Rogue Valley News, Thursday, Jan. 16 – Snow Reaches Rogue Valley, Travel Becomes Limited, Power Out in Areas

he latest news from across the Rogue Valley and around the region, from RogueValleyMagazine.com

THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Medford and the Rogue Valley area received a blanket of snow today, causing many schools to close or have delays.  Weather conditions remain a hazard for area drivers.

According to the National Weather Service, while it may not seem like a lot of snow, this is the most in years on the Rogue Valley floor.   Even though the snow is not expected to stick around for very long in the valley, roads may now become flooed and temperatures could cause freezing streets and highways.  You can always check current road conditions at tripcheck.com

Local authorities are reminding all Southern Oregon drivers to avoid traveling on mountain hiways and high-elevation roads Thursday evening. 

Jackson County Road said elevations of 3000 feet and above have seen heavy snowfall Thursday. In many locations, the snow depth exceeds two feet.

Snowplows have been working all day, but conditions are expected to get worse 

Thursday evening. The roads department said the most challenging roads include Dead Indian Memorial Road, Colestin Road, Butte Falls-Fish Lake Road, Butte Falls-Prospect Road, and other roads above 3000 feet in elevation.

Jackson County Roads is reminding travelers that they don’t plow during the night, so traveling on these roads is “highly discouraged” during the current winter storm.

“While the storm has let up in lower elevations areas, the mountains have continued to get pounded”, said John Vial, the Jackson County Roads Director.

“We will continue to plow these high elevation routes into the early evening and plows will return starting around 5:00 a.m. If drivers can delay their travel until tomorrow that is highly recommended.”

For the latest road conditions, visit http://www.tripcheck.com

Jackson County Roads:


Many Jackson County roads above 3000′ in elevation have seen very heavy snowfall Thursday morning and throughout the day with accumulations in many locations exceeding well over 24 inches in depth.

While snow plows have been working continuously throughout the day, driving conditions on these roads are challenging and is expected to worsen this evening.

Particularly challenging roads include Dead Indian Memorial Road, Colestin Road, Butte Falls-Fish Lake Road, Butte Falls-Prospect Road and others above 3000′. Most high mountain roads in Jackson County are not plowed during evening hours and overnight travel on these roads is highly discouraged.

“While the storm has let up in lower elevations areas, the mountains have continued to get pounded”, noted John Vial, the Jackson County Roads Director, “We will continue to plow these high elevation routes into the early evening and plows will return starting around 5:00 am. If drivers can delay their travel until tomorrow that is highly recommended.”

Expect severe winter driving conditions and if you don’t need to go, don’t.

Josephine County

By 4 p.m. on Thursday, Josephine County Public Works said that all remaining road closures involved power lines and were under the car of Pacific Power. Crews would remain on the roads through the evening to plow, sand, and patrol for any further issues. Public Works said that they would be back in time for the morning commute for more clean-up plowing and sanding.

“Showers are decreasing, but motorist are urged to use extreme caution tonight and tomorrow,” the County said. “Freezing road temperatures are quite likely overnight, and a re-freeze would create very hazardous conditions.”

District 1 – Wolf Creek and northern county:

  • Speaker Road (600-block), Coyote Creek Road, Lower Graves Creek Road (4700-block), Bridge Lane (halfway up), Brimstone Drive.

District 2 – Merlin, Hugo & Colonial Valley:

  • Hugo Road (2900-block), Artlin Road, Jump Off Joe Creek (3100-block), Azalea Drive (4000-block), Robertson Bridge Road (300-block), Pickett Creek (1200-bock) Russell Road (3000-block), Galice Road (just below Morrison Lodge), Stewart Road.

District 3 – City of Grants Pass, mid-county:

  • Midway Avenue, Waters Creek Road, Murphy Creek Road (1400-block), Kubli Road (900-block), Griffin Park Road (just off Riverbanks Road), Lappland Drive.

District 4 – Williams:

  • East Fork Road

District 5 – Illinois Valley:

  • Deer Creek (at Dryden Road), Deer Creek Road (2000-block, 5500-block, and 7100-block), Hays Cut Off Road (at Holland Loop), Holland Loop Road, Dick George (4000-block), Takilma Road (5200-block), Thompson Creek Road (2000-block), Holton Creek Road, Dick George Road (1900-block).

As of 5PM on interstate 5 in Southern Oregon:

Siskiyou Summit:

  • ODOT says there’s extreme winter weather conditions over the Siskiyou Summit. Chains are required over the Siskiyou Summit, except for 4-wheel drive vehicles that are not towing. Check latest conditions on TripCheck

Yreka:

  • Chains or traction tires are required heading northbound toward the Siskiyou Summit, starting just north of Hornbrook according to QuickMap

Weed:

  • I-5 southbound is back open just north of Weed in Siskiyou County after crews helped to clear a jack-knifed semi and spilled fuel.
  • Chains or traction tires are required heading southbound starting just south of Edgewood.

