Snow halts trucks; more snow coming


    Dozens of commercial trucks pull over on I-5 and wait out a snowstorm raging in Northern California. Jamie Lusch Mail Tribune

    Periods of rain are forecast for Jackson County the rest of the week, with the possibility of more snow on the Rogue Valley floor next weekend, the National Weather Service reported.

    "We could see some low-elevation snowfall yet again over the weekend," meteorologist Brad Schaaf said Wednesday. "It’s always hard to say, 'Yes, the valley floor will see snow,' but the snow levels will be crashing to easily about 1,500 feet to 2,000 feet. And then, come Saturday night into Sunday, they will crash to the valley floor."

    The forecast comes on the heels of mountain snow early Wednesday that prompted the Oregon Department of Transportation to issue a temporary hold on all southbound commercial truck traffic on Interstate 5 at Ashland’s southernmost exit.

    California transportation officials put a freeze on truck traffic from Yreka to Redding, California, and ODOT followed suit.

    “In California, they were holding traffic,” said ODOT public information officer Gary Leaming. “It became apparent there was no room at the inn because of the lack of services down there, so they just shut it off.”

    The ODOT hold was lifted at about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

    Semi trucks pulled off to the side of the freeway outside Ashland to wait out the storm or turned onto Highway 99/Siskiyou Boulevard, Leaming said.

    By Wednesday morning, two feet of snow had fallen on Mt. Shasta City, California, in 24 hours.

    “That’s an inch an hour for a full 24 hours,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Shad Keene. “That ranks number two, I think, all-time for 24-hour snowfall for them.”

    Dunsmuir, California, received 18 inches of snow. The Siskiyou Summit received a foot. Closer to home, Jacksonville Hill got four to five inches, with two inches in Shady Cove and on Blackwell Hill. Parts of Gold Hill received anywhere from an inch to three inches.

    The wintry weather prompted school closures in the Rogue River School District, Illinois Valley High School, and Rogue Community College’s Illinois Valley Learning Center.

    Thousands of people in southwest Oregon also woke up without electricity Wednesday. Pacific Power reported 1,118 customers were without power in the Rogue River and Wimer areas Wednesday morning, with 1,406 across Josephine County. Hundreds of Josephine County customers were still without power Wednesday afternoon.

    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

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