The snow may have stopped, but back-to-back frigid nights in the Rogue Valley will guarantee that ice will stick around on the roads.
Temperatures are not forecast to rise above freezing today following an overnight low in the teens, according to the National Weather Service. Another nighttime low in the teens is expected tonight, followed by a high in the mid-30s Friday.
"With clearing skies, depending how fast they clear and the snow, that’s a recipe for cold temperatures," said meteorologist Ryan Sandler.
Public Works officials are concerned what that will mean for drivers.
“In all honesty, I’m more concerned about (today) than (Wednesday),” Jackson County Roads Director John Vial said. “It’s going to be a hard freeze. (Today) could be a very difficult morning for travelers.”
The Rogue Valley Transportation District shut down service starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday and canceled Thursday service because of the icy conditions.
Interstate 5 was closed to southbound travelers at exit 14 for 17 hours because of dangerous driving conditions in Northern California on the Anderson Grade, which runs between the Klamath River and Yreka, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The interstate was closed at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and reopened to limited traffic at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday before it reopened fully just after 2 p.m.
The slick roadways come on the heels of near-record 24-hour snowfall period for the region.
About 8.3 inches fell at the Medford airport — where the Weather Service takes official snowfall measurements for the city — from midnight Monday to midnight Tuesday. That's the second-highest amount to fall in a day's time. The record for a 24-hour period still belongs to Dec. 11, 1919, when 11 inches fell, weather officials said. The former silver medal amount — 8 inches — happened Feb. 21, 1917. Wednesday morning, there were numerous reports of 11 inches to a foot of snow around town.
Nearly 6,500 customers in Josephine County remained without power Wednesday afternoon, while more than 2,500 in Medford, Jacksonville, Gold Hill and Eagle Point were also without electricity, Pacific Power reported.
Nearly 250 Pacific Power employees, including line crews, tree trimmers, support staff and contractors, continued to work on restoring power Wednesday, wading through waist-high snow to repair lines damaged by falling trees or weighed down by snow. Some more isolated customers may not see their power back on until Friday, according to a news release.
The heavy snow accumulations caused havoc for power lines and trees in Medford, too. Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Rick Rohrbough said firefighters responded to "well over 100 calls" overnight.
"Most of them were (for) power lines, trees down," Rohrbough said. "The troops were busy all night long."
Jackson County Fire District 3 officials echoed that.
"We had a number of trees down and a number of motor-vehicle crashes. Those were kind of the main culprits for last night," said Fire District No. 3 public information officer Ashley Lara.
At the Rogue Valley's south end, Jackson County Fire District 5 and Ashland Fire & Rescue dealt with multiple crashes along I-5 up toward the Siskiyou Summit until ODOT closed the stretch down.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil. Reporter Damian Mann contributed to this story.