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High Winds and Heavy Mountain Snow Arriving Today

5:18 PM ยท Dec 9, 2022

The latest weather forecasts are showing high winds arriving in Douglas County on Friday afternoon with gusts reaching as high as 36 mph according to the NWS in Medford. Here is the full forecast discussion from the NWS in Medford: The latest satellite image is showing the next storm already starting to take shape over the eastern Pacific. Three main impacts are likely from this storm: Strong winds, moderate to heavy snow, and heavy rain. Each of these impacts will be addressed below. WINDS- Winds will ramp up along the coast during the day as a strong warm front approaches the coast. Strong winds are likely over the exposed areas along the coast, mainly around and south of Cape Blanco. Guidance shows pressure gradients between Arcata and North Bend are around 10 mb which almost always results in high wind along the coast. A High Wind Warning remains in effect for exposed areas above 1500 feet primarily from Cape Blanco south. Moderate to strong winds are also expected in the Shasta Valley, with the strongest winds near Weed. Meanwhile we could experience gusty southeast winds in the Rogue Valley, especially from about Phoenix south to Ashland, although Medford could also experience gusty southeast winds late Friday morning into Friday evening. Moderate to strong winds are also likely east of the Cascades with 700mb winds between 60-70 kts moving over the Cascades later tonight, and peaking out between 75-80 kts Saturday morning. High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories remain in effect for the areas noted above. Please see NPWMFR for more details. Note: We currently have a wind advisory for only the eastern half of Lake County. However, we are also expecting snow at the same time that strong winds are occurring and the details on the winds will be addressed in the winter weather products. Winds along the coast, Shasta Valley and south end of the Rogue Valley will diminish late tonight into Saturday morning. Winds will remain moderate to strong east of the Cascades into Saturday morning, then they are expected to gradually diminish Saturday afternoon from northeast to southeast. Therefore places like Modoc County could experience moderate to strong winds into Saturday afternoon. Winds should no longer be a concern for all areas Saturday night as the upper trough moves into the area. SNOW- Snow will also be a concern, especially along the Cascades into Siskiyou county and northwest Modoc County. These areas will get moderate to heavy snow from this evening through at least Saturday afternoon and there's a good chance for snow fall rates to exceed an inch per hour at times. Note: The Mount Shasta area (which includes I-5 south of Weed to Dunsmuir) and highway 89 are at highest risk of experiencing heavy snow with snowfall rates between 1-2 inches an hour tonight into Saturday morning. Highway 97 towards Weed is also at risk for moderate to heavy snow with snowfall rates pushing to an inch per hour tonight into Saturday morning. It's also worth noting visibilities in these areas could also be reduced at times to a 1/2 mile or less. Moderate to heavy snow is also likely along the Cascades and Siskiyous along with strong winds, especially over the exposed areas, and its' not out of the question snowfall rates could exceed an inch per hour along the Mt. Ashland Ski road, highways 230 and 138 near Diamond Lake and highway 62 towards Crater Lake. Highway 97 will also be impacted by a combination of moderate to heavy snow and moderate to strong winds. Storm total snow further east of the Cascades (east of highway 97) will be less, but significant impacts are still expected mainly due to visibilities being reduced to a 1/2 mile or less and could result in brief whiteout conditions tonight into Saturday morning. Siskiyou Summit will also get significant snow tonight into Saturday morning with up to a 12 inches possible between this evening through Saturday afternoon. Because of the above mentioned, this is likely to cause hazardous travel conditions. Therefore it's highly recommended that folks stay home and avoid traveling, especially from late this afternoon through Saturday morning for the areas noted above. Winter storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for the areas noted above. Please see WSWMFR for more details. RAIN- The heaviest precipitation is expected to arrive late this afternoon along the coast and tonight inland. Because were expecting gusty winds in the Rogue and Shasta Valleys Friday, these areas will experience downsloping which could result in dry weather Friday afternoon, with precipitation amounts limited Friday evening as the front gets closer to these areas. It will be a different story for the coast, coastal mountains, Cascades and Siskiyou County. 24 hour storm total precipitation is expected to be between 4 and 5 inches for the coastal mountains in southwest Oregon, and south coast, 1.5 to 2.0 inches for the north coast, 2 to 3 inches along the Cascades and 3.50 to 4.50 inches from western through southern Siskiyou County. Because of the expected high rainfall totals over the coastal mountains and south coast, mud and rockslides could be a concern, especially along highway 101. Winds and precipitation will will diminish late Saturday afternoon into Saturday night as the upper trough approaches southeast Oregon. However a colder air mass will move overhead with snow levels lowering to around 2000 feet west of the Cascades. We aren't expecting much, if any snow accumulation that low over the west side, but there can still be a few to several inches of snow over the mountains. The cold air mass could result in enough instability for isolated thunderstorms over the waters and possibly the south coast Saturday afternoon and evening.

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