Rain expected to end dry spell this weekend

Fall's first storm is expected in the Rogue Valley this weekend, and its droplets could quench one of the 10 driest periods in the area's history.

As of today, the valley hadn't seen a drop of measurable moisture for 84 days, or since July 20. Not an all-time record-breaker, but significant enough to get the attention of meteorologists.

"While (the dry period) isn't earth-shattering in of itself, it's interesting to keep watching," said National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Wright. "This is the driest period we've seen since 2006."

The 2006 stretch saw 92 days with no precipitation and ended on Sept. 14.

A slim chance of rain is predicted for tonight, courtesy of a cold front moving southeast into the area. Meteorologists predicted the rainfall would be confined to the coastal regions of Southern Oregon and Northern California, and that only a few hundredths of an inch would fall if the moisture ventured inland.

"Probably not even enough to excite the grass," Wright said.

High temperatures will continue to remain in the low to mid 70s through at least Tuesday, with nighttime lows dipping down to the low 50s.

Another cold front moving in Sundaynight is expected to bring a little moisture, with a chance for up to a tenth of an inch of rainfall in Medford.

"(That) next front's going to be stronger," Wright said.

No snow is expected with the front, except for a possible dusting in the higher elevations.

"Nowhere that anyone is likely to be other than those extreme hikers," Wright said.

This year's dry stretch gave meteorologists another reason to take notice: September 2012 was the first since 1999 and fifth in 162 years where no rain fell.

To break the record for the driest streak ever — 112 days — Medford would need to go without rain for another 27 days. That record was set in 1929 and ended Oct. 25.

— Ryan Pfeil

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