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Falling trees claim 5 lives during Oregon's winter storm

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Quick PS
Dead or dying trees and branches are serious hazards on roadways during winter storms.

Recent winter storms have added another threat to drivers navigating Oregon roads: falling trees and branches.

Oregon State Police reported five people died, including a 4 year-old girl, in three separate crashes Tuesday— on U.S. 26 and Interstate 84— after falling trees struck passing vehicles.

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Alex Potemkin
A car is trapped under a fallen tree after a windstorm.

Matt Noble is with the Oregon Department of Transportation. He said inclement weather can cause a combination of threats to motorists.

“Strong winds have been knocking down more vulnerable trees, so that’s trees that are dead or dying. It’s been knocking down dead or dying branches,” he explained. “But also, from another hazard angle, all of the very heavy rain we’ve been having lately can make slopes less stable which can also make them prone to landslides as well.”

Noble said drivers should double check their route before leaving, drive slowly and if you encounter a tree in danger of falling—don’t approach it! Turn around safely and contact local authorities.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.