UPDATE: Highway 26 from Rhody to Milepost 72 reopens
Highway 26 was reopened after severe winter weather on Mount Hood halted ski resort operations and select school operations Tuesday morning, Jan. 4,
The roadway had been closed from milepost 45 near Rhododendron to milepost 62, past the connection with Highway 35. Highway 26 was reopened Tuesday afternoon, though officials warned to avoid traveling and to stay off dangerous roads as much as possible.
Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, SkiBowl, Welches Schools and Firwood Elementary School all announced weather-related closures Tuesday as well.
Oregon Department of Transportation representatives said Monday afternoon that "conditions remain hazardous with high winds, blowing snow and poor visibility."
"Winter conditions have also forced the closure of OR 35 from U.S. 26 north to the Hood River County line," representatives explained. "Dangerous winter driving conditions can be found in many areas around Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge with Interstate 84 closed from Troutdale to The Dalles."
Marketing VP for Meadows, Dave Tragethon noted Tuesday morning that part of the resort's decision to close came from the fact that "A good number of our team (and the majority of our guests) travel from the Sandy side and would not be able to get to the resort today. There's another 13 to 18 inches of snow with moderate winds forecast today."
"Our parking lots are SnoParks and plowed by ODOT plows — which have been focused (understandably) on the roads throughout the storm cycle," Tragethon explained. "We will have a limited crew today to plow our lots and dig out from the two and a half feet of snow we received in the last 24 hours, and to keep up with the new snow as it falls. We expect to return to our normal 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday operational schedule, depending on conditions and highway access. The storm could affect lift operations Wednesday, including the possibility of delayed openings."
Don Hamilton with ODOT said the delays with reopening the highway were related to the winter storm.
"We have a lot of problems with trees down on the road and with trees threatening the road, especially in the Warm Springs area," Hamilton explained. "We'll open it when we can safely reopen it."
For updated information on ski resort operations, visit the following sites:
For road condition and closure information, visit tripcheck.com/DynamicReports/Report/RoadConditions.
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