Snow possible on Rogue Valley floor by Tuesday night

Snow could pile up in the mountains of Southern Oregon and even drop into the Rogue Valley as a string of storms moves in off the ocean this week, weather forecasters say.

The National Weather Service office in Medford has issued a winter weather advisory tonight through Wednesday in the Cascades and Siskiyous. A winter storm watch is set to go into effect across Jackson County on Tuesday night.

A warm front is expected to move inland late today between 10 p.m. and midnight, bringing precipitation across the region, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ottenweller said. Rain will spread inland from the coast and heavy snow could fall in the mountains, although snow levels will remain high for this time of year, he explained.

Ten to 18 inches of new snow is expected above 5,500 feet late this evening through late Tuesday evening, the winter weather advisory said. Five to 10 inches is expected down to 4,500 feet. Effects on the Siskiyou Summit should be limited through Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening, cold air will push in from the northwest, dropping snow levels across the region.

"The question is how low will it go," Ottenweller said.

The storm watch will be in effect above 2,000 feet, but snow is expected at elevations down to 1,500 and possibly all the way to the valley floor, he said. The watch predicts 3 to 5 inches of snow above 2,000 feet and up to 3 inches at lower elevations.

Northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph make blowing and drifting snow possible at all elevations as the cold front moves in Tuesday night.

Snow is likely to continue off and on through Wednesday, then taper off on Thursday. However, cold temperatures will linger, the forecast reports. On Thursday highs are expected to remain in the 30s and overnight lows could dip to around 20 degrees in areas of the Rogue Valley, Ottenweller said.

— Anita Burke

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