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Environment, Energy and Transportation

First Winter Storm Could Bring Snow And High Winds To The Pacific Northwest

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Byron Johnson via Unsplash
Mount Hood

The first winter storm of the season is expected to arrive in Southern Oregon and far Northern California early Friday morning.

Rain and snow are forecast to begin in the early hours of Friday morning and continue through Friday midday. Meteorologists are warning there will be heavy snow in the mountains, from Mt. Shasta, north through the Oregon Cascades at elevations above around 4,000 feet.

“This is kind of the first major winter storm of the season. People might be a little rusty as far as driving, so [they should] make sure they’re checking the weather before they leave, make sure they’re carrying their winter survival kits if they’re heading over any mountain passes,” says Christine Riley, a meteorologist in the Medford office of the National Weather Service.

The storm will also produce strong winds along the coast. That could mean wind gusts from 50-70 miles per hour at high elevations.

Rainstorms can create problems after wildfires and Oregon and California were battered by fires this year. But, Riley says, they’re not expecting this storm to cause problems in areas that burned.

“It’s the kind of rain where we’re not expecting all the rain to come down at once so we’re not too concerned about burn scars in the area and flash flooding,” she says.

This storm is the beginning of a more active weather system and, while the snow is expected to turn into showers on Saturday, Riley says a second storm is forecast to begin Saturday night.