The last winter storm in December left hundreds of Eugene residents with frozen or burst pipes. That means more work for plumbers and utility workers, but the costs can be expensive for homeowners or renters. Joe Harwood is the Communications Coordinator for the Eugene Water and Electric Board. He has some tips for keeping your pipes from freezing.

The arrival of this week's winter storm may be difficult for businesses, but it's a boost for Oregon ski resorts.

It's been hard for Hoodoo Manager Mathew McFarland to trust the weather forecasts this year.

McFarland: "They've been saying we'll get, you know, three feet of snow; we get zero. They say expect no snow accumulation, and we get a foot or two. So, it's hard to say."

Last week's record lows will mean higher-than-normal utility bills for Eugene Water and Electric Board customers. The cold also wreaked havoc on plumbing for many residents.

EWEB Public Affairs Manager Lance Robertson says between 70 to 80 percent of homes in the area are heated by electricity. He says EWEB noticed a 30% increase over a five day period compared to average usage.

Robertson: "Whenever temperatures drop to a really extreme temperature, people are going to use more electricity no matter how much insulation they have in their house."

The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest retail shopping time of the year.  But this month’s unusually cold weather is keeping people indoors – hurting some businesses in the Eugene-Springfield area. Other businesses, though, are seeing a boost.

City of Eugene

A water line broke Monday at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Fire officials believe the rupture was caused by the unusually cold temperatures.  

Eugene-Springfield Fire Department’s Lance Lighty says the water line was located in the ceiling above the 4th floor.

Lighty:   “They were able to get the water shut off, and then contain it to the 4th floor.  It did drop a bunch of ceiling tiles and got some furniture and stuff wet.  But it sounds like they got the computers and stuff moved out of the area, so there was no damage there.”

Frosty Temperature Will Soon Ease

Dec 9, 2013

The South Willamette Valley has experienced record setting lows this past week.

The area hasn’t felt anything this low since the early 1970s. With recorded temperatures reaching minus  10, some residents are fearful that the current frost will continue. Meteorologist Matthew Cullen is with the National Weather Service in Portland.

“Temperatures will gradually be increasing. So we’re still going to be on the cold side for the next few days, but will gradually coming back towards where we should be, kind of normal for this time of year.”


Yesterday's (Friday's) winter storm kept The Oregon Department of Transportation busy. Snowy and Icy conditions caused multiple fender benders and some crashes. An overturned semi-truck with multiple trailers delayed drivers for hours on Highway 126 near Mapleton. And a chain requirement was issued for multiple sections of I-5. O-D-O-T Spokesman Rick Little says freezing temperatures will keep the snow pack on the ground thru the weekend. 


Winter weather has arrived in and the Eugene Police Department has some tips on driving in snowy and icy conditions. The first tip is SLOW Down. Melinda McLaughlin is E-P-D's Public Information Officer. She says even if you drive a truck of S-U-V, conditions can be deceiving.

HooDoo Resort

Winter conditions may mean bad news for businesses and drivers, but its good news for Oregon ski resorts. A lack of precipitation has kept some resorts reluctant to announce an opening date. Mt. Bachelor near Bend is open with 3 lifts operational, although people are encouraged to stay on groomed runs due to early season conditions. Snow is falling at HooDoo as well. Office and ticket manager Daidre Streeter says they need about 25 more inches to open.

‘Tis the season for cold, and by Friday, arctic air might mix with moisture to bring snow to the Willamette Valley.

Steve Pierce is with the American Meteorological Society. He says this week’s chilly weather has been heading our way from Alaska.

Pierce: “That’s now sliding down across the entire Willamette Valley today and will be in place by this evening. People will notice the temperatures will drop substantially tonight as colder drier air moves over the area.”