Winter storm blankets southern Oregon passes, stretches of Siskiyou County

Traffic officials started temporarily holding traffic over the Sexton Summit before 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in order to get several semi-trucks moving again over the snowbound pass.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 4:04 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2021 7:27 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — A winter storm system is beginning to have major impacts on areas of southern Oregon and northern California. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, traffic officials in both states had reported several crashes apparently caused by deteriorating conditions, soon followed by closures and chain requirements.

Traffic cameras showed snow blanketing the roadways on I-5 stretching from Weed to Dunsmuir, over Siskiyou Summit, Sexton Summit, and on Highway 199 around Hayes Hill.

Traffic officials started temporarily holding northbound I-5 traffic between Hugo and Glendale before 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in order to get several semi-trucks moving again over the snowbound pass. Chains are required on all vehicles towing or over 10,000 pounds on I-5 from Sexton to Stage Pass.

By 4:30 p.m., Highway 97 was blocked in Weed due to multiple crashes, and traffic officials closed the highway entirely from Weed to a few miles south of MacDoel.

On Highway 199 in Josephine County, the roadway remained open, but chains were required through the Hayes Hill area. Traction tires were allowed in place of chains on vehicles under 10,000 pounds. ODOT said that traffic was temporarily halted to allow plows to go through the area.

ODOT said that drivers should be prepared for winter driving conditions and expect delays into Tuesday night and Wednesday on all southwest Oregon highways.

Drivers on I-5, Highway 97 and Hwy 199 in particular should be aware and prepare for those conditions. You can keep track of current road conditions online for Oregon (Tripcheck) and California (QuickMap).

ODOT said it and Caltrans will likely need to halt traffic between Ashland and Redding if the storm quickly overwhelms their resources.

“We want travelers to be prepared and safe and not stuck on the roadway. When that happens we can’t plow the snow and everything shuts down,” said ODOT Interim District Manager Jeremiah Griffin.

Snow levels and storm tracks can vary, so be aware of the changing conditions. Other winter driving tips include:

  • Delay travel if possible
  • Plan for delays if you must travel
  • Carry tire chains and know how to install them
  • Start off with a full tank of gas
  • Have snacks and food
  • Be sure to have blankets, coat, gloves and hat
  • Bring cell phone charger.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 191774

Reported Deaths: 2533
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38030585
Washington25362229
Marion21859306
Clackamas17262209
Lane12861146
Jackson10739135
Deschutes875974
Umatilla814084
Linn485267
Yamhill442875
Klamath433061
Polk371352
Malheur350461
Josephine331669
Douglas323170
Benton306019
Jefferson217434
Coos205033
Columbia172726
Union144423
Lincoln137120
Wasco137128
Hood River118330
Morrow110115
Crook107620
Clatsop9768
Baker94714
Curry6459
Tillamook6423
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3418
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3760303

Reported Deaths: 62334
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123582824026
Riverside2991734588
San Bernardino2966554707
San Diego2781823725
Orange2708005008
Santa Clara1189322086
Kern1090521373
Sacramento1044911676
Fresno1017291682
Alameda876371546
Ventura809051011
San Joaquin731741391
Contra Costa68638806
Stanislaus620081056
Tulare49579839
Monterey43595382
San Mateo41903568
San Francisco36669543
Santa Barbara34323456
Solano32864250
Merced31821459
Sonoma30002318
Imperial28388722
Kings22977246
Placer22610291
San Luis Obispo21293260
Madera16444242
Santa Cruz16238206
Marin14040228
Yolo13897209
Shasta12110226
Butte11985199
El Dorado10141113
Napa985781
Sutter9421111
Yuba625346
San Benito605663
Lassen570124
Tehama556362
Nevada473675
Tuolumne412966
Mendocino407249
Humboldt398040
Amador365547
Lake347143
Glenn238225
Colusa223216
Siskiyou220523
Calaveras212553
Inyo142838
Del Norte13808
Mono12804
Plumas7106
Modoc4984
Mariposa4477
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned390
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