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Doak Mountain

Doak Mountain on Highway 140 West was covered in snow, as seen in this webcam photo taken at 4:12 p.m. Tuesday.

A winter snowstorm that blew into the Klamath Basin Tuesday brought hazardous holiday driving conditions that are forecast to continue through this morning.

The National Weather Service’s Medford office is forecasting more snow showers, mostly before 11 a.m. today, with accumulation of an additional 1 to 2 inches possible. The high is expected to reach about 31 degrees.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 4 p.m. today, advising “Winds may cause near white-out conditions at times.” Within the Klamath Basin, forecasters are expecting 4 to 12 inches of total snow by tonight.

Winds are expected to calm down today to between 8 and 14 miles per hour going southwest and gusts up to 21 miles per hour. On Tuesday, forecasters expected 20 to 30 mile per hour winds with 30 to 50 mile per hour gusts.

Into Wednesday night there is a 20% change of more snow showers with a low of 16 degrees. Forecasters say winds will further slow down at night to about 5 miles per hour.

Travel conditions

For those hoping to hit the road today before Thanksgiving, Brett Lutz with the National Weather Service in Medford suggested waiting until the late morning to allow for snow rates and winds to diminish and crews to treat the roads.

The National Weather Service states, “If you must travel, keep tire chains, a flashlight, blankets, food, water, medications, and a fully charged phone with you. The safest place during a winter storm is indoors.”

In Klamath Falls, light snow flurries are expected on and off throughout the day.

Further north toward Modoc Point and Chemult, forecasters are expecting up to 2 inches of snowfall Wednesday.

With the temperatures staying below freezing, Lutz said Tuesday’s accumulation isn’t likely to melt soon in untreated areas. The soonest temperatures are forecasted to reach above freezing is Saturday, however, another weather system is scheduled to move into the area that day. Lutz doesn’t see the weekend storm affecting Klamath Falls much, though.

“A Winter Storm Warning means that severe winter weather is imminent, and poses a threat to life and property. Take protective action now,” the NWS stated in its warning issued Tuesday, which is effective through Wednesday afternoon.

Highway closures

Oregon 255 was closed Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. north of Brookings between mileposts 355 and 362 due to trees and power lines down on the roadway with flaggers doing traffic control. No estimate was available Tuesday afternoon for when the highway would be back open.

Chains were required on I-5 North and southbound near the Siskyiou Summit between mileposts 0 and 13 for all vehicles except 4x4s south of Ashland Tuesday afternoon. ODOT warned, “{span}Be prepared for wind, low visibility and otherwise winter driving conditions when traveling on I-5 corridor in southwest Oregon and northern California.”{/span}

At around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, ODOT closed three more Cascade mountain highways due to zero visibility and blizzard conditions, Highway 138 east of Roesburg closed at Toktee (MP 61) through the junction with Highway 97, and Highways 62 and 230 closed at Prospect (MP 43) north through Union Creek to Diamond Lake junction. ODOT had no estimation of when the highways would reopen as of Tuesday afternoon.

ODOT advises, “{span}Monitor Tripcheck in Oregon and Quickmap in California for the latest and changing travel conditions.”{/span}