Southern Oregon's record dry spell is likely to get a soaking this weekend, with as much as half an inch of rain predicted to fall by Sunday, weather officials said.
A potent wave of moisture from a Pacific front is moving toward the mainland. A majority of the heavy rains will hit the Oregon Coast, but significant precipitation also is expected inland.
Light rains are predicted to start falling as early as Friday night, and up to a half-inch could fall in parts of Jackson County Saturday and Sunday.
"It is four days out. Some of the details might change," said Misty Duncan, National Weather Service meteorologist.
Winds of 5 to 10 mph with gusts up to 18 mph could hit the Rogue Valley Saturday morning, the weather service said.
"It doesn't really look too gusty for us in the valley," Duncan said.
Farther up in the Cascades and Siskiyous, sustained wind speeds could reach 40 mph, with even higher gusts, according to a special weather statement from the weather service.
Some snow is expected to fall on the Cascade passes before the system arrives, thanks to a cold front moving through the area today.
Snow levels will drop from 5,000 feet to 3,000 feet today. Up to 4 inches are possible on Cascade passes by this afternoon. Snow levels are expected to rise to 7,000 feet Friday. The weekend system will drop snow levels back down to 3,500 feet by Sunday.
Travel on the Siskiyou Summit on Interstate 5, along with highways 140, 97, 138 and 62, could be disrupted by the storm. The Crater Lake and Diamond Lake recreation areas also are expected to see heavy accumulations.
Over the weekend, daytime temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to low-40s in Medford, with near-freezing temperatures overnight. Some fog is expected to roll back into the Rogue Valley Monday.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com.