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Crater Lake Park still closed after avalanche

Crater Lake National Park officials plan to re-evaluate weather and road conditions today to see if they can reopen the park after an avalanche closed Highway 62 Tuesday.

The park remained closed Wednesday, after a wall of snow 300 feet wide slid down a 50-foot slope onto the highway just west of Munson Valley Road, said Cheryl Knobel, a dispatcher at the park's communication center.

Crews have cleared some of the snow, but the open lanes aren't wide enough to accommodate snow-removal equipment and other traffic, she said.

Another strong storm was predicted to hit the park — and the rest of Southern Oregon — Wednesday night and continue through the early morning hours today.

Snow levels were forecast at between 3,500 and 4,000 feet, with 4 to 8 inches of new snow expected to pile up by this morning.

Winds of 15 to 30 mph were expected to cause blowing and drifting snow that would reduce visibility to less than a quarter of a mile at times.

The National Weather Service office in Medford issued a snow and blowing snow advisory in effect until 6 a.m. today for the Crater Lake and Diamond Lake areas, as well as for Klamath County east of the Cascades, and in the Siskiyous.

As of Wednesday morning, the park had 98 inches of snow on the ground, 134 percent of normal for the date.

Widespread snow showers are expected to continue across the Southern Oregon Cascades and Siskiyous today, forecasters said. The Rogue Valley will see rain showers throughout the day.

Wednesday morning's weather report from the park noted that avalanche danger in the park was high to extreme, but Knobel said the slide along the highway didn't appear to be active.

"Anywhere with this much recent snow is going to have high avalanche danger," especially on avalanche-prone slopes, she said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.