With an ice storm warning now extending throughout the day Sunday and road closures throughout the Pacific Northwest this is a weekend to avoid any travel that is not absolutely necessary.
That is not just my opinion, it is the official word from public safety officials throughout the state. As The Oregonian has been reporting – and regularly updating on its home page – the severe weather gripping much of Oregon and Washington State poses a real threat to anyone out on the roads.
These warnings do not only apply to well-known danger zones, like the stretch of interstate in Eastern Oregon known as Cabbage Hill. According to the newspaper, local leaders in both Portland and Beaverton are urging everyone to “just stay home.” Portions of I-5 were closed at this writing. Roads and sidewalks are icy, Portland’s streetcars are not running and Tri-Met is “no longer reliable” according to city transportation officials quoted by the newspaper.
If you must go out, please use the link at the bottom of this page to visit the Oregon Department of Transportation’s “Trip Check” page for the latest information regarding dangerous driving conditions and road closures.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am a Portland car crash victims’ lawyer, but I write today as a concerned Portlander. The worst of the storm we are now experiencing was originally supposed to pass during the overnight hours but on Saturday evening the National Weather Service extended its ice storm warning out to 10pm on Sunday evening.
The more important point, however, is that when that deadline finally does pass it does not mean everything is going to be safe outside, but only, rather, that the worst-of-the-worst is over. Even with the best efforts of city and state officials road conditions are likely to remain treacherous for several days. Indeed, one of the most dangerous travel times in situations like this is immediately after the official weather warnings are lifted. Too often we assume that the end of a weather warning means that all is well when, in fact, the roads remain slick and treacherous. This is a time to be careful – not only on Sunday but as the Monday morning commute approaches as well.