Region Digs Out From Early Season Storm

Dec 7, 2013

Now THAT'S a winter storm.

Downtown Ashland traffic creeps North late Friday afternoon.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

It may take much of the weekend for the region to dig out from Friday's snowfall.

Snow fell as far south as Mendocino County, snarling roads and causing numerous accidents.  School days, sporting events and stage shows were cancelled in response.

In Ashland, traffic inched along the main northbound street.  Cars and trucks took an hour to traverse a four-block section of downtown.  Workers at Ticor Title began handing out appetizers to drivers as dark fell.  "If you're still here in a little while, we'll come back with chocolate," one woman told JPR's Geoffrey Riley.

From the Willamette Valley on south, cars skidded off slick roads and bumped into each other.  Chain requirements went into effect on several sections of Interstate Five.  The shoulders of Highway 99 north of Ashland became parking areas, as drivers abandoned cars that simply could not climb the steep hill into town.

Snow lines Highway 101 North of Highway 20 in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County on Saturday morning.
Credit CalTrans

The snow depth--six inches and up in much of the Rogue Valley--pointed out a major issue: most local governments have little or no snow-removal equipment.  So streets remained snow-clogged well into Saturday, without the typical post-storm sunshine that tends to melt the snow.

In fact, quite the opposite is expected.  Forecasters expect temperatures into the single digits over the next two days, making continued slick roads a distinct possibility.