The snow that fell steadily on the Rogue Valley floor Tuesday and left many roads glazed with ice is expected to continue into Wednesday.
But forecasters say a brief respite from winter weather is expected later in the week.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for much of Jackson County until 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. A winter storm warning remains in effect for the surrounding hillsides. By late morning, up to 3 more inches of snow could fall in Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass, and up to 18 more inches could fall higher up along the Siskiyou Pass and around Crater Lake.
"Then in the Rogue Valley it should start to lighten up and maybe even stop," said meteorologist Brad Schaaf.
The chance for precipitation diminishes Thursday and Friday, when the county could see some clearing and possibly some sunshine. Nighttime lows are forecast to drop into the 20s and teens Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, meaning drivers should still be cautious because of potential ice slicks on the pavement.
"Wet roads are likely to refreeze," a Weather Service advisory read. "There may also be a period of freezing rain in the valleys late tonight and tomorrow morning as warmer air moves in aloft and snow changes to rain."
Schools from Ashland to Grants Pass were closed Tuesday because of the snowy conditions on local roadways, including all Ashland School District schools and Southern Oregon University campuses in both Ashland and Medford. Recology Ashland waste and recycling collection trucks were unable to service some higher elevation roads Tuesday; an effort will be made Thursday to services those areas, Recology annnounced.
Medford Public Works officials closed McAndrews Road between Tamarack Lane and Hillcrest Road Monday night as a precautionary measure because of ice. The closure remained in effect Tuesday. When it will reopen is not known, according to Medford Public Works director Cory Crebbin.
"It's inconvenient to go around, but it keeps us from closing the road to remove accidents," Crebbin said, adding it's not the first time the steep stretch has been closed because of snow.
Crebbin said weather, the stretch's 16 percent grade and traffic volume on the road all factored into the closure.
Most, if not all, of the 960 miles of roads maintained by Jackson County were icy and snow-covered by Tuesday morning, according to county Roads Department Director John Vial. A plow or two is expected to keep making rounds on county roads closer to the valley floor through the night. But areas higher up, such as Butte Falls Highway, Dead Indian Memorial Road and the Tiller-Trail Highway, aren't treated as regularly, making for more dangerous driving conditions.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies responded to about 12 crashes Monday night into Tuesday morning, though none resulted in significant injuries or property damage.
"We had our fair share of vehicles off the roadway and in the ditch," Capt. Nathan Sickler said.
Chain requirements remained in effect for commercial vehicles on Highway 62 near Prospect, Highway 230 near Crater Lake and on Highway 140 near Lake of the Woods, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Fallen power lines and trees also prompted the closure of the Caves Highway outside Cave Junction. Crews remained on scene Tuesday clearing the debris and snow from the road. By late Tuesday morning, more than 2 feet of snow had fallen in Cave Junction over a 48-hour period, weather officials said.
Crater Lake received more than 20 inches during the same time frame, while close to a foot fell near Diamond Lake.
— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.