Over the past several days the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has responded to several calls from northern Klamath County residents needing assistance due to weather related issues.
On Tuesday the 26th, KCSO deputies and Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers helped evacuate three residents who found themselves trapped 3.5 miles from a plowed roadway. One of them was ill, one was injured trying to snowmobile out for help, and the third was a 97 year old resident who remained in the home until help arrived. The North County Search and Rescue Unit, directed by Sergeant Darren Frank, was able to use a Snow Cat, provided by the US Forest Service years ago, to get all stranded residents to a safe location.
At the time of this release (Thursday afternoon) KCSO deputies and volunteers are attempting to reach two additional residents who are stranded and have requested assistance.
The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office wishes to encourage any person who finds themselves in danger due to weather related issues to contact the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office at phone# 541-883-5130 or Klamath County Regional Dispatch (911) for assistance.
Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Ten Counties Due to Severe Winter Storm Conditions
Salem, OR—Governor Brown today declared a state of emergency in ten Oregon counties due to severe winter storm conditions: Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, and Marion. This declaration comes at the request of local officials and is based on the recommendations of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
“As our state and local authorities continue to work hard to clear roads, reconnect power, and ensure the safety of the community, this declaration will provide additional resources and the potential for federal highway system funds in the future,” said Governor Brown. “I urge all Oregonians to follow the recommendations of local authorities, and avoid travel while ODOT crews work on the roads and restore core services.”
Governor Brown’s declaration directs OEM to coordinate the deployment of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oregon State Police, and the Oregon National Guard to support local communities as needed. OEM will facilitate the access and use of state resources, personnel, and equipment to protect communities, property, and the environment, and aid in the recovery from heavy snow and ice accumulation, high winds, flooding, and landslides. The declaration will also enable ODOT to activate the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program to help repair transportation systems. The state of emergency will be in effect for 30 days, unless terminated sooner by the Governor.
You Can Send A Flock Of Yard Flamingos To Someone Special In March
The New Horizon Christian School has a fun and innovative fund raiser for the 6th grade outdoor school. For only $20 you can send a flock of yard flamingos to someone. Specially trained New Horizon Christian School agents will strategically place the flamingos in a yard of your choice. The New Horizon crew takes care of picking up the flamingos afterward as well. Orders are being taken now and here is how to contact the school if you are interested in surprising someone.
From New Horizon Christian School:
Our Flamingo Fundraiser is up and running!! Order a flock for a friend today!!
There are several ways to order!
Mail in an Order form,
Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us at the School 1909 Homedale
Call the flamingo hotline (see graphic below)
Please share this post and help our 6th Grade class attend Outdoor School in Hume Lake!
SNOW DAYS ARE WORK DAYS FOR DISTRICT MAINTENANCE CREW
Unpredictable storm system closes Gilchrist for 3 days; everyone gets Wednesday ‘snow day’
Snow days for students are an unexpected day off – a reprieve from classes and homework. But snow days for the Klamath County School District maintenance crew are just that – days spent plowing and shoveling the white stuff.
A winter storm that shut down highways around the state and dropped several inches snow throughout the county forced the district to close some schools two hours early on Tuesday and cancel classes at all schools Wednesday due to weather and road conditions. The snow day gave the district’s maintenance crew a chance to clear parking lots, roofs and walkways at the district’s 23 schools.
In Gilchrist, in far northern Klamath County, school has been closed since Monday after the storm dumped around two-feet of snow in the area. Bend, Sisters and La Pine schools also were closed. District maintenance workers have spent three days digging the school out – shoveling roofs and clearing parking lots and walkways. Roads in the area are still open, but navigating them is slow-going, said Dennis Zullo, project manager and maintenance supervisor for the school district.
Walkways around the school were bordered by 3-foot-high berms of snow. Steve Prock, principal at Gilchrist Junior-Senior High School, said it started snowing in Gilchrist Sunday and didn’t stop. “Travel was a mess, and a lot of our side streets weren’t plowed,” he said Tuesday afternoon, adding that it was still snowing at that time. On Wednesday, school district maintenance crew members – who start at 3:30 a.m. on snow days – cleared school parking lots throughout the district and then traveled to Gilchrist to finish clearing snow from roofs and the rest of the campus, which includes the elementary and junior-senior high school. KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said this storm system made the decision of whether to delay or close school difficult. “The unpredictable forecast early this week, which vacillated between snow and rain, made it hard to decide whether to delay or cancel,” he said.
On Tuesday, snow began piling up in the outlying areas – Bonanza, Lost River, Merrill, Malin, and Chiloquin – and a decision was made to release those students early. That decision, in part, was based on information from the Oregon Department of Transportation. “As the morning progressed and snow started to accumulate at different rates at different locations, ODOT let us know that they would be able to keep up at some locations and roads would be better late in the day,” Szymoniak said. “We continued school in those locations.” The district relies on its transportation and maintenance departments as well as ODOT for recommendations on school delays or closures. “We look at current conditions as well as the forecast for the upcoming day,” Szymoniak said. “(Monday) we saw the moisture coming on radar.
