County wakes up to heavy snowfall
Jefferson County, Central Oregon, and much of the state of Oregon woke up Monday encased in snow. Deep snow, in many cases. Heavy snow that started Sunday night and continued through mid-day Monday closed schools, many court and government services (except snow plowing), and made travel difficult if not treacherous.
A snow-free Tuesday morning-afternoon period allowed crews to to make good headway on clearing roads and lots, and private citizens to more completely dig out. However, more snow is expected.
A winter storm warming went out Tuesday afternoon, calling for additional snow to begin Tuesday and continue on and off through Thursday at 4 a.m. The storm is expected to add another five to 10 inches of snow to the Madras accumulation, which was already between 12 and 18 inches at many locations around the Madras basin — and drifts of substantially higher amounts.
After the Sunday-Monday blizzard, schools throughout Central Oregon, including Madras and Culver, were closed on Monday and Tuesday. Most remained closed on Tuesday. Several businesses in Madras chose not to open Monday, or applied shortened hours.
Around the Madras area, municipal snow removal equipment was busy from Sunday on, and private operators were in force clearing parking lots and driveways. Oregon Department of Transportation crews worked to keep the highways plowed.
While travel on Central Oregon roads and highways was slow and treacherous, U.S. Highway 20, near Santiam Pass, was closed due to an avalanche. The Redmond Airport was closed on Monday and Tuesday, as well.
This is the third winter in the last five years to see snow accumulations of well over a foot.
The weather forecast calls for sub-freezing temperatures through Wednesday, March 6, and snow showers Friday morning, Tuesday afternoon, March 5, and again on March 6. Temperatures are expected to warm to above freezing from March 7-14.