Snow, high winds in the forecast; travel may be difficult; emergency shelter open
By Bert Etling, Ashland.news
Moderate to heavy snow is expected Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning in Southern Oregon areas above 1,500 elevation, according to a winter storm warning issued late Sunday by the National Weather Service and reinforced by an “urgent winter weather message” Monday afternoon.
A winter storm warning “means that severe winter weather is likely and poses a threat to life and property,” NWS said. “Take protective action now.”
The warning is effective from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday in areas including Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.
Total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches are expected in the band from 1,500 to 3,000-foot elevation. Most of Ashland is in the 1,900 to 2,100-foot range. Up to a foot of snow accumulation is expected above 3,000, and 1 to 3 inches below 1,500 feet.
Winds will gust at speeds as high as 45 mph at higher terrains, and up to 35 mph at lower elevations, NWS said.
Travel could be “very difficult to impossible above 1,500 feet,” the warning says. “Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.”
NWS says travel is strongly discouraged because of dangerous conditions, and that those who must travel should keep tire chains, a flashlight, blankets, food, water, medications, and a fully charged phone with them.
The high Tuesday is forecast to be 44 degrees, but the temperature is expected to fall to around 34 by 11 a.m. Morning rain is expected to give way to afternoon snow, with perhaps an inch accumulating. Winds of 16 to 22 mph could gust to 33 mph.
Tuesday nights low is expected to be about 26, with 1 to 3 inches of snow fall.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s highs are projected to be 37, 38 and 44, respectively, with overnight lows of 27, 19 and 20.
The city of Ashland has opened a severe weather emergency shelter at 48 5th St. Tuesday through Thursday nights, Feb. 21 through 23.
The shelter opens at 5 p.m. each evening. Doors close for the night at 9 p.m., with lights out 10 p.m. This is a no-frills shelter, which means individuals should plan on providing their own bedding. Well-behaved pets are welcome. The shelter closes at 9 a.m.
For additional information, contact community volunteer Avram Sacks of Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) at 541-220-7307 or 541-631-2235. The shelter is operated by OHRA for the city of Ashland.
To sign up for text alerts with shelter information, text 97520SHELTER to 888777.Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at email@example.com or call or text him at 541-631-1313.