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Most C.O. schools on 2-hr. delay; 509-J closed


(Update:Updated school delays; 509-J schools now closed; RDM set to reopen; crashes reported)

A slick mix of snow and freezing rain hit much of the High Desert Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, glazing roads, halting all flights at Redmond Municipal Airport overnight and putting most Central Oregon schools on a two-hour delay, though some decided to close.

Airport officials said operations would resume at 9 a..m. Thursday. But amid more flight delays or cancellations, they advised travelers to check the Redmond airport website’s flight status page before heading to the airport.

The Bend-La Pine, Redmond, Jefferson County 509-J and Crook County schools, as well as Culver and Fossil, were among the many on a two-hour delay Thursday morning, while Sisters schools said they were operating on a normal schedule.

Jefferson County schools later decided to close for the day.

The COCC campus in Bend was reopening at 9:30 a.m. and classes will begin at 10 a.m., as well as OSU-Cascades.

Three Rivers, Seven Peaks, Three Sisters Adventist Christian, Desert Sky Montessori, Morning Star, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Academy and Cascades Academy are all on a 2-hour delay.

The Waldorf School of Bend is on a 2-hour delay. The early childhood morning classes are canceled. Samara Day School also is on a 2-hour delay.

Central Christian School in Redmond is closed.

If you child attends a private school, be aware that most schools follow the local school district’s decisions. Check with your school and the district if you are unsure.

All NeighborImpact Head Start morning classes were canceled and full-day classes were on a 2-hour delay.

All Mosaic Medical clinics around the region also were opening late, at 10 a.m.

Fog also moved into many areas overnight but began to lift after sunrise in the Bend area.

Several crashes were reported, one involving two vehicles that closed the northbound lanes of Highway 97 five miles south of Redmond. A southbound lane also was shut, and another crash closed Highway 126 two miles east of Powell Butte; ODOT said a detour was in place.

Highway 97 later was cleared, but a rollover crash was reported on Highway 20 five miles west of Sisters, though there was no initial word it was causing anyd blockage.

Check our TripCheck page for the latest updates.

Freezing rain at RDM led to the decision to halt arriving and departing aircraft around 7:30 p.m Wednesday night.

They had hoped to reopen later in the night, but that was not possible, according to airport Operations Supervisor Ben Wolfe, who said they plan to resume operations Thursday morning, but travelers should check online before heading out..

Check flight status updates here.

Airport Director Zachary Bass told NewsChannel 21 the airport laid down more than $10,000 worth of de-icing chemicals leading up to the decision to close the airport, but it was not effective. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for much of the region until 4 a.m., then extended it until 10 a.m., warning of icy roads due to freezing rain and mixed showers.

Showers had tapered off under cloudy skies by 9 p.m. at the Bend, Redmond and Prineville airports, while the Madras Airport reported mixed precipitation atn 28 degrees.

The problems weren’t limited to the High Desert, as crashes were reported late Wednesday on Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge due to freezing rain and slow. Check our TripCheck page for traffic updates.

NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Bob Shaw said storm activity pressing northward out of California will bring gusty winds to the High Desert. He also said there’s a good chance snow will mix with rain again Thursday night as lows dip to or below freezing, meaning poor driving conditions again Friday morning.

But he said Mt. Bachelor expects 3-7 inches of wind-driven snow over the next day or so, and another foot or two by Sunday night. Get more details on our weather page.

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