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Did it stick at your house?

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

If the big chef in the sky mixes up just the right combination of cold air and precipitation, the Willamette Valley could see a second snow day today.

Forecasts called for snow levels to hover at the valley floor overnight Thursday and into the early morning hours today.

Predictions called for as much as 4 inches of snow above 500 feet, and 1 to 2 inches below that elevation.

"We're going to be right on the edge all the way through tomorrow morning as far as getting snow down to the valley floor," weather service hydrologist Andy Bryant said Thursday.

"Snow is always an unusual thing here," Bryant said. "It's difficult to get that combination of cold air and rain."

The mix was just right Thursday.

A blend of snow and rain began falling in Lane County about midnight. It was snowing in earnest by 5 a.m., with as much as 3 inches accumulating at 1,000 feet in the county, Bryant said.

School started late - or not at all - for hundreds of Lane County children thanks to an overnight snowstorm that laid down a thin blanket of white across the region.

Classes were canceled at schools in the Crow-Applegate-Lorane District. Oakridge Head Start also was canceled.

McKenzie and Lowell schools started two hours late, as did Camp Creek, Mohawk and Walterville elementary schools in the Springfield district.

School bus service was not available at some higher elevations.

Fat snowflakes started falling again later in the afternoon, dusting the area with another coat of white.

The winter weather wasn't limited to Lane County. The National Weather Service issued a snow advisory from Eugene as far north as Castle Rock, Wash. It also reached into Central Oregon.

A winter storm warning was in effect for the Cascades and other outlying areas of Eugene, reaching from Cottage Grove and Oakridge to the Columbia River as well as the Cascades in southern Washington. The winter storm warning also applied to the Coast Range, from Walton north to the Columbia River. A high surf advisory was in effect for the Oregon and Washington coasts.

The weather service expected 2 to 3 feet of snow to fall in the Oregon Cascades by this morning. Wind speeds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph made travel even more difficult.

On Thursday, heavy snowfall and poor visibility prompted the conditional closure of Highway 58 from just east of Oakridge to the Crescent Lake Junction.

All vehicles were required to use chains, regardless of the type of vehicle or tire being used, the state Department of Transportation said. State troopers turned away cars traveling without chains.

Transportation officials recommended people avoid driving over the central and northern Oregon Cascades while the storm lasted. Those who must should carry a winter survival kit with food and water. Stranded motorists should stay with their cars.

Farther south, a heavy snow warning applied to Southern Oregon west of Grants Pass to the California border and into Northern California, west of Yreka. A snow advisory also included most of Northern California and western Nevada.

Although snow in Western Oregon is rare, the timing of this storm is not terribly surprising, Bryant said.

"Even though people would like to think we're going into spring, it is still officially winter," he said.

SCHOOL CLOSURES?

Listen to local radio stations or check www.register guard.com or the following Web sites:

Lane, Linn and Benton county schools: www.valleyinfo.net

Eugene School District: www.4j.lane.edu

ROAD REPORTS

Department of Transportation: www.tripcheck .com

CAPTION(S):

Jill Torres, 17, scrapes snow off her windshield in front of her south Eugene home. A pickup and a van sit crumpled on Lawrence Road near Butler Road after a crash occurred during Thursday morning's snowfall. Apparently no one was seriously hurt, although a woman and her daughter were checked for injuries at the hospital. Kevin Clark / The Register-Guard
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Weather
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
Words:661
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