A storm system interacting with cold air in the West will lead to low snow levels in Oregon and California from Friday into Saturday.
Travelers along Interstate 5 in southern Oregon and California may encounter dangerous travel conditions across higher elevations because of the snow.
While the rain and snow will be beneficial to moisture-starved California, the cold following the storm will put more stress on fruit and vegetable crops that have already been exposed to subfreezing temperatures Thursday morning.
Snow will begin to develop across western Oregon Friday morning, with snow even falling near the coast. The snow will then spread southward through California Friday night and Saturday.
The precipitation will generally fall as rain across the Central Valley and along the California coast, especially Friday night. Some snow may mix in before the rain ends across the Central Valley Saturday morning, though no accumulation is expected in lower elevations like Sacramento, Fresno and Stockton.
The storm will move from California into the Four Corners region from Saturday into Sunday, bringing more high-elevation snow.
Snow levels across California Friday night and Saturday could drop to between 1,500 and 2,000 feet, which would be low enough to cause travel problems in many high-elevation passes.
Travelers may encounter treacherous conditions late Friday night and early Saturday along Interstate 5 through the Grapevine, which is located northwest of Los Angeles at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and rises to over 4,000 feet at its peak.
"The snow will likely fall in a four- to six-hour period and can bring a couple of inches of accumulation, which can easily make travel difficult through the Grapevine," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk said.
Another thing the storm will do is reinforce the cold air across much of the Southwest into the second half of the weekend.
Football fans heading to the Mountain West Championship Saturday evening in Fresno, Calif., will need to bundle up. The temperature at kickoff around 7:00 p.m. will be around 40 degrees, but the temperature will drop through the 30s during the game.
The cold air will dive even farther south into all of Southern California the next time around.
According to AccuWeather.com Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "The big growing areas of the Coachella Valley may have locally freezing temperatures Monday morning," which will be colder than Thursday and Friday morning.