By Dylan J. Darling
Snow walloped Central Oregon Friday, and more is on the way this weekend.
National Weather Service forecasters said there is a 100 percent chance of snow in Bend today. It’s the second day in a row they’ve made such a confident prediction. They were right Friday, when snow fell throughout much of the day.
The Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Friday. The warning started at 1 p.m. Friday and lasts until 10 p.m. today, said Diana Hayden, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Pendleton.
Hayden said Friday afternoon that a snowstorm, fueled by moisture off the Pacific Ocean, had pretty much parked over Central Oregon.
“It’s very, very slow moving,” she said.
Before the storm is gone, it will likely have dropped another 3 to 7 inches of snow in Bend and 9 to 18 inches of snow in the Cascades, on top of the snowfall from earlier this week.
The heavy snowfall is making for true winter driving conditions throughout Central Oregon. As of Friday afternoon Peter Murphy, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said there hadn’t been any serious wrecks in Central Oregon despite the snowy weather.
“So far we have been very fortunate,” he said.
More snow is coming this weekend and Murphy said anyone out driving should drive more slowly than they do when roads and skies are clear.
“It’s really important that we drive for the conditions,” he said, “‘Drive for the environment’ is what I like to say.”
And the kind of car or truck you drive, or how it is equipped, doesn’t change his advice.
“Just because you have a four-wheel-drive (vehicle) doesn’t mean you can stop faster,” Murphy said.
If possible, he said people should avoid highway travel this weekend around Central Oregon.
Another storm is expected to roll in from the west later this weekend, but it may bring rain or a mix of rain and snow rather than snow to Bend and other towns in Central Oregon. More snow is expected in the mountains.
Yet another band of moisture should move through Tuesday and more storms are likely later next week.
“We are going to be pretty active,” Hayden said.
The string of storms comes after a dry January that brought drought concerns in Central Oregon and around the state. Among those happy to see all the snow are ski hill owners and operators, particularly Hoodoo Ski Area west of Sisters.
After not having enough snow for the first two months of its typical ski season, Hoodoo opened Friday. The chilly storm earlier this week coated the runs with snow prime for skiing and snowboarding.
“It’s a lot of powder,” said Leif Williams, Hoodoo spokesman.
Due to the low snow earlier this ski season, Hoodoo did reschedule its annual Winter Carnival, which had been planned for today. Williams said the carnival, which features a day of games, live music and a barbecue, is now set for March 1.
— Reporter Shelby R. King contributed to this report. Reporter: 541-617-7812, firstname.lastname@example.org