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MailTribune.com
  • Rain, rain, gone away

    Not even a measurable trace of precipitation was recorded in September; it's the first time since '99
  • If you spent your September in sunglasses and with your sprinklers humming but without ever turning your windshield wipers on, you truly were partying like it was 1999.
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  • If you spent your September in sunglasses and with your sprinklers humming but without ever turning your windshield wipers on, you truly were partying like it was 1999.
    September was the first since 1999 and only the fifth in 162 years that no rain reached the National Weather Service gauge at the Medford airport.
    "Without even a measurable trace, I'd say that's rare," weather service meteorologist Mike Ottenweller says.
    September's daily hot, dry and cloudless forecast may have sounded like a broken record, but its numbers were nowhere near record-breakers.
    No individual daily high temperature records were eclipsed last month, but collectively the average temperature of 71 degrees ties 1963 as the third warmest in 101 years, weather service data show. The highest average September temperature on record is 71.8 degrees, set last year, data show.
    With hitting a high of 100 degrees just once, on Sept. 13, the average high temperature recorded in Medford last month was 90.1 — more than seven degrees warmer than normal and the fourth highest in the past 101 years, Ottenweller says.
    Medford's record average high temperature for September is 92 degrees, set in 1992.
    Medford averages slightly more than a half-inch of rain each September, which also is the official start of the water year.
    "It was an abnormal September but not extreme. Not record-breaking," Ottenweller says.
    "Now, if we had a completely dry October, that would be more exceptional because that's only happened once, in 1917," Ottenweller says.
    September's rainfall futility actually extended on Monday to 73 consecutive days without any measurable precipitation, Ottenweller says. That stretch is the 17th longest on record, and it looks like it will grow.
    "We don't actually have a mention of precipitation in the forecast right now," Ottenweller says.
    The closest thing to a wet front is not forecast to head this way until Oct. 9 at the earliest, according to the weather service.
    "If we don't see any precipitation from that, we'll most likely stay dry into the next week," Ottenweller says. "Then we'll start getting close to the top 10 (streaks)."
    But at least some relief is in sight.
    A dry, cold front is forecast to move into the valley this afternoon, dropping temperatures closer to their seasonal averages.
    The high forecast for today is 83 degrees in Medford and 80 degrees in Ashland, according to the weather service. Wednesday's highs are forecast for 82 degrees in Medford and 79 degrees in Ashland.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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