Dunsmuir:

  • Chains or traction tires are required for both southbound and northbound traffic beginning near Azalea, north of Dunsmuir.

As of 5PM, ODOT: SW Oregon:

High Cascade highways remain closed this afternoon due to additional snow and trees that fell overnight and today.  However, Oregon 138E is expected to open a limited distance tomorrow (Friday) by 2 p.m.

The highway will only be open from U.S. 97 west into Diamond Lake and Three Lakes SnoPark only. No through traffic.

Crews are working on the Oregon 138 connection from Roseburg area, as well as Oregon 62 from Prospect north toward Union Creek and Crater Lake National Park boundary.

Heavy, wet snow causes widespread outages in southern Oregon, northern California
Pacific Power crews are working to restore power to approximately 18,000 customers and have called in additional support from outside of the area

GRANTS PASS – Approximately 18,000 Pacific Power customers from Glendale to Mount Shasta to Rogue River are without power due to winter weather conditions. Additional resources and crews have been called in from outside the area to help with restoration.

Given the extensive storm-related damage to power lines, the number of repairs that are necessary, and persistent storm conditions, Pacific Power is working to provide estimated times for restoration. However, customers in more remote areas with significant damage should plan to remain without service through the upcoming weekend.

“We’re tackling a challenging restoration effort because some of the impacted facilities are located in remote, hard to access areas,” said David Lucas, Pacific Power vice president of operations. “We’re bringing in additional internal crews, contractors and equipment to help with assessing damage and continue repairs. We appreciate our customers’ patience during all of this and will give updates as more information becomes available.”

Communities experiencing significant outages as of 5 p.m.:

  • Grants Pass and nearby communities, 15,000
  • Mt. Shasta/Yreka, 1,400
  • Medford and nearby communities, 700

Crews have been working non-stop since the storm began early Thursday morning, assessing damage and making repairs. Crews often have to cut their way through downed trees into many of the trouble spots. Approximately 120 crew members are at work on more than 200 outages. However, heavy snow is still causing more road closures, more trees to fall and additional damage to power lines. Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power.

Pacific Power is coordinating with local emergency agencies and the Red Cross to potentially open warming centers in coming days. The company will share that information as it becomes available.

Pacific Power encourages customers to report outages by calling 1-877-508-5088 or text OUT to 722797Text STAT to 722797 to check the status of your outage. Customers and media representatives can also track outages of any size online. Updates will be made as new information becomes available or at least hourly at pacificpower.net/outage.

To ease the inconvenience of power outages and assist crews in restoring power, Pacific Power suggests the following tips and safety precautions:
 

  • Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous. Call 911 and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines.
  • Turn on your porch light. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if any lights are still out
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.
  • If you have power at this time, keep mobile devices charged so that may be used in an emergency. Before anything happens, download the Pacific Power app to your smart device so you can have information readily available.

 Pacific Power also thanks customers in advance for their patience as we work to restore power. Crews make every effort to keep outage durations to a minimum and to restore power safely and quickly.

Heavy snow has temporarily cut communications with people at Crater Lake National Park.

The park’s website says telephone and internet service have been down since Monday and the cafe and gift shop at Rim Village are also closed. Authorities also closed the road from park headquarters to Rim Village due to heavy snow.  No public access to the area is available at this time.

According to a report park officials are concentrating on keeping the southern access road to the park, from Klamath Falls, open to retain access for park staff who use it to get to work. No one is sure exactly how much snow has fallen in recent days, but a snow gauge that can collect more than two feet of snow in a day topped out on a recent day, Kirsten Harden, the park’s chief of management facilities said. Because of the telephone and internet outages, potential visitors can’t call the park’s visitor center or check the park’s website for road conditions.

Authorities are urging people to stay away until the weather improves.

High winds pushed crews out of the High Cascades closure area on Tuesday.

Due to the hazard to public and crew safety the Oregon 62 closure is back to Prospect from Union Creek. These winds have halted progress for the day due to hazard trees.

Crews will continue to re-evaluate the area but with another foot of snow falling today, clean-up work will be evaluated day by day. Current High Cascade closures include Highway 138 closed from Toketee to U.S. 97 and Oregon 62/230 closed at Prospect.

Every hunter who purchased 2019 big game or turkey tags needs to report their hunt results by the deadline, which is Jan. 31, 2020 for most tags.

Hunters are required to report on each deer, elk, cougar, bear, pronghorn and turkey tag purchased—even if they were not successful or did not hunt. Sports Pac license holders need to report on each big game or turkey tag issued. Hunters who fail to report deer and elk tags by the deadline will be penalized $25 when they go to purchase a 2021 hunting license. This penalty is assessed once, regardless of the number of unreported tags.

Reporting deadlines are January 31st for all 2019 hunts that ended by December 31st and  April 15 for all 2019 hunts that end between January 1st through March 31st.

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