It’s only been a week since summer ended and snow is in the forecast.
Starting late Friday night through the weekend, up to 2 inches of snow is expected to fall across Central Oregon, according to the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.
Even more snow — up to 2 inches a day Saturday and Sunday — could accumulate at Mt. Bachelor.
The snowfall is expected to taper off Monday, but commuters will wake up Monday to snow from the weekend storm. By Tuesday, any snow in the cities will start melting, said Ann Adams, meteorologist with the weather service.
“Once the system moves out, snow might stick for a day and that after that it’s probably going to evaporate,” Adams said. “During the daytime, it will warm up enough to get rid of that snow.”
The heaviest snowfall will be west of Bend and in the La Pine and Sunriver areas, Adams said.
The snow prompted weather service officials and the Oregon Department of Transportation to warn residents that hazardous travel conditions will exist on mountain passes, where roads will be slick and visibility will be poor.
“It’s probably going to make driving a little harried,” Adams said, “especially Sunday night, when people are heading back from their weekend. They need to be extra cautious.”
Peter Murphy, ODOT spokesman, said crews are loading de-icer on trucks and preparing snow removal equipment ahead of the snow storm.
“We know there is going to be a challenge, and we are gearing up for it,” Murphy said.
Despite the inclement weather this weekend, studded tires are not allowed on vehicles until the usual date of Nov. 1, Murphy said.
Travelers are asked to anticipate hazardous conditions on the mountain passes, and drive slowly.
City of Bend officials are encouraging residents to find their snow tires, and snow shovels and rakes in preparation for the storm. To help snow plows get close to the street curbs, city officials are asking people to cut back their trees and shrubs that may have overgrown onto the street.
Snowfall in September is extremely rare, but possible, in Central Oregon.
The earliest recorded snowfall in Bend was an inch and a half that fell Sept. 24, 1934, according to weather service records that date back to 1901. The earliest measurable snowfall for Redmond was Oct. 18. 1949, according to the data.
Snowfall is usually never recorded in September, and only a quarter of an inch is the average in October, Adams said.
“It’s not that normal,” she said. “But it can happen.”
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