Wind, snow are expected to return today, impairing motorists

Siskiyou Summit, Mount Shasta area to get more accumulations, hampering travelers

Holiday travelers may have gotten a brief respite Saturday, but the National Weather Service expects the next storm to hit Southern Oregon this morning or early afternoon, bringing more snow and hazardous driving conditions.

Another 2 inches of snow were expected to accumulate at the Siskiyou Summit on Interstate 5 overnight and another 3 to 6 inches were forecast for the Mount Shasta City area, said Mike Ottenweller, meteorologist with the weather service in Medford. To the north, 1 to 3 inches of snow were expected to fall at I-5's Sexton Summit.

"With tomorrow's storm, that is going to be the bigger one," Ottenweller said Saturday. "We're looking at another 5-8 inches Sunday during the day and early Monday morning on the Siskiyou Summit.

"Mount Shasta should get another foot in that time frame — that's where we expect the biggest impact on travel. Travel will not only be dangerous, but much slower than people anticipate with the likelihood of road closures."

Mount Ashland was expected to receive 12 to 18 inches of new snow by tonight, according to the weather service.

Meteorologists were expecting gusty winds between 20 mph and 30 mph today at high elevations and east of the Cascades.

The snow may have a heavier density as well, possibly bringing down more power lines over the weekend.

"This next storm is going to have more wind than the one we had Thursday night that dumped so much in Josephine County," said Ottenweller.

Monday is expected to be dry, but it may be a white Christmas as another storm is predicted to make its way into the valley on Tuesday.

"More to come on that one," said Ottenweller. "There's still a lot of weather to get to before we get to Christmas Day."

Meanwhile, many rural areas of Southern Oregon still were without power late Saturday as the melting snow caused tree branches to fall on lines. Some Pacific Power crews have had to return to areas previously repaired, said Monte Mendenhall, regional community manager.

Nearly 8,200 in Josephine County, Rogue River and Medford were without electricity.

"Some trees have blocked roadways," said Mendenhall. "It's been a bit of a slow go due to the nature of this storm."

There are three warming shelters set up by Pacific Power and the American Red Cross for displaced residents: City Hall, 222 Lister St., Cave Junction; Wolf Creek Fire Department, 100 Coyote Creek Road, Wolf Creek; and at the Josephine County Fairgrounds Art Building, 1451 Fairgrounds Road, Grants Pass. Red Cross officials will be serving warm beverages and snacks.

Redding, Calif., city crews are assisting Pacific Power, which was working Saturday to restore outages to the nearly 1,800 people without power in Siskiyou County. Most of the Siskiyou County customers without service are in the Happy Camp area, said Mendenhall.

"Those customers are not going to get back in service until midweek because it's hard to get into the area," said Mendenhall. "There is a tremendous amount of damage because of snow and trees. We brought in a helicopter but it's still difficult with the snow."

Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at

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