UMASAR In Action
Blizzard Response 01/02/2022
UMASAR personnel responded to numerous calls for assistance from motorists stranded in their vehicles by blizzard conditions that hit the north county area on the evening of January 2. Most of the calls were in the vicinity of Milton Freewater. By the time UMASAR personnel had assembled at the "SAR Barn" in Pendleton the blizzard was in full force with winds gusting over 55 mph. The state DOT had already closed Highway 11, the main route from Pendleton to Milton.
A state snow plow met SAR units just north of Pendleton and plowed a single lane through the rapidly drifting snow so the SAR units could get through to Milton. Just prior to arriving at Milton the snowplow became stuck. However, SAR units were able to force their way around the disabled plow and arrived at Milton prior to midnight.
SAR units spent all night responding to calls for assistance using the UMASAR tracked UTV. Operations were concluded by mid morning. However, a large tow truck had become disabled trying to free the snowplow, completely closing Highway 11. SAR personnel were forced to drive the long way home via Highway 730, arriving back at Pendleton around noon.