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  • Storm played havoc with holiday events

  • Arts organizations and civic groups took it on the chin from Mother Nature this weekend, with several holiday events getting knocked out by a one-two punch of snow and ice.
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  • Arts organizations and civic groups took it on the chin from Mother Nature this weekend, with several holiday events getting knocked out by a one-two punch of snow and ice.
    Saturday night's performance of "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol" at Camelot Theatre in Talent was canceled, two holiday shows by the Jefferson State Choral Coalition were iced out, Theatre Convivio's production of "Light Sensitive" at the Bellview Grange in Ashland was snow-plowed, and a sold-out concert by the Rogue Valley Symphony at First United Methodist Church in Ashland went into a deep freeze.
    In Grants Pass, Saturday night's Christmas parade in downtown was canceled, but a ray of sunlight broke through in Central Point, where that town's Christmas Lights Parade was held in spite of inclement conditions.
    The effects of this year's first winter storm will linger today for the Medford Soroptimist Club, which announced that today's annual Holiday Home Tour has been moved to next Sunday, Dec. 15.
    Snow totals from around the region ranged from 3 inches to 2 feet between Friday and Saturday.
    Crater Lake reported nearly 14 new inches, the Siskiyou summit got 13 inches and Mount Ashland received 15 inches, with flakes still falling after dark Saturday, according to Brett Lutz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
    Ashland got hit with 7 inches at 1,900 feet and nearly 8 inches at 2,100 feet, and the outskirts of Medford received 5 inches, with 3.5 inches coating downtown, Lutz said.
    Rogue River and Gold Hill saw about 5 inches apiece, and about 4.5 inches fell in Jacksonville, Lutz said, while Eagle Point, Prospect and Sams Valley had 7 to 8 inches.
    In Butte Falls, 14 inches was reported, he said.
    "It was a good one," Lutz said.
    Drivers had a slightly better time Saturday than they did Friday evening, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which lauded drivers for staying off the roads and letting crews make progress on the asphalt.
    "State highway conditions throughout Southern Oregon improved Saturday as snowplows and de-icer trucks broke through morning ice and slush, bringing the road surface back to bare pavement in the Rogue Valley," said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon, who cited a reprieve from heavy snowfall and significantly less morning traffic "as the key factors that helped maintenance crews gain ground on the hazardous driving conditions caused by Southern Oregon's largest winter storm since 2008."
    "Our goal ... is to bring all valley roads back to bare pavement and treated with de-icer before cold temperatures return," Marmon said. "Saturday traffic was low in the morning and people drove slower. Both dynamics led to a significant decrease in our crash rate."
    More than 100 motor vehicle crashes were reported Friday on state highways in the Rogue Valley. Fewer than 25 accidents were reported Saturday.
    "We've said before that it really comes down to a partnership with motorists," said Marmon. "Snowplows cannot counteract drivers who don't come equipped, who don't drive safely and who don't use common sense."
    According to ODOT, driving conditions should begin to improve later today. Forecasters predict today will be sunny with highs in the mid 20s to lower 30s and light east winds.
    Tonight should be mostly clear with lows around 10 in the valleys and 15 to 20 at higher elevations. North winds around 5 mph will shift to the east after midnight.
    Monday is expected to be sunny with highs in the mid 30s to lower 40s and southeast winds around 5 mph. Monday night calls for partly cloudy skies and lows of 15 to 25.
    Tuesday and Tuesday night are expected to be mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 30s to mid 40s and lows in the lower 20s to lower 30s.
    Wednesday through Friday will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain each day and highs in the lower to mid 40s, forecasters said.
    Reach Mail Tribune features editor David Smigelski at 541-776-8784 or dsmigelski@mailtribune.com. Mail Tribune reporter Sam Wheeler contributed to this report.
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