains and catch basins must be cleared to allow snow melt runoff.

After storms, both cities typically prioritize clearing all arterials and collectors and problem areas. Over the past weeks, the snow has been scraped and packed down on the streets. Now, with this warm, wet weather, that packed snow is churning into deep and cumbersome slush.

Plowing all streets would push heavy ice berms across driveways, mailboxes, and hydrants that would be very problematic for people, officials said.

"Therefore, we are working with the warmer temperatures and rain to help the roads melt and drain," said Bend Streets and Operations Department Director David Abbas.

The idea is to let Mother Nature help with the road clearing process Wednesday, for the most part, and address problematic areas. Street crews are handling the problem areas, where streets and intersections are making people get stuck or creating dangerous situations.

ODOT is also facing some problems of their own.

"We're on basically a 24-hour a day schedule," ODOT Public Information Officer Peter Murphy said Wednesday. "We had to back off a little bit to give some people some rest. I mean, we've tapped our crews completely. We're working on Highway 97 -- you know, that's kind of a priority through the center of the state, so we keep that open."

The city of Bend has all of its available equipment working -- about 18 pieces of equipment.

Nevertheless, Bend-La Pine Schools texted Wednesday afternoon: "We anticipate significant delays tonight for bus routes traveling across unplowed roads. We apologize for the inconvenience."

The National Weather Service in Portland extended its urban and small stream flood advisory for the Bend-Redmond area until 4:15 a.m. Thursday.

Forecasters noted "numerous streets and intersections in Bend have high water or water flowing through them. There is also some minor street flooding in Redmond."

However, they added, "Only a small amount of rain is expected overnight, with the water expected to recede by morning."

The city of Redmond had five graders out Wednesday, focused on clearing ice berms and potentially problematic areas from residential streets and intersections.

If you know of an area that is causing vehicles to get stuck, you can report it and the information will be helpful in directing our limited resources to the most pressing locations.

Bend Streets and Operations 541-317-3000 X3

Redmond: streets@ci.redmond.or.us or call Public Works 541-504-2000

For a map showing places to avoid, visit www.deschutes.org/highwater . This interactive map shows streets and intersections experiencing high water that residents may want to avoid. Local flood impacted areas and road closure information will be added to the map if they occur.


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