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Cold temperatures to stick around through Wednesday

Some of the season's chilliest weather is expected to stick around through Wednesday across Southern Oregon, with temperatures expected to dip into the teens overnight.

The drop in temperatures is expected to affect parts of Douglas, Curry, Josephine and Jackson counties, with Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Glendale, and Cave Junction expected to feel the nip, according to the National Weather Service.

Low temperatures are expected to plummet into the teens to low 20s Wednesday morning. Not much of a warmup is expected during the day, either, with temperatures only forecast to climb into the mid-30s.

"Gusty east winds will produce wind chills near zero over the mountain at times," a special weather statement issued by Weather Service says.

The chill has already affected several area highways. The Oregon Department of Transportation reported packed snow and spots of ice on highways 62, 140, and 66 Tuesday. Motorists are urged to allow for extra time to reach their destination, to give extra space between vehicles, and to pack snacks, water and blankets in case of an emergency.

Fire officials warn of the risk of pipes freezing and becoming damaged because of the temperature drop. To reduce the risk of costly repairs, Ashland Fire & Rescue recommended draining water from outside hoses and disconnecting them from faucets. The same should be done for water lines to swimming pools and yard sprinklers. Valves supplying outside hose bibs should be closed and the bib should be allowed to drain.

Unheated spaces with exposed pipes should be checked and pipes there might need to be protected with pipe sleeves or heat tape. Finally, the heat in a home should not be turned off, with the thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees, even when traveling away from home, officials said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.