A cold front tapping into tropical moisture will arrive at the coast early Saturday morning, between 2 and 4AM, then push inland. Snow levels ahead of the front will remain high between 6,000 and 7,000 feet but once the front passes in the afternoon snow levels will drop to 3,500′ and down to 3,000′ by Sunday morning. The heaviest precipitation will fall ahead of the front and that means mostly rain for the region, heavy rain in fact and this could lead to localized stream and street flooding.
Wind & high surf: Winds will also be a threat with gusts up to 55 to 65 mph for the coast, ridges, east side and northern California and potentially up to 70mph in the Summer Lake area, that is just shy of hurricane force wind gusts! These winds could cause downed trees and power lines so if you have weak/old trees outside and have a way to anchor them down I would suggest doing that tonight before winds pick up. Winds will peak at the coast tonight into Saturday morning and for the east side Saturday afternoon. West side valleys could see gusts up to 25-30 mph especially in the foothills, but the strongest winds will be in the typically windier spots.
These winds will also cause high surf at the coast, especially at Port Orford with a High Surf Warning, Storm Warning and High Wind Warning all in effect for the coast and offshore. We could see breaker waves 30 to 35 feet so beach-goers, don’t turn your back on the ocean and avoid going if possible! The coast is going to get hit especially hard with this storm.
Rain: 1 to 3 inches at the coast and 2 to 4 inches in the Coast Range. West side valleys could see 1/2 to 1 inch of rain with locally higher amounts especially in the foothills.
Snow: Snow will be heavy in the mountains and we could see snowfall rates of 1 inch per hour above 5,000 feet Saturday afternoon and evening. From highway 140 north we could see 1 to 2 feet of snow and in the Siskiyous up to a foot. Mt. Ashland is looking at 6 to 8 inches. The east side could see 2 to 6 inches while above 3,500 feet 4 to 8 inches. Siskiyou Summit will see 2 to 5 inches of snow. The heaviest snow will fall Saturday afternoon and night.
Travel: High profile vehicles will be impacted by strong winds and travel over the mountains will be hazardous with snow covered roads, gusty winds, blowing and drifting snow creating low visibility and blowing debris possible as well. Highways with the greatest impact will be 230, 138, 62 and 140 and even Siskiyou Summit.
Meteorologist Megan Parry