Summary: A major winter storm is expected to ramp up around 4pm today and mainly impact Northern California. I-5, Highway 97, and possibly others may have to be closed due to life threatening conditions. For Klamath Falls we are currently forecast to see 1-2 inches of snow and 40mph or higher winds later this afternoon and evening. The storm is also expected to bring much needed snow to the higher elevations of Oregon (see graphic above for more details).
If you plan to travel in the areas of Northern California it is recommended you conclude travel by 4pm today. You will likely become stranded in those areas otherwise.
A major winter storm will arrive Tuesday afternoon and evening. This storm could produce very heavy snow in the Mt. Shasta area with 1 inch per hour rates for at least 12 hours with periods of 2 inch per hour rates. Heavy snow is also expected in the Etna and Fort Jones area as well as other portions of western Siskiyou County and in higher elevations of Josephine County. If you are in these areas, be done traveling by 4 PM at the latest, then stay home. Traveling in these areas will be dangerous if not impossible. Elsewhere, travel is discouraged, but if you must travel, take your emergency kit with you.
Drivers traveling over southwest Oregon mountain passes, including those on Interstate 5, should prepare for severe winter driving conditions Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday due to heavy snow and blizzard conditions, especially if traveling into northern California.
National Weather Service forecasts call for blizzard conditions and up to 3 feet of snow in the Shasta Valley and Mt. Shasta City area and 4-to-6 inches on I-5 Siskiyou Summit and the I-5 passes north of Grants Pass as well as U.S. 199 Hayes Hill. On Oregon 42, up to 3 inches are forecast on Camas Mountain.
Drivers traveling on the Interstate 5 and U.S. 97 and U.S. 199 corridors into southern Oregon and northern California should be aware and prepare for the severe conditions.
Heavy snow events quickly overwhelm resources. Given the forecast, ODOT and Caltrans will likely need to stop traffic at Ashland and Redding to ensure public safety and to make sure they have accommodations such as food, fuel and motels.
“We want travelers to be prepared and safe and not stuck on the roadway. When that happens we can’t plow the snow and everything shuts down,” said ODOT Interim District Manager Jeremiah Griffin.
Snow levels and storm tracks can vary, so be aware of the changing conditions.
Other winter driving tips include:
- Delay travel if possible
- Plan for delays if you must travel
- Carry tire chains and know how to install them
- Start off with a full tank of gas
- Have snacks and food
- Be sure to have blankets, coat, gloves and hat
- Bring cell phone charger.
Full list of Winter Driving Tips, including video on how to drive the southern Oregon I-5 corridor, can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/pages/winter-driving.aspx.