A second month of above-average rainfall “will dent the drought,” say meteorologists
National Weather Service meteorologists say the New Water Year is off to a strong start, but with heavy rains and high winds in the Rogue Valley forecast, caution behind the wheel and around trees is caution.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist Shad Keene of Medford, two storm systems are expected to bring rainfall that could exceed typical October rainfall in a week. That’s last month’s rainfall, which – at 1.48 “- was more than three times the normal 0.48” average for September.
“This will make dents in the drought,” said Keene. “It doesn’t eliminate the drought or clear the drought, but it is certainly cheap and beneficial.”
However, on Tuesday afternoon, Keene was more concerned about winds from the south and southeast with the first storm system set to hit 30 to 40 mph Tuesday evening and overnight.
“We tell people if you have Halloween decorations, secure them or take them off,” Keene said. “Take appropriate precautions, especially between Ashand, Medford and the surrounding foothills.”
🎃👻If you have Halloween decorations, think about securing them. It gets windy Tuesday through Wednesday morning, with more wind later in the week. Check https://t.co/ijizR7HW1H for your specific location. Here is a graph of our forecast maximum wind gusts. #orwx #cawx pic.twitter.com/0mWK8H06b5
– NWS Medford (@NWSMedford) October 18, 2021
Wednesday’s forecast calls for breezy conditions, followed by traces of rain – about 0.08 inches.
The surrounding areas in Northern California and the Oregon Coast will experience significantly more rainfall.
“It will rain in many parts of the area,” said Keene.
In Rogue Valley on Thursday, the forecast calls for winds to pick from “breezy to breezy” before a “really, really strong” storm system hits the area that will bring most of the rainfall for the week.
By Friday, a storm system Keene describes as “moderate to strong atmospheric flow” will bring between half an inch and an inch of rain to the Medford-Ashland region.
An atmospheric river, according to Keene, is a narrow channel of moisture that is driven into the region by a weather front.
Rainfall is expected to be mainly targeted at the cascades and coastal areas. Keene advised motorists to prepare for trips in the rain – especially if they are driving to the Oregon coast or Northern California.
Rivers are not high enough to flood because of the drought, but Keene said those who have burn scars from wildfire should watch out for potential debris flows.
“When people are in these areas, they need to be extra careful during these heavy rainy periods,” said Keene.
Keene also advised locals to keep an eye out for trees during windy periods, as the summer heat and drought left many trees with weakened roots and branches – even if the tree appears healthy and fully foliated.
“That wind might act a little differently on trees,” said Keene.
According to Keene, October typically sees an average of 1.22 inches of rainfall. Weather forecasters expect the rain this week to help the region beat average.
“We’ll be above normal rainfall this month,” said Keene.