Thousands lose power in southern, central Oregon due to snow

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A winter storm dumped snow in southern and central Oregon Sunday, knocking out power for thousands and causing several highway closures.

About 25,000 people lost power in Grants Pass, Medford, Roseburg and elsewhere in southern Oregon, Pacific Power said. Crews worked to quickly restore power, but utility officials said people should be prepared for their electricity to be out until Monday evening.

“Everyone who wears a uniform has been called out this morning. It’s a major incident,” Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt told the Medford Mail-Tribune (http://bit.ly/220uFwZ).

The weather nixed a much-anticipated opening for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, which also suffered a power outage. The ski area’s website said officials hope to open the mountain on Monday.

In central Oregon, nearly 9,000 customers of Midstate Electric Cooperative Inc. lost power, including much of La Pine.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed several stretches of highway because conditions were too dangerous or crews needed time to clear multiple weather-related crashes.

Highways 62, 230 and 138 have been closed in the Diamond Lake area because of blizzard conditions that toppled trees and limited visibility, the Oregon Department of Transportation said. Part of Highway 138 also was closed 12 miles east of Glide because of a landslide. Interstate 5’s northbound lanes south of Canyonville closed for about an hour because of multiple commercial truck crashes in the Canyon Mountain Pass.

“There are just multiple crashes through the district and region,” transportation department spokesman Gary Leaming said. “One of the big problems right now is southern Jackson County around Ashland with snow falling continuously.”

Close to 10 inches of snow was reported in 24 hours in Ashland. Anywhere from 4 to 7 inches was reported in various spots around Medford.

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