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Caution Urged As First Major Winter Storm Hits

Oregon Department of Transportation

A winter storm is bringing hazardous travel conditions to parts of Oregon this Thanksgiving week. The hardest-hit spots are the Cascades passes and I-5 in southwest Oregon. Some snow is also forecast to fall in the Willamette Valley, although accumulation should be no more than an inch or two in most places on the valley floor.

Angela Beers-Seydel is a Eugene-based public information officer for the Oregon Department of Transportation. She said drivers should use extra caution during this November snowstorm. “That first storm of the season is always the most exciting for people because we have to get that memory back of how to relate to the roads when they’re wet and snowy,” she said.

Beers-Seydel said you can check out road conditions before you leave the house by using ODOT’s website. And she said if you head out into the storm, you should remember to bring emergency supplies such as food, water, blankets and medications.

Drivers should also make sure they have tires that are capable of handling snow and ice, or pack chains. "If you aren't sure about the condition of your tires, check in with a tire store and have them take a look," said Beers-Seydel. "If you aren't sure about those chains, do the same. Make sure those chains are matched up with those tires."

Ultimately, the best option may be to delay the trip. "If you are going into a condition that you're not sure about, maybe you can wait," said Beers-Seydel. "Go when things are safer."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”