Mountain snow keeps emergency crews busy

Spinouts near the Siskiyou Summit, trees down in Union Creek and a sledding accident on Highway 230 gave emergency workers a run for their money when heavy snow fell in the upper elevations Sunday morning.

A 54-year-old Trail man suffered partial paralysis during a sledding accident in the Union Creek Snow Park Sunday morning.

"We wanted to airlift him out, but it was snowing too hard," said Prospect Fire Chief Bob Batte.

He said the man, whose identity wasn't released because of confidentiality rules, had previous back injuries that were aggravated by the sledding accident. Batte didn't know the man's condition.

Fire crews responded to two rollover accidents and a crash near Siskiyou Summit during a four-hour period Sunday morning. No injuries were reported.

High wind in the mountains knocked several trees down across Highway 230, about 4 miles up from the junction with Highway 62, Batte said.

He said crews worked to clear the roadway Sunday afternoon.

About 3 inches of snow fell in the Prospect area Sunday morning, but then let up by afternoon, Batte said.

By late afternoon, the weather had changed again. "It's starting to really come down," Batte said.

At the Siskiyou Summit, 11 inches of sometimes slushy snow fell Sunday morning.

John McEvoy, engineer with Fire District No. 5, said more snow was expected in the upper elevations Sunday night.

"We are bracing for a very busy night," he said.

The first accident at 8:41 a.m. was a rollover at milepost 8 on Interstate 5 in the northbound lanes, McEvoy said.

The second accident occurred after a car tried to overtake a truck towing a trailer at 10:05 a.m. in the southbound lanes at milepost 7. The car lost control and crashed into the front of the truck, McEvoy said. It's unusual to have these types of accidents in the southbound lanes, he said.

"I've been here for 23 years, and I can never say I've seen everything," McEvoy said.

Another rollover accident in the northbound lanes occurred at 11:49 a.m. just past milepost 5.

McEvoy said the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon State Police had a heavy presence at the summit Sunday. He said fire crews were called back to the station after the rollovers because other emergency crews already had responded and determined there were no injuries.

More winter weather is expected through the week.

Dan Weygand, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Medford, said Sunday's storm would dissipate during the night.

However, another storm system should head into the valley Monday night and into Tuesday, though snow levels will be fairly high at 4,000 feet.

A third storm will hit the valley Tuesday morning with a very cold air mass expected by Wednesday.

"Snow may come down on the valley floor," Weygand said.

The storm Tuesday night could also bring high swells at the coast.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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