Mt Pisgah Arboretum

The 1999 fire that burned Mt. Pisgah grasslands also benefited the site by eradicating poison oak. Similarly, the winter storm earlier this month both damaged and enhanced the Lane County arboretum.  Tom LoCascio, Mt. Pisgah site manager, says the deciduous forest got hit:

LoCascio:  “We saw a lot of tops breaking out of trees.  It seemed like the oaks in particular took it pretty hard, and some of the big leaf maples as well.”

In assessing damage, LoCascio says, sometimes we consider only the individual species, the single oak tree,

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Benton County has opened the barns at its Fairgrounds to animals in need of refuge from high water conditions.

Osborn: "We don’t know that it will get any worse, but we don't know that it won't."

Those words from Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn about the potential for high water over the next few days.  Osborn says melting snow and rain have caused some pastures in the county to flood and at least one barn collapsed under the recent snow.

Rachael McDonald

It will take time to determine the long-term economic impacts of the extreme weather that hit the region this past week. But there are some immediate effects we can observe.

Monday was the first day many area residents were able to emerge from their homes after two snowstorms and freezing rain caused downed trees, power outages and treacherous road conditions. Dave Hauser, President of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, says a lot of people waited out the storm and businesses and events lost revenue.

Karen Richards

With ice and snow melting, Eugene Public Works has converted its plows to dump trucks. Crews are busy responding to hundreds of reports of trees and branches on local streets.

Eric Jones is with Eugene Public Works. He says their first priority is to clear roads of debris, which he hopes will be done by Wednesday.

Jones: "And then, eventually, we will come through and clean things up nice and tidy, even finish by sweeping, but that's probably a week or more out."


The northwest is in for another arctic blast this week. Snow is likely this weekend in the lower elevations, including the south Willamette Valley.

Andy Bryant is with the National Weather Service in Portland. He says it will be very cold this week in Oregon. In the Willamette Valley daytime highs will be in the low to mid 30s Wednesday and Thursday. He says overnight lows will be in the teens.

Several wildfires sparked overnight in the Oregon coast range and Cascade foothills. The National Weather service has issued a rare January Red Flag Warning for the region.

Trina Hartley is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.  She says strong easterly winds encouraged the small blazes. A few are in the Cascades in southern Oregon But there were also several fires in the coast range.

Hartley: "On the coast in particular it's hard to get a fire started in July so to have these fire starts in January is extremely rare."

Rachael McDonald

The South Willamette Valley has been blanketed in fog and clouds with an air stagnation advisory in place for more than a week.

At the Oregon Coast Monday, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid-50s. Meanwhile Eugene-Springfield has been encased in fog and clouds with temperatures barely edging above 40.

Ski Industry Praying For Snow After Record Dry Year

Jan 3, 2014
Mt Bachelor Ski Resort

2013 was a record dry year in Eugene and Medford [Oregon]. Many areas around the region have gotten half of their average snowfall or less. That’s got Northwest ski resorts, many of which haven’t even opened yet, nervously waiting for snow. So are thousands of workers and retailers who depend on the ski season. And, there’s little relief in sight.


2013 was a really dry year for Oregon. Climate scientists at Oregon State University say it was the driest on record for Eugene despite a soggy September.

Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU Kathie Dello says Eugene saw less than half of its normal precipitation this year. Dello says September brought a lot of rain but not enough to make up for the rest of the year. The snow-storm in early December was very dry. Dello spoke by cell from a ski trip in the Cascades.

Rachael McDonald

The snow storm and sub-freezing temperatures that hit the South Willamette Valley this month cost the City of Eugene about $125-thousand. Public Works is still cleaning up from the event.


Crews were on the job 24 / 7 for 7 days according to Eugene Public Works spokesman Eric Jones. Weather forecasters didn't predict the 8 inches of snow that fell in Eugene Friday December 6th, followed by temperatures that plummeted as low at minus 10. Many streets were covered in ice for a full week. Jones says the costs added up fast.

Public Colleges & Universities

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.

Lane County:
Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner has canceled his Community Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Cottage Grove Community Center

• Lane Council of Governments - LCOG - Meals on Wheels in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Cafe 60 Dining Rooms in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Posted: Wed. 11th, 07:45 AM

City of Eugene:

Winter Weather Closure Information For Tuesday

Dec 9, 2013

University of Oregon:
 UO will resume its regular schedule Tuesday morning at 8.

Oregon State University:
Campus reopens at 9am Tuesday.

Lane Community College:
Lane Community College:  LCC Eugene and Cottage Grove locations opening at noon: 8 and 10 a.m. finals will be rescheduled. 12 p.m. finals will be on time. Florence center open.

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.”

‘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.”

This weekend is expected to end with a storm followed by a cold snap. Overnight lows are forecast to drop into the teens next week.

Rain and wind are expected to hit late Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. If you're traveling over the Cascades and coast range Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Cullen says be prepared for heavy rain.

Cullen: "But we do think it will stay rain until very late Sunday evening. If you're driving back Monday definitely some accumulating snow is very possible so definitely be aware and be alert for those conditions."


A strong storm hit the northwest Thursday morning, knocking out power for more than 10,000 customers, including Portland International Airport.

A microburst of wind is blamed for destroying a barn in Polk County. Heavy rain dumped an average of one-third of an inch in a short period of time.

Steve Pierce is President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. He says the weekend is looking good.

Winter Forecast Calls For Volatile Weather

Oct 25, 2013
OR Meteorological Society

Weather experts are gathering this weekend in Portland to give their long-range winter forecasts.
This winter has neither an El Nino nor a La Nina pattern. That is, it won't be warmer or cooler than usual. However, Steve Pierce, President of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society, says it may mean more *interesting weather:

Pierce: "The valley locations from Portland down to say Eugene and Medford can actually see some of their biggest snowfall totals during the winter. And you can also see some of the more volatile weather in these neutral years."

Japanese Earthquake Will Not Cause Tsunami Here

Oct 25, 2013
OR Office of Emergency Management

At around 10 am today (Friday), a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck off the Japanese coast. Experts say there is no danger for a tsunami to hit the West Coast.

Althea Rizzo is with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. She says it's entirely possible the event was related to the 2011 Japanese earthquake:


The weekend brought two heavy rainstorms through western Oregon. The rain made this the wettest September on record in many parts of the state.

Eugene's rainfall was measured at more than 6 inches. The previous record for the month of September was about 5.5 inches in the late 1800s. Astoria got more than 10, also breaking its record for the month.

Andy Bryant is a hydrologist with the national Weather Service in Portland. He says two storms came through this weekend.