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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.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810682

Reported Deaths: 70604
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3641044163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
Out of CA00
Medford
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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