More cold, wet weather headed this way

Tuesday's cold, wet weather may have been just a taste of what's still to come.

Today's clearing skies will enable a sharp drop in temperatures overnight, bringing a danger of freezing to sensitive plants in the Rogue Valley, the National Weather Service said.

Then, over the Easter weekend, a string of strong, late-season storms will bring wind, rain and snow to the region, possibly causing travel troubles on mountain highways.

The Medford office of the weather service has issued a freeze watch for tonight. It warns that overnight low temperatures will fall into the mid to upper 20s around sunrise Thursday morning. Temperatures below 28 degrees are expected to persist for three hours or more at many locations across the Rogue, Applegate and Illinois valleys.

These freezing temperatures could damage early-blooming fruit trees and other sensitive plants.

A weekend's worth of storms will start rolling in on Friday, a special weather statement said.

The first cold front will bring strong, gusty winds from southerly directions. Winds could gust 40 to 60 mph in the Rogue Valley, as well as in the surrounding mountains, east of the Cascades, along the coast, and in the Shasta Valley, the statement said.

Moderate to heavy precipitation is expected during the day, as snow levels drop from near 4,000 feet to about 2,000 feet. The Cascades and Siskiyous are expected to receive 4 to 12 inches of snow by Friday evening.

A second storm is predicted to arrive on Easter Sunday and linger until Monday. It is expected to have less wind, but more precipitation, especially at the coast and in California, than the first storm. Interstate 5 near Mount Shasta could be plagued with accumulating snow, the weather statement warns.

The weather service will continue to refine the weekend forecast.

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