Expect icy road conditions as temperatures drop back below freezing

Melting snow will freeze into ice as temperatures drop back down below freezing Thursday evening. (SBG)


EUGENE, Ore. - Melting snow will freeze into ice as temperatures drop back down below freezing Thursday evening.

“The snow that we started with this morning has quickly turned to slush in many areas and is in danger of becoming icy with the low temperatures predicted for tonight,” said Orin Schumacher, Lane County Road Maintenance Manager. “Outlying county roads especially can become icy when temperatures drop because they tend to be higher in elevation than the metro area.”

CAMERAS | Beltline | Interstate 5 | Mountain Passes

Lane County road crews put deicer on roads earlier this week in an effort to minimize the impact of snow and ice.

That only works for so long.

“Deicer is a great tool, but it becomes risky at lower temperatures when it might freeze and add to the ice already on roads,” said Schumacher.

Crews went to work plowing and sanding priority roads on Thursday, including major roads like Delta Highway and Lorane and Marcola roads, the county said.

The day started early for the City of Eugene, too.

Daymon Joyner, the road maintenance supervisor, got called out at 12:45 a.m. Thursday.

"By one o'clock, we had a covering starting to build in the hills," he said.

The City of Eugene put four trucks with plows and sand out on the streets, with a fifth truck on standby.

"The vast majority of the accumulating snow is in the upper elevations and we are up on those upper elevations where we are plowing and sanding," Joyner said.

Lane County had units all over the place, from Cottage Grove to Oakridge to Coburg. More than a dozen rigs worked the roads - and they'll be ready to put sand down Thursday night if roads ice back up.

Still, drivers need to use caution - especially as temperatures drop back below freezing Thursday night into Friday morning.

"If you are in traffic, allow extra following room, extra stopping distance, use extreme caution," Joyner said.

“We want people to be more aware of their surroundings, especially if they’re traveling on rural roads,” said Schumacher. “Drive a little slower and put the safety of you and your passengers, as well as everyone else on the road, first.”

What about Friday morning? Some forcasts put the overnight low at 17 F.

"If you wake up and those roads look wet and it's that cold," Schumacher said, "it's probably ice, so take it slow."

Lane County offered these winter driving tips

Pay attention to the weather. Check your local forecast before leaving and keep an eye on the temperature.

Stay home if you can. If possible avoid icy conditions altogether.

Change your route. Choose a route that avoids steep climbs or descents.

Slow down. Vehicles, even with AWD and traction tires, can still slide. High speeds increase your chance of losing control and make it difficult to stop.

Go easy on your brakes. Braking hard can cause vehicles to slide on icy roads and increase the risk of a collision.

Wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts should be worn at all times when you are in a moving vehicle.

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