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Over a foot of new snow possible by Tuesday in Southern Cascades

As much as 14 inches of new snow could fall on parts of the Southern Oregon Cascades by late Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service reported.

The agency has instituted a winter weather advisory through 10 a.m., according to an agency bulletin. New snow accumulations of 7 to 14 inches is possible in the coverage area, which includes Highway 62 near Crater Lake, highways 230 and 138 near Diamond Lake, Highway 140 at Lake of the Woods, and Highway 58 at the Willamette Pass.

Wind gusts as high as 40 mph are also forecast.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” the bulletin reads in a cautionary note to drivers that urged allowing for extra time to reach their destinations. “Gusty winds combining with wet snow at times could bring down tree branches.”

Weather officials said snow levels are expected to drop through Tuesday morning, “bottoming out around 2,500 feet,” the bulletin said.

Around 0.1 inch of additional rain is expected in Medford, with up to 0.3 inch in Ashland and up to 0.5 inch in the town’s surrounding hills, according to meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies. The conditions follow Friday to noon Monday rains that amounted to nearly 0.7 inch in Medford from noon, with about 0.5 inch in Talent and nearly 0.8 inch at the Agate Dam near White City, Nelaimischkies said.

Not much snowfall data was available Monday, though Weather Service officials said 10 inches of new snow fell Sunday night into Monday at Crater Lake National Park. Northern Oregon was hit hard by weekend snowfall, resulting in numerous downed power lines that left tens of thousands of Oregonians without power. More than 36,000 Pacific Power customers remained without electricity Monday afternoon, according to the company website, and more than 280,000 Portland General Electric customers were still in the dark across Clackamas, Columbia, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties, according to the PGE website.

Medford is approaching the 10-inch mark for its 2020-21 water year, Weather Service data shows. Since Oct. 1, 2020, 9.79 inches have fallen, 1.28 inches below the 11.07-inch normal amount, Nelaimischkies said. The pace has picked up considerably, however, with 3.25 inches falling since New Year’s Day, 0.18 inch below the normal amount of 3.43 inches.

“So since Jan. 1, we’re doing pretty good,” Nelaimischkies said.

The snow water equivalent for the Rogue and Umpqua basins was at 86% of the median Monday, based on data collected between 1981 and 2010, according to Natural Resources Conservation data on Monday.

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