The snow hitting across the Northwest was causing havoc for travelers by road and by air. Travelers (or would-be travelers) at Roberts Field reported the airport closed Friday night, and a glance at the online flight status at http://www.flyrdm.com/?Flight-Status showed numerous flights canceled.
Chris Piper, a Bend resident who flew home from San Francisco Friday night via Seattle, said "if there was an Olympic "aviation snow landing category, our Alaska pilot would have received the gold medal!"
The airport had hoped to open by Saturday afternoon, but the snow wouldn't quit, so RDM remained shut, hoping now for a Sunday morning return to service (though the terminal remained open.)
Acting early, on Thursday night, Jefferson County and Culver schools canceled classes for Friday, while Redmond schools decided early Friday to delay classes by two hours.
As heavy snow again fell Friday afternoon, causing a rash of crashes, COCC announced for a second day that its campuses would close around the region at 5:30 p.m., as did OSU-Cascades.
Central Christian School in Redmond also decided to close for the day.
As the plows and shovels worked to clear snow Friday came word of more impacts on the High Desert. The Waldorf School of Bend announced an early, 1:30 p.m. release for all students, while the Sunriver Nature Center canceled a Friday night lecture, "Dead Fish Don't Lie II."
Wells Fargo was closing most of its Oregon branches at 2 p.m. Friday.
The Oregon DMV also limited its operations around the state, including no drive tests Friday in Madras or Redmond and no commercial drivers license tests in Bend, as well as traction tires required on all Class C drives. Prineville also had no drive tests but was reassessing for the afternoon.
Also, the Bend Boys & Girls Club has canceled its planned Fine Arts Event tonight due to the amount of expected snow.
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The U.S. Postal Service in Bend reported it was operating on normal routes and schedules Friday, but asked customers to please clear the path to mailboxes, so they can try to stay on schedule.
Mt. Bachelor reported six inches of new snow overnight and a 24-hour tally of eight inches, with it still coming down hard. On its much-delayed but warmly welcomed opening day, Hoodoo reported just over six inches of new snow in 24 hours for a 33-inch depth.
Before roads began to get slick around Bend, Thursday's worst troubles were in the Willamette Valley, where snowfall contributed to a 25-vehicle pileup and huge traffic jam on Interstate 5 north of Albany. Offices and schools were closing down -- so did the Oregon Legislature.
"It looks like its kind of a normal winter storm, which at this point kind of everybody is waiting to have," ODOT Spokesman Peter Murphy said Wednesday. "It's the kind of thing we're prepared for all the time, so we're ready for it."
Murphy added that snow plow drivers and other ODOT employees will be working an extra four hours a day to keep the highways clear.
"We have crews that are on schedule for basically 12 hours for a shift, so we have the whole day covered," Murphy said.
Here's Thursday's ODOT travel advisory:
Motorists should prepare to use extreme caution as heavy winter weather may make for treacherous highway conditions in the Central Oregon area for the duration of this week.
Travelers to the Willamette Valley should prepare for significant snowfall in the Cascades, and snow and possible freezing rain and high winds in the Valley, Metro area and Columbia Gorge.
Motorists should stay up to date on the weather forecast and make sure to get safely situated before bad weather hits. This is especially true for storms forecast to hit near the end of the school day or the start of commute times.
Here are some winter driving tips for travelers:
If roads get icy, consider not driving or delaying your trip until the weather warms and the ice thaws.
Driving in ice or snow, allow plenty of stopping distance in case you or the car ahead lose control and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists because stopping distances are so much longer.
ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can't clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated.
Consider working from home or taking the day off until the roads are clear.
Don't abandon a vehicle in heavy traffic. This delays emergency responders, prevents plows and other maintenance equipment from getting through. Remain with your vehicle and call for help. If you leave your car, it could get towed.
With the latest storm moving through, it's good to remember to clear your sidewalks or snow. The City of Bend requires you to clear the sidewalks 24 hours after the snow has fallen.