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Mountain snow in Christmas forecast

A strong cold front is forecast to push into southwest Oregon on Christmas, with up to a foot of new snow possible in the mountains and a decent amount of rain expected in the Rogue Valley.

Snow levels are expected to start at about 4,000 feet Friday, rising gradually throughout the day to about 5,000 feet, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Misty Firmin.

From Friday morning to Saturday afternoon, up to a foot of new snow could fall in the Southern Oregon Cascades and Siskiyous, including Mount Ashland. Higher peaks could receive as much as 14 inches, Firmin said.

The Siskiyou Summit could receive 4 inches. Lake of the Woods could see up to 8 inches, while up to 6 inches are expected for Howard Prairie.

Between three-tenths and a half inch of rain is forecast to wet the valley floor, with more expected for the southern part of the valley.

Strong winds are possible for higher elevations Friday afternoon, areas east of the Cascades, the Shasta Valley and along the Oregon Coast, the Weather Service reported. Gusts as high as 58 mph are predicted for Weed and up to 43 mph for Yreka. The Mt. Ashland Ski Area could see gusts up to 50 mph, peaking in the late afternoon and evening.

“Even the more sheltered valleys could see some gusty winds Christmas afternoon and evening,” a Weather Service bulletin said.

Showers are expected to continue in the Rogue Valley through the day Saturday, with snow levels at about 3,500 to 4,000 feet. Sunday should be drier in Jackson County, but another wet system is expected to push into Northern California, and a slight change in trajectory could bring more wet weather closer to home.

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