The next day: Storm leaves problems in its wake
Southwest Oregon continued to feel the effects of a Sunday snowstorm on Monday as thousands remained without power, additional area schools closed, and transportation officials mandated chains for all motorists heading over the Siskiyou Pass.
The crush of heavy mountain snow and traffic prompted a temporary closure of Interstate 5 over the Siskiyou Pass. Southbound lanes between mileposts 0 and 11 were closed from about 10:30 to 2:30 a.m., with northbound lanes reopening at 4:30 a.m., according to spokesman Gary Leaming. Leaming said the agency opted for the closure due to multiple spinouts, jackknifed semi trucks, and numerous stranded vehicles — either because they didn't have chains or had run out of gas.
"It was an interesting night last night. A lot of things kind of converged on the mountain," Leaming said. "It wasn't the perfect storm, but almost."
Over the border, the California Department of Transportation instituted their own temporary closure for northbound traffic at about 11 p.m., and reopened at about 6:30 a.m., according to Leaming and social media posts from Caltrans.
Leaming added ODOT hired private tow companies to get many of the stranded vehicles unstuck.
"I think it just caught some folks unaware," Leaming said. "That's why (drivers) need to have chains and know how to put them on. And maybe have some food and water and a blanket in case you need to hunker down."
Road closures remain in effect on several highways surrounding Crater Lake National Park because of heavy snowfall, according to ODOT's Trip Check website. They include Highway 62 between mileposts 57 and 65, Highway 230 between mileposts 0 and 23, and Highway 138 between mileposts 82 and 100.
The Mt. Ashland Ski Area had to nix its planned opening day Sunday because of a facility-wide power outage and heavy snow that made for an "impassable" access road.
But the park announced a delayed opening on its website today after restoring power, though an exact time is still not known. More than a foot fell on the mountain slopes over 24 hours. Mountain officials said on their Facebook page that ODOT crews are working on clearing snow from the Mt. Ashland Ski Road.
Mt. Ashland officials said snow park permits are required to use the facility parking lot. An annual permit can be purchased at the mountain lodge for $30; daily permits are $4.
Pacific Power crews were also hard at work through the night trying to restore power to the 25,000 residences in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties that lost power Sunday because of the snow.
On Monday morning, company officials reported they had restored power to about 18,455 customers and continued work on getting power back to the remaining 6,545.
"Roseburg is still probably the biggest single area (affected)," said spokesman Tom Gauntt.
An emergency shelter for residents of Jackson and Josephine counties affected by the outages has opened at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, 1451 Fairgrounds St., Grants Pass. Douglas County residents were directed to Vine Street Baptist Church, 2152 Vine St, Roseburg.
All schools in the Ashland, Prospect, Butte Falls school districts are closed today, according to district social media posts. Southern Oregon University's Ashland and Medford campuses are also closed, according to their Facebook page.
No new snow fell on the valley floor overnight, though snowfall continued through the night higher up near the Siskiyou Summit.
National Weather Service officials said there were multiple reports that several inches of new snow fell on on the summit, but that exact measurements were not available.
Another round of precipitation is anticipated to move into the area Monday afternoon, with rain for the valley floor. A dry Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to follow, with more rain expected by Wednesday night.