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As water levels rise, snow falls and sand bags get filled, the forecast doesn't change

and PAUL FATTIG

Forecasters expect the severe winter weather that has drenched low-lying areas and dumped snow in the mountains to stick around.

The National Weather Service said its advisories on winter storms and flooding likely will remain in effect through this afternoon. Extended forecasts predict a chance of snow and rain through the end of the week.

Since Friday, more than two feet of snow dumped on Mount Ashland and between three and four inches of rain fell in the Rogue Valley.

In Medford, 2.75 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period that ended Saturday morning. Rainfall diminished during the day, but by 4 p.m., another .48 of an inch had fallen.

Streams filled their banks and water pooled in urban areas, but the water was expected to subside through this morning, the National Weather Service reported.

With an urban and small-stream flood warning in effect, Jackson County emergency managers offered the public free sand to help block rising waters Saturday.

About 10 yards of sand was placed at the end of D Street in Jacksonville and at the intersection of Pine Street and Penninger Lane near the Jackson County Expo Center entrance in Central Point, Jackson County sheriff's Capt. Ed Mayer said. People must bring and fill their own bags.

Jackson County Fire District No. — filled some sandbags, which are available at the Eagle Point Fire Station, 145 W. Main, Eagle Point, along with bulk sand.

Residents in low-lying areas throughout the county reported flooding, Mayer said. High waters caused isolated problems, but didn't necessitate any mass evacuations.

Mayer said that unless flooding is major or life-threatening, county emergency managers usually don't provide sandbags. After a long dry stretch, however, this storm appeared to have caught people by surprise, and many residents weren't prepared for flooding.

At Medford's Grange Co-op store at 2531 S. Pacific Highway, customers scooped up ready-to-stack sandbags in a rush Friday night and Saturday morning. The store had 104 bags in stock Friday afternoon. In the half-hour before closing Friday night, it sold 60 of them. They sold out within an hour after the store opened Saturday morning.

The store still had plenty of empty sandbags and paper bags of bulk sand to fill them with, employees said.

Mayer recommended that people in flood-prone areas have sandbags on hand. Even with the bulk of this weekend's storm past, the winter is still young.

Now that the ground is saturated, it will take less rain to cause flooding next time, he said.

Atop Mount Ashland, Ski Ashland officials canceled night skiing Saturday because of stormy conditions.

The blowing snow on the Mount Ashland access road made travel extremely difficult for night skiing, officials said.

It's been very stormy with lots of snow coming down right now and lots of wind, explained Gene Landsmann, marketing director for the publicly owned resort, late Saturday afternoon.

Saturday morning, the mountain had received more than two feet of new snow in a 24-hour period, bringing the snow depth at the lodge to 84 inches and 112 inches at the top.

Snow continued to pile up throughout the day Saturday.

We had an unbelievable amount of people up here today, Landsmann said, noting they braved adverse weather conditions to reach the popular ski and snowboard site.

Saturday's cancellation marked the second consecutive day that night skiing had been canceled because of the weather.

Night skiing is held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, weather permitting.

Day skiing is planned for today on Mount Ashland.

It's wonderful to have this much snow, but we also need decent weather to allow people to get up here, Landsmann said.

The local snow level was expected to descend to 1,500 feet overnight and climb to 2,000 feet today, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow level will likely climb to around 3,000 feet by Monday, followed by rain in the lower elevations through New Year's Day. Winds should be light.

. Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at

A pickup truck plows through a flooded stretch of Bateman Road Saturday. The dead-end street off of Table Rock Road was one of many high-water areas in the region. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven