Severe winter travel expected in southern Oregon, northern California

Snow plow on I-5 Siskiyou Summit

January 25, 2021

ASHLAND – 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.

Travelers should keep an eye on the forecast and monitor Tripcheck in Oregon and QuickMap in California.

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.

For more information contact ODOT PIO Gary Leaming, 541-621-3074.