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Ask the Meteorologist – Snow Levels

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ASK THE METEOROLOGIST

“Why does Medford get rain while Chiloquin gets snow?”
Zack Chapman
Chiloquin

The answer to this question has to do with snow levels and the elevations of these two areas. The snow level is the level precipitation is able to fall to in the form of snow, snow levels are determined by looking at where the freezing level is and subtracting 1,000 feet as snow tends to be able to remain in the form of snow 1,000 feet below the freezing level. As for elevation, Chiloquin sits at 4,419 feet while Medford is lower at 1,382 feet; so this means when we have a snow level of 2,000 feet even up to 4,400 feet we’ll see snow in Chiloquin. Medford is at a lower elevation and when snow levels are above that means there is a melting layer near the surface that melts the snow as it falls and we receive rain rather than snow in Medford.