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'Bomb cyclone' prompts closures on I-5 in Northern California, several Oregon highways

The effects of dropping snow levels and high winds are causing widespread and ongoing complications on our local roadways.

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 12:09 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2019 10:50 AM

YREKA, Calif. —

UPDATE: ODOT says Interstate 5 southbound at Ashland is open. Chains required all vehicles except 4x4s, unless towing. Expect slow-moving traffic and congestion until the back-up clears. Drive to the conditions. Expect winter driving conditions. Caltrans reports northbound Interstate 5 is still closed north of Redding to Yreka.

(Updated 11/27/19 at 8 a.m.)


UPDATE: ODOT says Oregon 138E, 62 and 230 are again open after blizzard conditions yesterday and last night. Be prepared for winter weather travel. Chains required on all vehicles, except 4x4s unless towing.

ODOT says southbound US97 at Oregon - California border is open, though northbound US97 remains closed.

(Updated 11/27/19 at 7:45 a.m.)


UPDATE: ODOT says that Oregon 255 Carpenterville Highway is now open. The highway had been closed earlier today after high winds knocked down trees and power lines in the Brookings area.

This morning I-5 northbound is still closed to traffic at Fawndale Road just north of Redding due to heavy snow. Highway 138 is closed east of Roseburg due to blizzard conditions. Highway 62 and 230 are closed from Prospect north to Diamond Lake Junction due to white-out conditions. '

I-5 southbound is closed at exit 11 near Ashland due to low visibility and blizzard conditions.


UPDATE: ODOT says travel "remains treacherous" and is not advised through the night — either along the I-5 corrider or southwest Oregon's other interior highways.

"Several highways are closed due to either blizzard conditions and downed trees," the agency said.

As of 4:20 p.m., Caltrans said that I-5 northbound was still closed to traffic at Fawndale Road just north of Redding due to heavy snow. Shortly after 6 p.m., the agency closed I-5 southbound to traffic three miles north of Weed at Edgewood.

ODOT reiterated that Highway 138 had been closed east of Roseburg due to blizzard conditions, Highway 62 and 230 were closed from Prospect north to Diamond Lake Junction due to white-out conditions, and Carpenterville Highway in Curry County was closed due to downed trees.

Chains were required both northbound and southbound on the I-5 through Siskiyou Summit.

"Oregon Highways 38, 42, 42S and U.S. 101 are also reporting either downed trees or power lines, though all remain open to at least a single lane as of Tuesday afternoon," ODOT said.

"Be prepared for wind, low visibility and poor winter driving conditions until the storm passes," the agency continued. "Motorists are urged to drive to the conditions as there have been numerous spin-outs and crashes."

Caltrans echoed the sentiment, saying that travel was not advised in Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, or Modoc counties.

"Caltrans District 2 crews and California Highway Patrol Officers are out in every area of the north state working to clear the roadway during the first major storm of the season," the agency said. "Expect delays and closures."

(Updated 11/26/19 at 6:30 p.m.)


UPDATE: Caltrans says that I-5 northbound has been closed at South Dunsmuir due to "multiple vehicle spin-outs and winter weather conditions." Crews were on the scene to continue snow removal operations, but the agency later extended the closure down to Fawndale, 10 miles north of Redding.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said that Carpenterville Highway (OR 255) was closed north of Brookings due to downed trees and power lines. Drivers were advised to use alternate routes.

ODOT later added that Highway 138 was closed east of Roseburg at Toketee Falls until the junction with Highway 97, while Highway 62 and Highway 230 were closed at Prospect through Union Creek to Diamond Lake Junction — both due to "zero visibility and blizzard conditions." There was no estimated time for reopening.

(Updated 11/26/19 at 3 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: As a storm heralded as "historically strong" made its presence felt in Southern Oregon and Northern California, road conditions were already suffering by noon on Tuesday.

Caltrans said that chain controls were being put into effect along I-5 north of Yreka. The restriction covers all vehicles except those with four-wheel drive, unless they are towing a trailer. Chain requirements begin southbound from Ashland and heading northbound from Yreka toward Anderson Grade.

"Check road conditions often as conditions may change quickly," the agency said. "Make sure you have chains if you're planning to travel in higher elevations."

Cameras along I-5 between Ashland and Yreka and at the Siskiyou Summit showed quickly deteriorating road conditions, with snow sticking to the ground and visibility often obscured. Major traffic backups were reported from the summit south into Yreka.

"Be prepared for wind, low visibility and otherwise winter driving conditions when traveling on I-5 corridor in southwest Oregon and northern California," the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

California Highway Patrol warned drivers to stay at least 300 feet behind snow plows as they worked to clear the roadways.

"Unless you like your car being pelted with salt or cinders," the agency said. "In that case, still stay 300 feet back."

The Sexton Summit north of Grants Pass showed similarly difficult conditions with reduced visibility and snow on the roadway, although perhaps not to the same extent as the southern pass.

Chains were also required for Highway 138 between Roseburg and Diamond Lake. Traction tires were allowed in place of chains on vehicles under 10,000 pounds and not towing. Vehicles towing were required to use chains.

This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 174501

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34800568
Washington23412229
Marion20116299
Clackamas15311204
Lane11554144
Jackson9904127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes708272
Linn414263
Yamhill408775
Klamath345259
Polk342952
Malheur342758
Josephine305462
Douglas304365
Benton273218
Jefferson206432
Coos196831
Columbia153826
Union141124
Lincoln129820
Wasco128928
Hood River112429
Morrow107915
Clatsop8918
Crook87819
Baker85614
Curry5939
Tillamook5803
Lake4137
Grant4064
Harney3056
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3716579

Reported Deaths: 60994
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122864123628
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2945774550
San Diego2748113674
Orange2688694891
Santa Clara1169712013
Kern1078251322
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1005001643
Alameda852561477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66927782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383830
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41107560
San Francisco35993517
Santa Barbara33863446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29679311
Imperial27962719
Kings22766245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16250239
Santa Cruz15554204
Marin13860226
Yolo13559199
Shasta11677217
Butte11549196
El Dorado9719109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598263
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362151
Humboldt358737
Lake340643
Glenn235525
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned330
Medford
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Brookings
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