A cold front expected to move into Jackson County Wednesday morning could drop up to an inch of snow on the Rogue Valley floor, the National Weather Service reported Monday.
"It could be rather interesting here for the rest of the week," said meteorologist Mike Ottenweller.
The valley could see a half-inch to an inch of new snow by late Wednesday morning. A low pressure front from the Gulf of Alaska will drop snow levels from 4,500 feet to 2,000 feet. Elevations of 2,000 feet and above could see up to 4 inches, and up to a foot could fall along higher elevations of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges. Up to 5 inches is expected for Mount Ashland, with up to 6 inches for Crater Lake.
Snowfall could continue through Wednesday evening. It's likely snow levels will drop again Thursday, to as low as 500 feet. Both Mount Ashland and Crater Lake will see additional snowfall, up to 6 inches and 4 inches, respectively.
"We do expect more of a showery-type pattern, but it will continue to produce more snow," Ottenweller said.
Additional showers could fall through Friday into Saturday, with snow levels rising to 1,500 feet.
"We're going to stay in this rather cold pattern here at least through the weekend," Ottenweller said.
That pattern is colder than usual. NWS officials said high temperatures in the Rogue Valley tend to hit an average of 47 degrees early to mid-January. In the first week of 2013, the monthly high temperature in Jackson County didn't creep above 40.
Wednesday and Thursday are predicted to be the coldest nights for this week, with temperatures near 27 degrees for both.
The predicted snowy weather could mean ice and packed snow for area roads. As of Monday morning, the Oregon Department of Transportation had a chain requirement for Highway 66 between mileposts 14 and 42. Ice slicks were also reported on Interstate 5 on the Siskiyou Pass and at certain spots along Highway 140. Motorists should check www.tripcheck.com or call 511 before traveling for up-to-date road conditions.
"Know before you go, basically," Ottenweller said.
Drivers should also carry chains and an emergency kit with extra food, water and blankets, and take a fully charged cellphone.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.