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Up to a foot of snow forecast for southwest Oregon mountains

The mountains surrounding the Rogue Valley could see up to a foot of new snow by Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency has issued a winter weather advisory for the Southern Oregon Cascades, Siskiyou Mountains and south-central Oregon Cascades through 4 a.m. Thursday, primarily affecting areas above 5,000 feet.

"Total snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches and locally up to 12 inches above 6,000 feet," a National Weather Service bulletin says, adding that wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected.

The coverage area includes the Cascades from Lake of the Woods north, including portions of Highway 62 and Highway 138 near Crater Lake, and the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

"Snow levels will vary through the day and snow may mix with rain at times," the bulletin says. "Snow levels will initially start at 4,500 feet, rising to around 6,000 feet in the late afternoon, before lowering to 4,000 feet overnight."

Anyone with plans to drive in the affected areas should plan accordingly, packing tire chains, extra food and water, blankets, necessary medications and flashlights. Drivers should allow themselves extra time to reach their destination.