Mother Nature Pours It On

Record-setting rainfall drenches region, makes driving treacherous
Salud Mendez cooks pizole on the back porch while City of Medford crews clear a storm drain that is flooding her yard off Ross Lane. Mail Tribune / Bob PennellBob Pennell

The storm hovering over the Rogue Valley set a rainfall record Thursday, caused minor flooding in Medford, and created dicey travel for motorists throughout the county.

The 1.67 inches of rain that dropped on Medford set a daily record, beating the previous 1.29 inches that dumped on the city in 1917, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Shad Keene.

"We beat the record and there's more rain to come," Keene said.

The downpour didn't stop Salud Mendez from cooking a pot of pozole on the back porch of her home off North Ross Lane in Medford.

Mendez prepared the meal as rain overwhelmed a drain pipe along the road and flooded her yard.

Sixteen-year-old Salvador Ortiz, who was at the home with Mendez on Thursday, said the property often floods in heavy rain, but this round was particularly bad.

"We'll be glad when it's over," Ortiz said.

Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin said the North Ross Lane area saw the only notable flooding during the day. He said crews were working to repair or possibly replace a drain pipe near the intersection of North Ross Lane and McAndrews Road.

The weather service predicts heavy rain will continue through Saturday, Keene said.


"By the time it's done, we could see 3 inches of rain in the Rogue Valley from this event," Keene said.

The storm rushed quickly over coastal areas, dropping about 3 inches in Curry County. The original forecast for the coast was around 8 inches.

But the storm hit the brakes as it moved inland, leaving it hanging directly over Jackson and Josephine counties, as well as Northern California, Keene said.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported that wet roads contributed to several crashes on roads and highways throughout the region.

The agency warns motorists to slow down and to carry supplies such as cell phones and blankets in case their cars become immobile on rural roads.

Keene said the Rogue River and Bear Creek rose rapidly throughout Thursday, but neither was in immediate danger of flooding.

"There is some concern about ponding on roads and streets and some of the smaller creeks and streams overflowing their banks," Keene said.

Meanwhile, snow levels remained above the 5,000-foot mark, keeping the passes clear for travelers, Keene said.

Snow dumped on higher elevations, which is good news for resorts such as Mount Ashland. The mountain saw 14 inches of accumulation by Thursday afternoon, according to the resort's website.


Motorists are asked to check www.tripcheck.com for up-to-date travel conditions.

A wind advisory also remained in effect Thursday, with southeast winds up to 30 mph, along with 40-mph gusts. The highest wind speeds were near Ashland, weather officials said.

As the storm creeps out of the area, it could leave space for some sun to peek through the clouds on Sunday afternoon, Keene said.

"We could maybe see some sunshine on Sunday afternoon and into Monday," Keene said.

The storm will keep temperatures relatively warm in the valley, with highs into the 50s during the day and lows dipping into the 40s at night.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.



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