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Hazardous Travel Through The Weekend

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The cold front passed through our area bringing heavy rain, snow and strong winds and now we’re dealing with the next disturbance the massive low pressure system will be bringing our region. This disturbance will make it’s way through our region by early afternoon so for many in southern Oregon we’ll see a break from the heavy storm conditions, northern California on the other hand will continue to get hit today and through tomorrow. Although we’ll get a break from the heavy weather, we’ll continue to see snow showers at the higher elevations and with the amount of snow we’ve already seen hazardous driving conditions will persist today and through the weekend as more storms move in.

Tonight we’ll see the next disturbance move through that will once again bring heavy snow and rain to the area and breezy conditions, although the worst of the winds are over. The main threats through the weekend will be flooding, debris and water on the roadways, landslides and road collapses, slick and snow packed roads, downed trees and power lines from heavy snow so make sure you are prepared by having a winter travel kit with plenty of water and warm clothes, carry chains and know how to put them on, leave plenty of time for travel, check for road conditions and road closures and you can always dial 511 for current road conditions. If you can avoid traveling especially over the high country I suggest you do. We’ve seen plenty of accidents as well as many of the threats I listed above.

As for snow levels, well they are tricky. We’re dealing with a massive low pressure system that is wrapping in plenty of moist tropical air and artic cold air. The reason for the rain and snow is that we’ve got a massive moisture plume being pulled into the low, and the reason most of the precipitation is snow is because the low is also wrapping in cold air, temperatures in Alaska are being reported around -40 degrees! When you get warm moist air, which tends to bring in high snow levels (like we saw with strong storms that hit our area hard a few weeks ago), mixing in with cold air, which brings low snow levels it’s a gamble on which one is going to win out. At times we’ve seen snow levels drop to 900 feet bringing plenty of snow to Grants Pass, whereas in Medford snow levels remained around 1,500 feet. When you have heavy snow, that cools the column of air it’s falling in it causes the snow levels to drop, and that is something we’ll see continue through the weekend.

We’ll get a break from the storms Monday and then another cold front moves through Christmas Day into Wednesday bringing more rain and snow to the region.

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Meteorologist Megan Parry