Strong storms arrive

ODOT logoTravelers throughout Northwest Oregon should be prepared for the season’s first heavy rains expected in the area beginning on Friday.

Weather forecasters are calling for moderate to heavy rain along with some winds, which will likely create problems for area travelers along the Oregon Coast, in the Willamette Valley and at the higher elevations of the Cascades.

Forecasters are predicting several strong storms that will challenge travelers including some of the first snow accumulation on the mountain passes. Motorists should be prepared for high water and flooding, and debris and leaves on area highways. Heavy rain often means limited visibility, reduced tire traction and less predictable handling for cars and bicycles.

Motorists planning to travel over the Cascade passes should carry chains and be prepared for adverse winter driving conditions.

Overall, drivers should slow down, allow more time to get where they’re going and allow for plenty of distance between cars, which need two or three times more stopping distance on wet roads.

Here are some tips:

  • If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.
  • Bicyclists and motorists alike need to beware of high water. For motorists, speeding through high water can mean losing control and loss of function to your brakes and power steering. For bicyclists, high water presents unseen dangers and loss of control.
  • Leaves and debris on the road will mean slick streets. ODOT crews have been clearing leaves and debris from the roadway, ditches and drains, but high winds could bring even more debris down from the trees and that will mean more standing water, slick streets and less traction.
  • Rain can reduce visibility. Motorists need to keep a sharp eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicyclists and pedestrians need to remember that cars can’t stop as quickly on rain-slicked streets.

High winds combined with saturated soils may also bring down trees and power lines. Motorists should be alert to changing driving conditions and plan on delays due to down trees or power lines.

Motorists should take the time now to make sure their vehicle is ready for hazardous conditions by:

 

  • Ensuring that the heater and defroster are working properly;
  • Testing all lights. Carry spare light bulbs;
  • Keeping wipers clean and in good condition; fill the windshield washer tank;
  • Making certain your battery is fully charged (also check battery age and make sure cables are not loose or corroded);
  • Ensuring your tires are in good condition and properly inflated for best traction, including your spare;
  • Keeping an automotive safety kit in your vehicle.

Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in heavy rain and windy conditions. Visit www.tripcheck.com or dial 511 for the latest information travel conditions and road closures.

 

McKenzie River Reflections

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.