'Tricky travel' ahead


    This National Park Service photo shows snow cornices from Garfield Peak in Crater Lake National Park.

    Stale air out. Rain, snow and wind in.

    That’s the basic weather forecast for southwest Oregon and parts of Northern California this weekend, with up to 16 inches of new snow at higher elevations by Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

    “There’ll be a few weak systems that come through (Thursday) and (Friday), but the rain associated with those is really going to be along the coast and north of Jackson County, more up toward the Roseburg area,” said NWS meteorologist Misty Firmin. “And then we’ll have those stronger fronts.”

    The first front is expected to arrive Saturday, bringing heavy rain and snow.

    “That one’s going to be a bigger deal because we’ll be seeing some pretty strong winds with it,” Firmin said. “Snow levels will be down to around 3,500 feet, so it’ll be tricky travel for places south of Medford, so Siskiyou Summit down into the Mount Shasta area.”

    “Plows may not be able to keep up with the snow at times,” said a NWS press release, adding that strong winds will make travel difficult, especially for drivers traveling in high-profile vehicles.

    By Monday morning, 14 to 16 inches of new snow is estimated for Mount Ashland and Crater Lake, with 10 to 14 inches for the Mount Shasta area. Elevations of 3,500 to about 6,000 feet could see anywhere from 8 to 10 inches. On the valley floors, Medford could see up to a half inch of rain, with up to three-fifths of an inch in Ashland, and up to three-quarters of an inch outside the Rogue Valley.

    Winds in the valley could reach sustained speeds Saturday of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph, Firmin said. Winds are expected to weaken slightly Sunday.

    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.






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