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Southern Oregon braces for 'historically strong' storm amid Thanksgiving travel

Snow, rain, and extremely high winds are expected throughout the area as many prepare to head out for holiday travel.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 2:44 PM
Updated: Nov 25, 2019 4:21 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Just as many Oregonians prepare to set out for holiday travels, meteorologists are warning of a more significant late-fall storm than the area has seen in years.

"There's increasing potential for an historically strong low pressure system to make landfall near the Southern Oregon coastline Tuesday afternoon," the National Weather Service posted early on Monday morning. The agency warned travelers to hit the road on Monday and be finished by 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

“If people can leave today, now is the time,” said Oregon Department of Transportation district manager Jerry Marmon. “Travel Tuesday into Wednesday is forecast to be the worst, with conditions improving for Thanksgiving Day.”


TripCheck is the place to go for current road conditions in Oregon


Even for those that plan to stay put, the outlook could be grim. Pacific Power said that potential heavy snow and high winds could cause downed trees and power lines throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California.

“Snow and high winds can knock down trees and powerlines causing power outages,” said David Lucas, Pacific Power's vice president of operations. “We are staging additional crews and equipment in preparation for the storm projected to impact Southern Oregon and Northern California mid-day Tuesday through Wednesday afternoon. With the storm having the potential to affect holiday celebrations, we are pulling out all the stops to mobilize or crews as needed.”

The utility company said that every home or business should have an emergency outage kit that includes a flashlight, battery-operated radio and clock, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, manual can opener, bottled water, and blankets.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office sent out a similar list for travelers, with the addition of blankets or sleeping bags, extra warm clothing, and a shovel.

"Let a friend, neighbor or family member know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If you have a problem along the way, help can be sent quicker along your predetermined route," the agency said.


RELATED: Local landmark elevations and snow levels


StormWatch 12 meteorologists predict accumulating snow and slick travel on Monday along the Cascades and Siskiyous, with the stronger storm due to arrive on Tuesday morning. Snow levels are expected to drop to nearly 2,000 feet by Tuesday morning, then down to 1,000 feet by the evening.

"By the afternoon on Tuesday, travel will become increasingly difficult across our area due to periods of heavy snow and increasing winds," Chief Meteorologist Matt Hoffman said.

Gusts of up to 70 mph are possible inland, and up to 100 mph along the coast. As Pacific Power warned, power outages and wind damage will also be a major concern. Winter weather impacts will be felt particularly strongly in the local valleys from Tuesday night into Wednesday.

"Even in the best road conditions, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year," ODOT said in a statement. "Expect delays, plan ahead, allow extra travel time and know before you go."

The Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport said that it had snow removal equipment and personnel on standby should the valley see snow accumulations. So far, they have yet to see any major cancellations or delays to or from other airports.


For the latest forecast and alerts from StormWatch 12, visit our Weather page here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
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