Alicia Mancilla, 6, of Medford, plays in the snow on Holy Street in Medford Tuesday. Meanwhile, snow flurries in Northern California closed Interstate 5 at the Siskiyou Summit for three hours Tuesday evening.

Heavy snow shuts down Siskyou Summit Tuesday evening

ASHLAND — Heavy snow in Northern California closed the Siskiyou Summit for more than four hours Tuesday evening.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials were ordered to shut off all southbound traffic on the interstate as road crews in California worked to clear heavy now just north of Yreka, ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming said.

"We looked fine on our side, but we heard they were having issues with weather and traffic in California," Leaming said.

The freeway was closed because of numerous spin-outs between the junction with State Route 96, along the Klamath River, and two miles south of the Oregon border.

ODOT received word to reopen the northbound lanes just after 9 p.m., Leaming said. Southbound lanes reopened about an hour later.

"We opened with a full chain requirement for every vehicle," Leaming said. "We didn't want any problems to arise late at night with cars not prepared to cross the summit in the snow."

Traffic was pulled from the freeway at the south Ashland exit. Leaming said between 50 and 60 tractor trailers lined the road, waiting to make the run over the pass as soon as ODOT opened the freeway to traffic.

The storm dropped a trace of snow on the valley floor during the early afternoon. The snow turned to rain as the evening wore on.

National Weather Service Forecasters are calling for rainy conditions for the next week.

Highs are expected to reach the mid-40s during the day, with lows hovering in the low-30s.

Road condition updates are available at or by calling 511. Road and weather information can be accessed toll-free within Oregon by dialing 800-977-ODOT (6368).

California road conditions can be found online at the Caltrans Web site, or by calling 511 within California or 800-427-7623 outside the state.

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