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MailTribune.com
  • Forecast: More snow

    Wintry weather to continue; YMCAs offer help when kids are out of school
  • It's snowy, wet weeks like this one that make working at the National Weather Service exciting.
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  • It's snowy, wet weeks like this one that make working at the National Weather Service exciting.
    "We wait all summer long for events like this, and it definitely makes the job very satisfying," said meteorologist Mike Ottenweller.
    The snowfall started Monday night, when anywhere between 1¾ and 21/2; inches dropped around the Rogue Valley, blanketing it in white before much of it melted away by mid-afternoon. Medford saw anywhere from about an inch to more than 2 inches in various parts of town, while Central Point and Shady Cove received about 2 inches.
    NWS forecasters say more snow is on the way for the region, with up to a foot on the Siskiyou Summit by Thursday evening and at least an inch on the valley floor.
    "We do expect snow to be, once again, getting into the valleys," Ottenweller said.
    The trouble will begin late tonight and early Thursday, as high winds are expected when another storm system moves in. Gusts of up to 40 mph in Medford and 50 mph in the south end of the valley are predicted overnight.
    Snow will drop to the valley floor by midmorning Thursday, with 1 to 3 inches expected in the foothills, said meteorologist Tom Wright. He said as much as 1 to 2 feet of snow were predicted for the Siskiyou Summit and Mount Ashland Thursday afternoon and evening, and it'll just get worse the farther south you go. The city of Mount Shasta could see many feet of snow, he said.
    "Not the best day to travel," Wright said.
    Forecasts for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area call for snow every day through the weekend. The ski area is closed today as part of its usual schedule, but will reopen Thursday and continue to be open seven days a week through Jan. 7 as it shifts to its holiday schedule.
    The weather service says skiers should be prepared for plenty of snow when they return to the slopes.
    "We expect some periods of very heavy snowfall, especially in the higher terrain," Ottenweller said, adding that another foot or so could fall over the weekend.
    Snow is expected to turn to rain in the valleys by Friday morning with a potential for scattered showers during the weekend.
    "We don't expect a lot of precipitation, but what will fall will fall as rain," Ottenweller said.
    Monday's snowfall closed schools around Jackson County. The Rogue Valley and Ashland YMCAs both held an all-day recreation and activities event for children in light of the closures. YMCA officials called the "All-day Out" events an alternative for parents who couldn't take off work during the snow day.
    "It's just like a camp day," said Michele Hunt, preschool and after-school director at the Rogue Valley YMCA in Medford.
    YMCA officials say they plan for similar days if additional school closures are required this week.
    "We prepare for them when they happen," said Greg Taylor, camp and sports director at the Rogue Valley YMCA.
    The weather also slowed sections of Interstate 5 to a crawl for brief periods during the morning hours.
    The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said that between midnight and 11 a.m. Tuesday there were 45 reported traffic crashes and traffic hazards. More than 20 deputies were on patrol and responding to crashes and road hazards. A sheriff's department news release said all of the crashes had either no injuries or very minor injuries.
    Late Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported spots of ice on I-5 near the Siskiyou Summit, with packed snow along Highway 140 and the Greensprings Highway.
    Anyone traveling in those areas should have chains in their vehicles and use caution while on the road. Check www.tripcheck.com or call 511 for up-to-date road conditions.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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