BEND, Ore. - Warmer temperatures and rain atop weeks of heavy snow has made for a higher risk of avalanches, and one snowslide blocked lanes of Highway 20 west of Santiam Pass for a time late Sunday afternoon.
The slide was reported shortly after 4 p.m. in the Hogg Rock area, a scene of frequent avalanches about two miles west of the Santiam Pass summit, according to ODOT's TripCheck site.
A photo shared by Ashley Meilahn on KTVZ's Facebook page showed the slide’s immediate aftermath, as some cars were getting by. Still, the summit pass camera showed a traffic backup shortly thereafter.
TripCheck indicated the slide was cleared the highway fully open in less than an hour.
Avalanche warnings were issued to the north for the Mt. Hood area and the Washington Cascades.
Meanwhile, the Bend area was dry Sunday, allowing more of the urban "snowpack" to melt, but accompanied by winds gusting past 30 mph at times.
A Pacific Power customer off Brookswood Boulevard in southwest Bend said their neighborhood near Rocking Horse and Buck Canyon roads lost power late Sunday afternoon.
Utility spokesman Ry Schwark said a tree fell through a primary line, reported at 4:12 p.m. But he said only 16 customers were affected. He said they expected to have power restored by 9 p.m., if not sooner, with a repair crew on the way or already on scene.
Informed of the relatively small outage, customer Becky Lindsey replied, "Gee, aren't we the lucky 16 that can't watch the game! Ugh. Just thrilled the temp isn't too bad and it's not snowing!'
In fact, Bend reached 50 degrees Sunday -- five degrees above average, after a long stretch where the area rarely got to average. Some more cooler temperatures and mixed showers are expected as the new work week begins, said NewsChannel 21's Alex Biston.