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Freezing forecast looms

Much needed wet stuff is coming Sunday and Monday, but temps in the teens are expected to follow

After more than a month of clear skies and warm days, local meteorologists say Southern Oregon will be dramatically different by the end of the weekend.

A cold front will bring much needed rain and snow to the area starting Sunday and continuing until Tuesday, according to an advisory issued Friday afternoon by the National Weather Service in Medford.

When the wet stuff clears, seriously cold weather — we’re talking teens — is expected to move in Wednesday and Thursday.

Meteorologists expect the snow will drop as low as 1,500 to 2,000 feet, with heavier amounts in the surrounding hills, the advisory states.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies, the high-pressure ridge that has been over the region and caused clear skies since early January is finally breaking down.

“We’re going to get back to the weather patterns that we should be at for this time of year,” said Nelaimischkies.

Travelers should expect slick road conditions Sunday through Tuesday, especially on area passes.

Nelaimischkies said the valley floor could see up to a half-inch of snow Sunday and Monday nights, but meteorologists don’t anticipate many road hazards, at least on Interstate 5. More concerning are roads in the mountains. Higher-elevation areas along Highway 140 could see 8 to 12 inches.

“In those areas it might start sticking again,” Nelaimischkies said. “The heaviest amounts look to be Monday morning through Tuesday morning.”

The National Weather Service said there’s a 30% chance of rain Sunday in Medford. The Monday forecast calls for a 60% chance of precipitation in Medford, with an expected high of 45 degrees and a low of 28.

On Tuesday morning, the forecast calls for a chance of snow — along with patchy freezing fog — before shifting to partly sunny with a high near 42.

Winter warming shelters will need to be opened between Tuesday and Thursday, with cold temperatures expected in the teens, the meteorologists predicted.

The coldest day is expected to be Wednesday morning, when Medford and Ashland are expected to see lows of about 16 degrees, and 20 degrees is predicted for Grants Pass.

On Thursday, the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high near 49 and a low of 26.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.