However, due to temperatures hovering around freezing, there was conflicting information whether it would be rain or snow that fell.” Zullo said the district tries to plow school campuses after 2 inches of snow falls. On Tuesday, it piled up quickly in some of the outlying areas – by the time Lost River and Bonanza schools released on Tuesday, there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.
When schools are delayed or closed, the district calls or texts parents through its One Call Now system, posts the information on its website (www.kscd.k12.or.us) and social media sites and notifies the media. If there is no news, that means schools are operating on their regular schedules.
ROSEBURG- Oregon 138E is still closed east of Glide but ODOT and Pacific Power crews are working to reopen the highway from downed trees and power lines.
Several highway closures remain in effect in Coos and Douglas Counties as winter driving conditions continue in southwest Oregon. I-5 drivers in north Douglas County (MP 154) should expect delays due to tree limbs and other debris near the roadway. Currently, there’s a chain requirement for large trucks (10,000 Gross Vehicle Weight) but that will come off as the morning progresses.
Here are the closures for SW Oregon as of 5:15 a.m.:
* U.S. 101 (MP 344) north of Brookings due to a two-foot sunken grade — no detour (crews working to get it open under gravel later today)
* Oregon 42S between Coquille and Bandon due to high water
* Oregon 138 West between Sutherlin and Elkton (MP 11-24) – trees/power lines
* Oregon 38 west of Elkton between MP 29-37 – trees/power lines
* OR 138 East between MP 17 and 60 (just east of Glide to West Toketee) – trees, rock, power lines
Weather Alert: Moderate To Heavy Snow Possible In Klamath Falls Today
Winter Storm Warning Today
The front that has brought heavy rain and snow to the forecast area has moved south into Northern California and will move back north to bring another round of moderate to heavy snow to areas Tuesday into Wednesday. Precipitation associated with front will push east of the forecast area Wednesday.
The NWS in Medford currently has an internet outage. However they were able to send screen shots of warnings and Klamath Falls is currently under a winter storm warning. About 6-8 inches of wet snow are possible for Klamath Falls today into Wednesday.
Periods of heavy snow expected east of the Cascades to include Klamath Falls, Lakeview, and Highway 97.
Long duration heavy snow event is likely in portions of Siskiyou County, with highest impacts above 3500 feet. The snow level will be right around Mount Shasta City.
This incident happened outside our normal reporting area but we wanted to share it with you anyway because it’s incredible. Today, British Airways flight #492 made a “go around” which is a aborted landing attempt near Gibraltar today. The aircraft encountered turbulent winds as it attempted to land and here are some videos both onboard and from the ground. The aircraft safely diverted to another airport.
Weather Update 2-25-19 1:40pm – Snow Expected Soon High Winds Currently
We have been very busy with numerous weather related incidents locally today. A semi truck has blown over on Highway 140 East, and high winds have snapped several power poles in the Merrill area.
We have been in contact with the NWS in Medford reporting information to them, and they have recently updated us on the immediate forecast for Klamath Falls.
The stalled frontal boundary north of us is expected to be pushed south in a few hours. Late this afternoon we should see about 2-3 inches of snow in blowing conditions. According to the NWS, the visibility in our local area could be very low at times in blowing snow. Snow should arrive in Klamath Falls around 4pm according to a forecaster. We should see some snow into Tuesday morning and then it should change over to rain in the morning after around 10am.
At time of this post winds are gusting up to 42mph at the Klamath Falls airport. Higher gusts have been occurring in the Merrill area and other outlying areas as well.
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Above: A map showing roadway incidents as of 1:54pm 2-25-19.
High Wind Warning
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Medford OR
Issued by National Weather Service Eureka CA
131 PM PST Mon Feb 25 2019
Northeast Siskiyou and Northwest Modoc Counties-Modoc County-
Northern and Eastern Klamath County and Western Lake County-
Central and Eastern Lake County-
Including the cities of Dorris, Macdoel, Tulelake, Adin, Alturas,
Canby, Day, Likely, Lookout, Altamont, Klamath Falls,
131 PM PST Mon Feb 25 2019
...HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM PST THIS EVENING...
The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a High Wind
Warning...which is in effect until 10 PM PST this evening.
* Winds...South 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Occasional
gusts to 70 mph.
* Timing...Winds will be peaking late this morning, then begin
to decrease later this afternoon.
* Locations include...Klamath Falls, Merrill, Tulelake, Lakeview,
Alturas, and surrounding area. This also includes highway 97
from Weed to Klamath Falls, highway 39 and 139 southeast of
Klamath Falls, portions of highway 140, highway 395 from
Lakeview south, and highway 299.
