LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ore. — Fall is barely a month old and suddenly it’s starting to look a little like winter, especially in the high country of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Several inches of snow covered the ground at Crater Lake and Mt. Ashland, and some passes have had a dusting and freezing ice on the pavement.
Anyone driving between Klamath Falls and Medford on Highway 140 may find the roads a little slick and icy this week. Lake of the Woods summit is about 5,000 feet, just high enough to pick up a couple inches of snow on the pavement and roadside. State highway plows were plowing and sanding the pavement, and then washing off the slushy residue.
“No, it’s not bad. Little slick first thing in the morning. But after that the sun will come out and it’ll melt off and be down to bare pavement and good traveling,” said ODOT Snowplow Operator Vince Karr.
Karr says he’s removing the snow from the plow so it won’t mess up the shop area when the truck goes in for service. Not only does the first snow of the season mean that drivers need to take extra care out on t he highway, and that state highway crews have new work to do.
It also means that resort owners have to start getting ready for winter guests; like across the road at Lake of the Woods resort where the first snow of winter has skiers and snow-mobilers getting anxious for the winter season ahead.
“The ski clubs were up this week, checking out the shelter and stocking it with wood; and uh, the Klamath Snowmobile club gets our new Snowcat up here, I think , around the 10th of November,” said George Gregory with Lake of the Woods Resort.
Gregory says the new Snowcat belongs to the Oregon State Snowmobile Association and is a 2012 model that can be used to groom trails for snow-mobilers. This week is winter weather awareness week in the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service is working with meteorologists around the region to post notices about how to make the transition to winter-like weather.