With wintry weather in the forecast for this weekend, many a Canbyite is dreaming of a white Christmas. But officials are urging caution to help ensure it doesn’t become a nightmare.
Multnomah County commissioners on Thursday declared a state of emergency due to the predicted prolonged stretch of freezing temperatures and snow. And while Clackamas has yet to follow suit, warming centers are open throughout the county to provide refuge from the cold.
The National Weather Service has issued multiple winter storm watches, warnings and winter weather advisories throughout Oregon and, later Thursday, Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide emergency declaration, saying the predicted heavy snow and below-freezing temperatures may result in “critical transportation failures and disruptions to power and communications infrastructure.”
“Our state has experienced a number of climate-related emergencies this year, and with another coming, I urge all Oregonians to make a plan with your family now and be prepared,” said Brown.
“Winter storms mean increased risk for those traveling as well as those staying home for the holidays. Check on your neighbors and loved ones when you can do so safely. If road conditions worsen, please help our first responders by staying home when possible.”
The declaration activates the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon National Guard, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Oregon Public Utility Commission and other state agencies to provide any assistance that is deemed necessary in the response.
County officials are particularly warning motorists to expect treacherous roads, especially in the mountains. County roads on Mount Hood and in the foothills are very narrow.
Residents are urged not to park on the side of county roads for snow-related activities. Doing so can inhibit crews from plowing the road or block emergency services from getting to the people who need it most.
“Snow is expected to fall faster than we can plow it,” Clackamas County officials said in a news release Thursday. “We cannot be everywhere at once. Please do not drive down unfamiliar roads in the snow. It may be covered in deep snow. That puts you at risk for getting stuck and stranded.”
Officials recommend that you avoid driving in snow or icy conditions if possible, but if you must, pack an emergency kit with all the essentials in case you do get stuck and follow these tips for driving safely in the snow.
Clackamas County road crews will begin operating 24 hours a day starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, December 25. They will focus snow removal efforts in areas that serve routes to emergency services first.
Residents can report road concerns online.
Warming shelters will be open throughout Clackamas County when the temperatures drop below 33 degrees. Shelters are available during the day and night. Dial 211 or visit 211.info or our website for locations.
Do not use outdoor heaters, barbecue grills or your oven to heat the inside of your home.
Officials also remind to check on your neighbors, and practice self-care. Cold weather can lead to frostbite, other health issues and even death. Many people die each year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow. Pace yourself and get your neighbors involved.
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