MEDFORD, Ore. — The most recent snow storm, which most people will remember, hit our area in 2008.
The snow, up to four inches, reached the valley floor in late January, cancelled school for almost everyone. Some kids enjoyed several snow days in a row. Phoenix – Talent was the only district which didn’t cancel school.
While the passes were chaotic and dangerous, Highway 140 and the Klamath Basin saw the worst of the snow storm. White-out conditions had crews out 24/7, and Highway 97 was all but deserted. At the time, many in Klamath Falls said they were grateful the snow was light, unlike a storm from the 1990′s, which dropped so much heavy snow people were shoveling their roofs to keep them from caving in.
While that storm was obviously cold, it didn’t freeze the Rogue River. The last time the river froze over was in 1972; it got so cold that year the mills in White City nearly shut down completely, because not only did the logs freeze into huge wooden ice cubes, but so did the lubricating fluids inside their machines.
Ten years earlier, people were walking across the Rogue when a deep freeze set in during December of 1962. It froze over near Gold Hill. Massive chunks of ice floated down river only to pile up and refreeze.
That was nothing compared to the winter that spanned 1948 and 1949, when the deep blue jewel of Southern Oregon froze over. By mid-February 1949, for one of the only times in recorded history, Crater Lake was frozen from shore to shore.
That year, people even walked across the ice to Wizard Island. Due to Crater Lake’s depth, a maximum of nearly 2,000 feet, it creates its own heat reservoir, ultimately keeping the surface water from freezing.