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Travelers should be alert for wet, but changeable weather

A string of storms is expected to bring soggy weather to Southern Oregon this Thanksgiving and beyond.

The first storm will slide in from offshore Thursday, bringing rain across the region, said Connie Clarstrom, a senior forecaster at the Medford office of the National Weather Service. While precipitation will be heaviest on the coast and into Douglas County, it's expected to begin falling in Medford by Thursday evening and to continue overnight.

Another low pressure system will push more rain in on Friday, which likely will be wet all day in the Rogue Valley, Clarstrom said.

On Saturday, a front is predicted to come in from the north, bringing cooler temperatures and possibly lowering snow levels, she said. The forecast, however, notes that while that mass of cold air out of Canada will chill northern and central Oregon, it is uncertain how far south it will spread.

"If showers continue, we could get some snow on the mountains and the Northern Cascade passes," Clarstrom said. 

The coldest temperatures will come after most precipitation moves through that region, although Willamette Pass and other northern passes could see 2 to 6 inches of snow and some potentially challenging travel conditions.

On Sunday, warm, moist air aloft is predicted to move in to Southern Oregon and Northern California from the southwest. If cold air lingers on the ground, that storm could deliver some snow down to elevations of 5,000. That's still above Siskiyou Summit's 4,310-foot elevation, but that pass and areas around Mount Shasta could see a rain and snow mix.

"There's a chance for messy travel," Clarstrom said.

With so many weather systems coming in from so many different directions, "it's a challenging forecast," she said.

Forecasters will be watching changing conditions closely and updating their predictions throughout the long weekend, so travelers are advised to check in regularly for the latest details, she said.