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Cold front expected to drop local temperatures 20 degrees

Soak up that warmth while you can, because it's forecast to take a vacation the rest of this week.

The National Weather Service reports that a "potent" cold front is expected to push through Southern Oregon tonight, and high temperatures that have been in the high 60s to low 80s the last few days are expected to plunge into the mid 50s to low 60s through Friday.

"Today is basically our warmest temperature for the next week for sure," said meteorologist Marc Spilde.

Warm temperatures have ruled since Thursday, March 26, when an 80-degree high in Medford tied the all-time record set in 1923. Friday, Saturday and Sunday temperatures hit 77, 67 and 75 respectively, and a high in the mid 70s is expected today.

The cold air mass predicted overnight is expected to cover a wide swath, including Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties. Weather officials are calling for scattered showers Tuesday and Wednesday. The air may be cold enough for pockets of small hail to fall around the Rogue Valley and other areas west of the Cascades. 

"There may even be some thunder with some of the showers that are there," Spilde said. 

Snow levels may dip down as low as 3,000 feet Tuesday night, though only light accumulations are expected. Possible freezes are expected for parts of the Shasta Valley in Northern California, though the Rogue Valley will likely be spared from frost until Friday because of warmth-holding cloud cover.

Friday morning is expected to be the coldest of the week for Jackson County, with the low temperature forecast at 32 degrees, and some areas are expected to dip down to about 30.

"That day would be the day of the biggest concern around the Rogue Valley for folks growing things," Spilde said.

Additional showers are possible Saturday and Sunday, with an early forecast showing high temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s.

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