Oregon chilled by below-freezing temperatures


An arctic air mass that stalled over Oregon spurred officials to open shelters across the state and warn residents about how to handle the extended cold snap.

Nighttime temperatures dipped below freezing in most areas after the cold air moved across the region on Sunday.

Central and Eastern Oregon bore the brunt of the arctic blast.

In the tiny town of Meacham, population 75, temperatures fell to minus 23 early Tuesday, shattering the record of minus-6 set back in 1962.

"Where is that global warming?" asked Meacham resident Georgena Jones.

In Madras, the low Tuesday was 4 degrees, breaking the previous low for the date of 9 set in 1979. Early Wednesday, the temperature in the La Pine area sunk to minus-13 and Sisters was at minus-12,

In Roseburg, the temperature Wednesday morning dipped to 21 degrees, matching a record set in 1969.

Douglas Crince, the program director at the Roseburg Rescue Mission, said the shelter's 52 beds were taken and they added six mats for the overflow.

Cold temperatures also sent 21 adults and children to McMinnville's cold-weather homeless shelter, which can house up to 22 people from November through March.

Volunteers manned two churches in Bend to be sure no one seeking shelter was turned away.

In Portland, the American Red Cross was operating several emergency warming centers for the homeless. The temperature dipped to 19 early Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The Oregon Humane Society was offering tips to keep pets safe from the cold, and State Farm Insurance was educating homeowners about how to protect against cracked pipes.

One casualty of the cold weather? The Portland's famed Benson Bubbler water fountains, which were set to be shut off because of the potential for ice.

The forecast called for more cold temperatures early this morning. A front moving onto the coast by tonight could bring showers to many parts of the state.

More precipitation, and possibly snow as low as the 500-foot level in the Willamette Valley, was expected over the weekend.

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