Travelers warned ahead of wintry weather

Graphic via National Weather Service Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. – You’ve likely heard wintry weather is about to hit Oregon, with the National Weather Service predicting the first widespread snowfall in “quite a while.” All mountain passes and possibly some valleys west of the cascades can expect snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

The weather pattern is prompting many officials to warn the public about traveling during the holidays. The NWS simply said you “might want to avoid traveling Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday.”

Oregon State Police are taking to social media reminding travelers about the danger of using your GPS while driving. They cited the tragic story of the James Kim family, who followed GPS directions onto a rural, snow-covered road in 2006. The family was stranded for days. James Kim left on foot to find help, but he was later found dead due to exposure. The rest of his family was rescued.

According to OSP, blindly following GPS directions can lead motorists into a dangerous situation during the winter. Travelers are urged to stay on maintained roads and highways. The following essentials should be in your vehicle while traveling:

Essential supplies include:
• Working flashlight and extra batteries;
• Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth;
• Compass;
• First Aid Kit;
• Exterior windshield cleaner;
• Ice scraper and snow brush;
• Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container;
• Scissors and string/cord;
• Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits and hard candy;
• Bottled water;
• Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack;
• Shovel;
• Jumper cables;
• Tow and tire chains;
• Bag of salt or cat litter; &
• Tool kit.

Added items for driving long distances in cold, snowy, and icy conditions:
• Gloves;
• Socks;
• Cap; &
• Blankets.

Before you head out, check the latest conditions at http://www.tripcheck.com.

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