Waiting for the sun: First week of 2017 delivers new record low and new record snow


EUGENE, Ore. - Jack Frost nipping at your nose? You're not alone.

The mercury didn't rise above 40 F in first full week 2017 at the Eugene Airport.

And the New Year has thus far delivered both a new record low - and a new record for snow - to town.

The weather comes on the heels of a disastrous December ice storm. FEMA is scheduled to visit town this coming week to review the nearly $9.5 million in damage sustained by public utilities and local governments as a result of the December 14 ice event.

Eugene Public Works hadn't yet finished clearing ice storm debris from the streets when snow started falling Wednesday, January 4.

And whereas the December ice storm kicked winter break off to an early start, the January snow storm extended the break: students in the Eugene 4J School District last attended classes December 14; they returned for a day on Friday, January 6.

Record cold gripped the region after the snow, delaying the melt. The mercury plunged to 13 F both Thursday and Friday The previous record low temperature for January 5 was 15 F, set back in 1924.

With the snow still on the ground and many roads still slick, forecasters issued a Winter Storm Warning for Saturday, January 7.

The prediction: less than an inch of rain, followed by up to a half inch of ice.

The reality: a record-setting dump of 4.5 inches at the Eugene Airport, besting the previous record of 2 inches set back in 1901.

The freezing rain and ice arrived, too - and stuck around: early predictions that warm air would bring the temperature above freezing overnight into Sunday didn't materialize.

Travelers found themselves stranded at the airport Saturday.

Forecasters canceled the Winter Storm Warning - and replaced it with an Ice Storm Warning in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday.

Roads remained slick.

RELATED | Ice turns I-5 into skating rink

Forecasters say warmer air is up there, above 1,500 feet - but the cold air remains trapped in the valley.

So the region's DJs could be forgiven if a particular classic from The Doors seems appropriate, given the situation.

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