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Cool, wet weather expected to hit Thursday

A cold front is expected to push into southwest Oregon Thursday, dropping daytime high temperatures by at least 20 degrees from recent balmy conditions, with widespread rain and a chance of snow as low as 3,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday’s high temperature in Medford is expected to reach about 50 degrees, a drop of 27 degrees from Monday’s forecast high of 77 in the city.

“We’ve had several days here now where we’ve been within a few degrees of record highs,” said meteorologist Brett Lutz, noting that cold mornings have offered some balance. “The month of October was obviously exceptionally dry, and so going into this cooler and wetter pattern will probably be something of a shock to everyone.”

The key difference going forward, Lutz added, is that Jackson and Josephine counties likely won’t see as much range in the high and low temperatures.

“We’re going from anomalously warm and dry to, probably, more typically where it should be this time of year,” Lutz said. “Maybe even a little on the cooler side.”

The real shift is expected Thursday night, with widespread precipitation expected and moderate rainfall possible west of the Cascades, the Weather Service reported. About three-fifths of an inch of rain is expected in Medford and Ashland between Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, with six-tenths of an inch forecast in Grants Pass, and close to an inch in Cave Junction.

Snow levels are forecast to start at about 4,000 to 4,500 feet but could drop down as low as 3,000 feet Thursday night, although snow is only expected to stick at elevations of 3,500 feet and above, Lutz said. Accumulations of up to six inches are expected at Crater Lake, with two to three inches at Diamond Lake, Mount Ashland and Lake of the Woods, and less than inch on the Siskiyou Summit.

Conditions aren’t expected to warm back up next week.

“The details aren’t too clear, but what it does appear is that we’re going to see periods of shower activity move through, with just a generally cooler weather situation,” Lutz said. “I would anticipate the cooler weather hanging around.”

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.