Dry, cold air has resulted in clear and sunny days and clear and frigid nights in the Rogue Valley. The clear conditions coincided with a full moon, shown here over the hills west of Medford on Tuesday morning. - Jim Craven

Area's cold will let up slightly

Mornings should be a little less frigid for the next few days, but cold nights are expected to continue through the week, and there could be more fresh snow in the mountains by Thursday.

A mass of arctic air that settled over Southern Oregon Sunday brought colder-than-normal evening temperatures, but the chill fell far short of record lows for the third week in January. Tuesday's low temperature of 22 degrees in Medford at around 8 a.m. was nowhere near the Jan. 22 record of 0 degrees, set in 1962, and the 18 degree low that forecasters were predicting for today is nowhere near the Jan. 23 record of 5 degrees, also set in 1962.

East of the Cascades temperatures were much colder, said Marc Spilde, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Medford. Lakeview recorded a low of 10 degrees Tuesday, but that was warm compared with Klamath Falls (0 degrees) and Alturas, where the low was 7 below zero.

Sunny skies and relatively pleasant afternoon temperatures were expected to continue today, but forecasters were expecting clouds to arrive by evening. The insulating effect of the clouds may hold tonight's temperatures around a relatively moderate 27 degrees.

The good news about the cold is that there's just too little moisture in the air to allow fog to form.

Spilde said another arctic storm is moving south along the British Columbia coast and should reach Southern Oregon by Thursday. Snow levels will begin around 2,800 feet as the storm arrives and drop to around 1,900 feet by Friday morning.

Spilde said the forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of snow in the mountains Thursday; an 80 percent chance Thursday night and a 50 percent chance Friday.

Evening temperatures will stay in the mid- to upper-20s despite cloud cover because of the cold arctic air, Spilde said. More rain could arrive by late Saturday, and snow in the mountains.

Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492 or

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