* Impacts...Driving may become extremely difficult, especially
for high profile vehicles. Loose items may be damaged or blown
* View the hazard area in detail at
A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. Travel will be
impacted, especially for high profile vehicles.
Train Disabled Due To Extreme Weather – Amtrak Cancels Service To Klamath Falls Until Wednesday
Rebekah Dodson who also is an instructor at KCC has reported to Klamath Alerts that she is currently stuck in a disabled Amtrak train near Oakridge. Rebekah said the train is currently parked at a Union Pacific maintenance track just east of Oakridge. Rebekah reports there are at least 15 other people onboard from Klamath Falls.
“It has been snowing for 12 hours straight and I would not advise anyone to travel in this area said Rebekah. “There is at least four feet of snow roadside”. “We have auxiliary power, the bathrooms are working, and we have heat”.
Rebekah said a rescue engine is supposed to be on the way to tow them back to Eugene and they are waiting for that happen now. The train has been disabled since about 8pm last night. Rebekah said the engine was damaged by low hanging branches and sustained severe damage which disabled the engine. Rebekah said she believes she will be stuck in Eugene for at least two days after they are towed. She said Amtrak told her service to Klamath Falls is suspended until at least Wednesday.
We are in touch with Rebekah and she said she would update us if anything changes or when they are rescued. Klamath Alerts would like to extend a special thanks to Rebekah for providing this photos and story to us.
Vehicle With Hidden Compartment Contained Half Million In Meth
The Klamath Falls Police Department is dedicated to working with our community to enhance public safety through education, prevention, and enforcement strategies. On February 21, 2019, officers with the Klamath Falls Police Department conducted a traffic stop with a California plated SUV on Highway 97, south of Dan Obrien Way. During the Stop, officers developed a concern that the occupants were transporting methamphetamine inside the vehicle. Officers later gained consent to search the car for illegal drugs.
After noting modifications to the vehicle, indicating a hidden compartment, officers located several large, individually wrapped bundles of suspected methamphetamine. The total amount of methamphetamine seized was approximately 27 pounds. This equates to a street value of close to a half million dollars.
Both occupants, Roger Gutierrez Ayala (DOB 6/25/94) and Fernanda Tores Sanchez (DOB 5/20/99), of Yakima, Washington were lodged at the Klamath County Jail on charges of Unlawful Possession and Delivery of Methamphetamine. Bail was set at $500,000 each.
We wish to thank the Oregon State Police with assistance in this investigation, as well as the citizens of Klamath Falls for adhering to traffic and roadside safety while officers and troopers conducted this investigation.
If you have information about drug transportation within Klamath Falls, please call us at (541) 883-5336.
Image Above: Meth seized during traffic stop February 21st.
Extreme Weather Causing Road Closures & Power Outages
We have just received an alert that the National Park Service is closing Highway 62 near the park, and the park entrance road to headquarters due to blizzard conditions. Highway 58 and 138 remain closed as well. Sections of I-5 near Eugene, to south of Roseburg are closed as well due to a variety of hazardous conditions.
Mon. Feb. 25, 9:45 am – Visiting the park is not recommended today. We are experiencing heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions. Our plows are having difficulty keeping up with the accumulation. Driving into the park could be unsafe or even impossible.
Highway 62 is Temporarily Closed
Mon. Feb. 25, 10:45 am – Highway 62 and the road to Park Headquarters are temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall and deep, blowing drifts. These roads will reopen once snow removal operations can clear two lanes for safe travel.
Conditions in Klamath County could continue to worsen as the stalled front is expected to progress south this afternoon bringing possible snow to our local area.
Pacific Power Reporting Outages
Pacific Power has been reporting outages around the state as seen below in this recent report. Currently 38,507 customers reported without power in Oregon.
The atmospheric river is now over parts of Oregon but a stalled frontal boundary is keeping the bulk of the precipitation north of Klamath Falls.
Above: infrared imagery taken at time of this posting shows Klamath Falls just south of the storm.
We have had several reports of snow falling so fast that it is difficult to see while driving along areas of Highway 97 in the higher elevations north of town. Highway 58 is also currently reported as getting heavy amounts of snow. West of the Cascades large amounts of rain are falling.
The NWS expects the stalled front to get a push south Monday afternoon around 4pm. This means we may see a few hours of snow around that time as the front moves through the local area. Some snow is also possible Tuesday afternoon as the front is expected to retreat back northward.
Expected snowfall amounts have recently been revised for the Klamath Falls area and it no longer looks like we will see the 4-6 inches that were advertised earlier with this storm. According to a weather forecaster in Medford, Klamath Falls may possibly see 1-2 inches of snow Monday afternoon starting somewhere around 4pm if the front pushes south as they expect.
As always we will update with more information as it becomes available.