Strong winds cause damage and power outages across the Rogue Valley

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore. – It was a whirlwind of a day for emergency crews and airport workers.

As strong winds caused havoc in some parts of the valley.

If you were traveling at the Medford Airport, you may have been stuck in line for a while Wednesday.

Strong winds forced a partial power outage that lasted just over an hour, even delaying at least four flights.

Boarding passes had to be hand-written, because computers weren’t working during the outage.

TSA was only partially operational as well.

“Everything went down initially,” interim airport director Amber Judd said. “We did get our backup generators up and running which gives up partial power but not full power. So everything did slow down considerably and the power did just come back up so we are up and running.”

Power also knocked out for over an hour at the Medford Center, home of Tinseltown, Safeway, Rite Aid and many other businesses.

Pacific Power said around 11 A.M., the time of the outage, that 2,000 customers had lost power in the Jackson County area, but that number has fluctuated throughout Wednesday.

Further north, Rural Metro said power lines came down in the Colonial Valley area, north of Grants Pass, in several places.

One line even hit a FedEx truck, with the driver stuck in the vehicle for at least an hour.

“Due to electrical waves going through vehicles, fences and tree limbs, the ground, it’s best for the people involved in the vehicle to stay inside that vehicle rather than try to exit,” Rural Metro spokesperson Austin Prince said.

Rural Metro said the driver made it out and is safe.

Over the air viewers in Grants Pass may not be able not receive KMVU Fox 26. 

It shared this photo of their transmitter, damaged from the wind. 

It said the damage is catastrophic, and is working on repairs. 

Photos show some damage earlier Wednesday in Medford.

At East Main Street and Eastwood Drive, the city had to detour traffic. 

Jackson County’s road department has also responded to over a dozen down trees.

But they expect more downed trees and power lines during this windstorm and are asking people to avoid travel on county roads if possible.

The county said never attempt to move a downed power line or tree on roadways.

Instead, call their dispatch non-emergency line at 541-776-7206 to report it.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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