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Winter weather bound for areas of Southern Oregon this weekend, travel impacts expected

Mountain passes will be hit especially hard, likely making travel slow and difficult.

Posted: Jan 10, 2020 12:05 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2020 2:07 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — With a series of winter storms in the forecast over the next several days, both meteorologists and Oregon agencies are warning people to avoid traveling. Those who do should check conditions and use caution when hitting the road.

The StormWatch 12 team predicts a foot or two of snowfall in the Cascades beginning on Friday into Satuday, followed by another helping on Sunday.

While much of the snowfall will be concentrated along Highway 62 toward Crater Lake and further north toward Diamond Lake, Highway 140 and I-5 at the Siskiyou Summit will share in much of the accumulation. Expect delays and chain restrictions through these areas.

ODOT has 24/7 coverage along Siskiyou Summit. Every employee is working during this set of storms in 12-hour shifts. Along I-5, they are plowing, sanding and salting.

"Just to keep the traveling public safe," said the ODOT Transportation Manager in Ashland Bob Harshman. "That's our biggest concern up here and just to keep the roads open. That's what we do."

Meanwhile, high winds could contribute to blizzard-like conditions in those areas and beyond. Heavy snow and strong winds in some areas could cause downed trees and potential power outages.

"ODOT wants travelers to think twice before trying to drive over the mountain passes which are expected to get several feet of snow this weekend, especially in the Diamond Lake/Crater Lake area," the agency said in a statement.

There is a High Surf Warning along the Southern Oregon coast beginning on Friday night and lasting through Saturday evening, with waves expected to reach 32 feet or more.

"High tides and tidal flooding are expected along the coastline beginning today," ODOT said. "Drivers should be aware of possible water on roadways, especially in low-lying areas such as Coos Bay and Charleston."

ODOT has asked that people avoid traveling in these winter weather conditions altogether. The agency also provided the following tips if you must travel in winter weather conditions:

  • Carry chains and know how to put them on.
  • Know before you go. Plan your route. Let someone know when you’re expected. Stay on state highways. Do not rely on GPS.
  • Carrying an emergency kit that includes supplies of water and food, and blankets. Have a full tank of gas and charge your phone.
  • Get safely situated. Don’t wait until after a storm hits to get on the road. Get to your destination before conditions turn nasty and unsafe.
  • Travel smart. Consider waiting until a storm passes to get on your bike or in your car.
  • Look out for each other. If you must drive, remember cyclists and pedestrians are harder to see in a storm. If you’re biking or walking remember that cars don’t stop quickly on snow and ice.
  • Leave early. It’s smart to allow plenty of time to get where you’re going. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.
  • Check on any appointments before you leave. Offices and businesses may close due to the weather.
  • Beware of outages. If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.
  • Watch for plows. ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can’t clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated. Everybody benefits the sooner they can get the road cleared.
  • In coastal areas, watch for water on the roads and highways. Do not attempt to cross any stretch where you cannot see the roadway surface.

"Remember, driving on ice and snow pack or water-covered surfaces is never a safe choice," ODOT said. "The safest thing to do may be to stay off the road."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42101

Reported Deaths: 653
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9137160
Marion5819108
Washington573975
Umatilla334944
Clackamas309765
Lane235427
Malheur191538
Jackson16696
Deschutes112313
Yamhill98715
Linn80315
Polk65015
Jefferson6049
Morrow5456
Lincoln51713
Union4662
Benton4416
Klamath4103
Douglas3495
Wasco34715
Hood River2771
Josephine2673
Columbia2591
Clatsop2420
Coos2380
Baker1203
Crook1072
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa442
Lake350
Harney230
Sherman180
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 906596

Reported Deaths: 17358
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2997606993
Riverside659021279
San Bernardino626191072
Orange585731447
San Diego54583870
Kern33813416
Fresno30752436
Sacramento25372484
Santa Clara24144388
Alameda23312461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18621241
Stanislaus17629396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14240164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12103140
Monterey1137291
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9781120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9312136
Kings822883
Solano728674
Marin7074128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer409357
Yolo319159
Butte307852
Santa Cruz278825
Napa195715
Shasta187830
Sutter183712
San Benito143715
El Dorado13174
Yuba129310
Mendocino112721
Tehama8728
Lassen7661
Lake69615
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32816
Tuolumne2694
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
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Crater Lake
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Klamath Falls
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