A blustery cold front expected to move into the region Friday night could drop up to a foot of snow in the mountains and bring winds of up to 20 mph, while lower elevations will see heavy rain and a chance for a dusting of snow.
A winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service this afternoon said at least a foot of snow is possible over much of the Cascades and Siskiyous, with Diamond Lake and Crater Lake receiving as much as 18 inches.
"They're going to get hit pretty hard," National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Petrucelli said of the higher elevations.
The advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday. Winter weather advisories are issued for a period of snowfall that will limit visibility and create road conditions that could hinder travel.
Precipitation is predicted to start as rain and will gradually change to snow. Snow accumulations of up to 3 inches are expected for elevations above 2,000 feet, with southwest winds reaching 20 mph speeds and 30 mph gusts. Up to 4 inches are predicted to fall on the Siskiyou Pass.
"A lot of that will occur in a short period of time," Petrucelli said.
Other major roads expected to receive heavy snowfall include parts of Highway 238 in the Applegate, Highway 62 out toward Prospect and Highway 140 over to Klamath Falls.
Snow levels could drop to between 1,000 and 1,500 feet in northern Josephine and Douglas counties. For the Rogue Valley floor, the cold front will bring rain, but some snow could fall down to elevations of 1,000 feet. Parts of Ashland could receive up to an inch of snow, but most will likely see a dusting.
"You could see a rain and snow mix," Petrucelli said.
A brief reprieve from the wet weather is predicted for Sunday, with a chance for additional showers Sunday evening.
Motorists traveling on major highways into the weekend are urged to drive carefully and allow extra time to reach their destination. They should also travel with a full tank of gas, take water and snacks, and a fully charged cell phone.
— Ryan Pfeil