The first significant winter storms of the year are forecast to roll into Southern Oregon tonight, and over the ensuing week they could drop 2 feet of snow in the mountains and up to 3 inches of rain in the Rogue Valley.
The weather patterns that have kept Eastern states in a snowy freeze have finally eased and will bring the first tropical storms our way — the kind of storm systems the Rogue Valley normally sees in December, according to the National Weather Service.
Upper Ashland residents could awake to a dusting of snow Thursday morning as the first of a series of fronts brings light snows and rain, with snow levels rising to 2,500 feet by Thursday afternoon, the weather service forecasts.
That could leave mountain passes messy Thursday.
The heaviest rains and mountain snows will come in Saturday, but parched soils will soak up much of the rainfall so "flooding is not on our radar right now," weather service meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies said this morning.
Past storm fronts this winter have come in from the north, often underachieving on rain and snow totals. They have left the Rogue River and Umpqua basins with a collective snowpack listed this morning at 20 percent of average.
— Mark Freeman