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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: 392197

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60432839
Washington42082398
Marion39986507
Clackamas32861382
Lane30179358
Jackson24956361
Deschutes23639185
Umatilla15135182
Linn14704179
Douglas13438292
Josephine10201246
Yamhill9787143
Klamath9072147
Polk8248102
Benton611138
Malheur592790
Coos5693107
Columbia433356
Jefferson420866
Lincoln363852
Union339255
Crook336356
Wasco317046
Clatsop262735
Baker220833
Tillamook217045
Hood River214537
Morrow197825
Curry192439
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105616
Wallowa76013
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5087907

Reported Deaths: 74561
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152858627184
San Diego4074794340
Riverside3880835358
San Bernardino3748555967
Orange3346265736
Sacramento1684922447
Kern1578751804
Fresno1568972259
Santa Clara1522681929
Alameda1252361507
San Joaquin1076041834
Ventura1040841191
Contra Costa1038691046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare861371099
San Francisco56931672
San Mateo56354629
Monterey52521626
Solano47693358
Santa Barbara47345553
Merced45086668
Sonoma43207412
Placer42204470
Imperial38516773
Kings35221362
San Luis Obispo31511360
Madera26233311
Shasta26113458
Butte25476318
Santa Cruz22268224
Yolo21590260
Marin18495249
El Dorado18325166
Sutter14577186
Napa13424105
Yuba1076389
Tehama10282130
Humboldt10183119
Nevada10029105
Mendocino857799
Lassen797656
San Benito782979
Tuolumne774691
Lake7046110
Amador578366
Siskiyou475855
Glenn457436
Calaveras442288
Del Norte376942
Colusa325921
Inyo256746
Plumas19397
Mono18924
Mariposa160718
Trinity99817
Modoc7725
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Unassigned810
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