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Snow brings white Christmas to Rogue Valley

Photo by Allayana Darrow | A winter storm warning is in effect until Monday morning in Oregon and northern California.

ASHLAND — This year, Rogue Valley residents were greeted with a white Christmas, with precipitation expected through the weekend and a winter storm warning in effect until Monday morning in Oregon and northern California.

Periods of heavy snow with accumulations of two to six inches were expected in Southern Oregon, with six to eight inches in the Illinois Valley, Camas Mountain and higher Interstate 5 mountain passes, and up to a foot in the Cascade Foothills.

Snow showers were expected to peak Sunday night, with all area passes affected by one to three inches, snow reaching sea level and 45% chance of snow at beaches, according to a National Weather Service Medford station holiday weather timeline.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” according to the NWS Medford station. “Patchy, blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.”

Snowfall is expected to ease and rise to the 1,000- to 1,500-foot level Monday morning and afternoon, except near Roseburg, with the west valleys likely staying below freezing. Frigid cold is slated to continue through Tuesday with possible snow showers.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Dec. 23 through Jan. 3 due to projected severe winter weather statewide, bringing heavy snow, sustained freezing temperatures, transportation failures, and power and communications disruptions.

“I am directing state agencies to work proactively with local emergency management partners to coordinate on communications for emergency services, such as warming centers,” Brown said in a press release. “Winter storms mean increased risk for those traveling as well as those staying home for the holidays. Check on your neighbors and loved ones when you can do so safely. If road conditions worsen, please help our first responders by staying home when possible.”

An emergency inclement weather shelter opened in Ashland Dec. 23 and will remain open until Dec. 28, opening at 7 p.m. each night at the Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road. The shelter will be held at the Grove, 1195 E. Main St., on Tuesday evening. Questions about the shelter can be directed to Avram Sacks at 541-220-7307.

The Oregon Department of Transportation recommends when driving in the snow, check road conditions at tripcheck.com or by dialing 511. Allow extra travel time and stopping distance on slick, snowy roads.

Brake gently to avoid sliding and skidding and ease off the brakes in case of locked wheels. Drivers should carry chains they can use, ensure vehicles are in prime operating condition prior to traveling, slow down when approaching areas of the road where snow lingers and turn headlights on to increase visibility when necessary.

“Be prepared for delays. Make sure you have water, blankets, a full tank of gas, and plenty of patience,” according to the city’s winter travel tips. “If you feel tired or if road conditions get rough, don’t be afraid to stop for the night.”

More tips and information can be found at the ODOT website. An updated local weather map can be found at weather.gov/mfr/winter.