Many crashes reported on slippery Rogue Valley roads

As of 4:30 p.m. today 100 vehicle crashes had been reported on state highways in Jackson and Josephine counties, according to an official from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

"And that doesn't include all the spin outs that weren't reported," said ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming. "Our dispatch is just swamped."

Leaming said he expects the number of reported crashes to continue climbing throughout the evening.

Leaming wants drivers to "slow down and drive to the conditions," he said.

"I think the first storm of the year does kind of bring out the worst driving behavior," he said. "With this particular storm, we're getting snow in the valley on a Friday afternoon during the commuting time. We're seeing a lot of congestions right now."

Including vehicles with plows, sanders and de-icers, ODOT has 25 working state roads between Grants Pass and Ashland. Two of those vehicles are plows that came to the Rogue Valley from the Diamond Lake and Crater Lake area.

"We're running every unit that we have," he said. "Up on Siskiyou we've been keeping up. ... So far tonight they've been able to keep everything open. We're keeping our fingers crossed."

Chains are required on Siskiyou Pass right now.

The roads will not get better tonight, Leaming said. They will freeze and become even slicker.

The Jackson County Roads Department has its full plowing and sanding crew at work, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported..

There are nine trucks with both plows and sanders on them, as well as five trucks with just plows. These crews will work until 7 p.m. Two additional emergency crews will work overnight. All 14 trucks will be back on the road at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

— Sam Wheeler

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