ODOT: 80 mph winds, blizzard-like conditions in eastern Oregon; drivers urged to stay off Interstate

Posted at 1:18 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 15:18:17-05

The westbound lanes of Interstate 84 remain closed in Ontario due to freezing rain, snow, high winds and zero visibility between Baker City and Portland, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Travelers in Idaho are encouraged to stay off I-84 and not continue towards Ontario.

The westbound freeway is closed at Troutdale (MP 17), ODOT officials said.

Alternate routes are not recommended -- as severe weather and road conditions are widespread across central and eastern Oregon.

“There are no safe truck parking areas left in Ontario and drivers are encouraged to stay where they are and not continue westbound toward Ontario,” an ODOT news release stated.

Drivers are warned they may have to turn back. Hotels are filling up –- and some are full -- in the Ontario area.

“Based on the weather forecast and current conditions, this is anticipated to be a long-term closure,” the release stated. “We know this is frustrating for travelers and commercial haulers, but this severe storm has already contributed to numerous crashes and trailers blown over.”

Wind gusts are reported in some areas at 80 mph. Blowing snow is creating blizzard-like conditions. Ice, snow and the high winds are impacting numerous highways.

Most state routes have been closed in Union and Umatilla Counties.

Other highways are also shut down.

Drivers are urged to continue to check for updates.