Drivers had to creep along an icy Foothill Road Wednesday morning after snow covered the Rogue Valley Christmas night. Forecasters say foothills in Jackson County may get 2 to 5 inches of additional snow today. - Bob Pennell

From snow to rain

A smattering of snow on the Rogue Valley's floor likely will be swept away by winter rains today, but the storm should continue to dump snow in the mountains.

The National Weather Service's Medford office predicted isolated snow showers between 4 and 10 a.m. today. A snow advisory for the region was canceled Wednesday afternoon.

Scattered snow showers could deliver about an inch of snow at elevations above 1,000 feet, the weather service's "winter weather message" said.

A storm system moving in off the Pacific was expected to slide into the region during the early-morning hours today, meteorologist Marc Spilde said. While it will bring moisture, it also will bring slightly warmer air, pushing snow levels up.

Valley dwellers could wake up to snow in places, but by noon the snow level will have risen to 2,000 feet, he said. Snow levels will continue to rise through the afternoon, hitting about 2,500 feet before dipping back to 2,000 feet when night falls.

Foothills could collect 2 to 5 inches of snow in Jackson County today, while Douglas and Josephine counties could get 3 to 9 inches, the weather service reported.

In the mountains, including at Crater Lake, Howard Prairie and the Siskiyou Summit, scattered showers were expected to deliver less than 2 inches overnight. As the front moves through today, an accumulation of 8 to 16 inches is expected at those upper elevations, the weather service said.

Scattered snow showers dusted all elevations when a cold front swept across Southern Oregon on Christmas Day. A light rain that froze and was then covered with snow created slippery conditions Wednesday morning.

Another snow shower moved through Medford Wednesday morning, powdering the Medford airport with 11/2 inches of snow, Spilde said. Across the valley, Wednesday's snowfall ranged from about half an inch to 3 inches, with the foothills in east Medford reporting the most snow locally, Spilde said. Eagle Point reported 2 inches of snow.

Fire and police departments across the valley reported numerous fender benders and cars sliding into ditches, but no serious crashes Wednesday morning.

Medford police sent out an early-morning warning Wednesday asking people to limit unnecessary driving, but noted that public works crews, which were called out on Christmas night, were working to keep streets as safe as possible. The Medford Fire Department called on additional four-wheel-drive vehicles to ensure they could reach houses on the flanks of Roxy Ann Peak where valley snow accumulation was deepest.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reported Wednesday morning that 2 inches of new snow had fallen overnight on the Siskiyou Pass, and crews kept Interstate 5 open over the mountains. A trace of new snow fell during the day Wednesday. Travelers must carry chains and should expect icy spots, packed snow and limited visibility, the department warned.

Drivers not prepared for winter weather caused crashes that restricted traffic on Highway 199 near Grants Pass and closed I-5 at Sexton Pass about 15 miles north of Grants Pass for nearly four hours early Wednesday, ODOT officials said. A jack-knifed truck was removed and the highway reopened about 8 a.m.

Chains are required on large and towing vehicles traveling on Highway 140 between Medford and Klamath Falls and on the Greensprings Summit on Highway 66, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported. Links to the latest road reports from Oregon and California are available at

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail

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