Fall leaves were still billowing to the ground when wintry conditions arrived this year.
About a half inch of snow fell on much of northeastern Oregon on Monday night. Some places, such as Ukiah, got hit with over an inch and a half of frozen precipitation.
“If anything happens in October it’s considered kind of early,” National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Weber said regarding snowfall in the region. “November is usually the start of our snow season.”
The brief blanket of white happened to coincide with Winter Weather Awareness Week. Weber said the week is meant to educate people about the importance of following safety precautions.
“We only issue an advisory when we’re sure the weather will have significant impact so that’s when it’s important that people don’t take chances,” Weber said.
Icy roads remain the most common safety issue in wintry weather, and unfortunately, the first snow was not without trouble. Police cited driving too fast on icy roads as the reason behind a single-car accident near milepost 238 on I-84.
According to ODOT public information officer Tom Strandberg, the conditions of the highway — not the speed limit — should dictate how fast people drive.
“When a crash is attributed to snow or ice, it usually has something to do with the driver maintaining control of the vehicle,” Strandberg said. “Slow down if you need to and don’t use your cruise control in the winter time.”
And in anticipation of the winter ahead, Strandberg said to look at road conditions on your routes at tripcheck.com.
According to Weber, there’s about a 20 percent chance of snow in Pendleton in the next few days. As for the next few weeks — “that’ll probably happen.”
Contact Natalie Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0825.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.