City sanding roads, Cherriots suspends service as storm hits on Saturday

NOTE: This story will be updated as new information develops. We invite readers to send observations and photos to [email protected]. This report is being provided free as a community service.

UPDATE 11 a.m. Saturday: Salem airport closed

The Federal Aviation Administration has closed all air operations at Salem Municipal Airport, city spokesman Trevor Smith said. That means no flights can take off or land.

Avelo Airlines, the airport’s only commercial carrier, had no flights scheduled Saturday.

UPDATE: 10 a.m. Saturday Bus service suspended, city sanding major roads

Salem’s roads are coated with snow and ice, making for slippery driving. Conditions won’t improve during the day, said Trevor Smith, city spokesman.

Cherriots suspended all service Saturday for its bus routes, and is conducting “life-sustaining trips only” on LIFT, its paratransit service, the agency said in an alert. The transit service intends to resume routes Sunday “when it is safe to do so.”

Public works crews are putting sand down on Salem’s primary and secondary snow plow routes, with 10 vehicles working all night, he said. “Deicer hasn’t been applied because it won’t be effective on hardpack frozen,” Smith said.

Residential streets won’t be treated. Crews will continue to work 24 hours for the next few days.

“No extra roads have been closed beyond the handful of neighborhood steep hills that we close before every storm,” Smith said. Roads are passable with traction tires, chains or 4-wheel drive, but the city is recommending people stay off roadways if possible and use extreme caution on sidewalks and while outside.

Snow surrounds the Oregon Capitol the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 (Abbey McDonald/Salem Reporter)
Snow and ice on Northeast 17th Street during a winter storm on Saturday, Jan. 13 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

UPDATE: 8 a.m. Saturday

Light freezing rain started falling in Salem about 6 a.m. with a wind gust recorded at McNary Field of 21 mph about 7:30 a.m.


Salem is forecast to get a mix of snow and freezing rain through Saturday, but how much depends on the movement of a weather system.

The city got light snow overnight as the temperature dropped below freezing just as the evening commute started. The National Weather Service reports light snow ended about 1 a.m. and the temperature at 5 a.m. had dropped to 19.

The weather service issued a revised winter storm warning early Saturday.

The Salem area should expect “heavy mixed precipitation” with “snow accumulations of 1 to 5 inches” and “ice accumulations a quarter to a half of an inch,” according to the warning.

The weather service reported winds of 15 mph overnight and that will continue Saturday with gusts to 35 mph.

The weather service forecast that the “highest ice accumulations expected east of the I-5 corridor, while the heaviest snow accumulations will be to the west closer to the Coast Range.”

The National Weather Service issued this forecast for accumulations through Saturday, Jan. 13.

Traffic cameras in the Salem area showed light snow in area roadways early Saturday.

The weather service forecast a high of 30 for Sunday, Jan. 14 – and partly sunny.


The storm has triggered a number of cancellations and closures.

The Salem Family YMCA and Gilbert House Children’s Museum are closed Saturday.

Chemeketa Community College said all its campuses would be closed Saturday and Sunday and that “all in-person and remote classes, activities, work and events are canceled.”

The Salem Public Library and Center 50+ earlier announced they would be closed Saturday, and the Salem-Keizer School District has closed all facilities and canceled activities for Saturday.

The Oregon Humane Society said its Salem facility would be closed Saturday. “All classes and appointments will be rescheduled,” the organization announced.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said in a statement at 4 a.m. Saturday that northbound Interstate 5 was closed about 12 miles north of Eugene because of a truck crash. The agency said just before 8 a.m. that the crash had been cleared and the freeway reopened.

Snow covers a garden bed in northeast Salem during a winter storm on Saturday, Jan. 13 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Key links

Road conditions: Tripcheck and City of Salem road updates

Warming shelters: What’s open and when

Weather forecast: National Weather Service


As the storm develops, we encourage you to share information and photos with Salem Reporter: [email protected].

A car window in northeast Salem covered in ice during a winter storm on Saturday, Jan. 13 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)
Snow on the Willamette University campus on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 (Abbey McDonald/Salem Reporter)


The news team at Salem Reporter is monitoring conditions and will provide useful updates as warranted.

STORY TIP OR IDEA? Send an email to Salem Reporter’s news team: [email protected].

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Les Zaitz is editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. He co-founded the news organization in 2018. He has been a journalist in Oregon for nearly 50 years in both daily and community newspapers and digital news services. He is nationally recognized for his commitment to local journalism. He also is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.