Jackson County has been slacking when it comes to rainfall totals for the month of March, but a potent spring storm expected to sweep into the region Wednesday and Thursday should give those numbers a boost.
National Weather Service officials said normal rainfall levels through March 18 total nearly 1 inch, but this year only 0.15 inches has fallen.
However, meteorologists anticipate about a half-inch by 10 p.m. Wednesday, with a chance for additional showers into Thursday.
"It should bring us back pretty darn close to normal," said NWS meteorologist Mike Ottenweller. "We certainly don't want to start our summer dry."
The area is still ahead for total seasonal precipitation — calculated from Oct. 1 — by nearly ¾ of an inch.
The progression into this week's wet weather will be gradual, starting Tuesday afternoon with increasing wind speeds throughout the day, Ottenweller said.
"Nothing extremely strong," he said. "We'll probably see between 10 and 15 mph sustained (winds). Gusts could get up to, I would say, 20 mph, and stronger for Ashland and the hillsides. It'll be a slow increase, but you'll definitely notice it by (Tuesday) afternoon."
The rain will follow Wednesday, possibly continuing into Thursday, with at least half an inch predicted for the valley floor and higher amounts in Ashland and the hillsides.
"It's a healthy spring storm," Ottenweller said. "It's not going to be overly strong, but it does have some robust components to it."
It also will mean probable snow for elevations above 6,000 feet.
Monday and Tuesday's high temperatures of around 62 degrees are expected to plunge by as much as 10 degrees Wednesday before leaping back up to nearly 60 on Thursday. A dry weekend is predicted to follow, with high temperatures of 62, 66 and 67 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
"(We're) starting to see signs of spring," Ottenweller said.
The warming trend is expected to continue the rest of the month, with temperatures consistently in the low to mid 60s most days.
"It should be pretty decent in terms of temperatures. At least normal to above normal," said NWS meteorologist Tom Wright. "There'll be periods when we get a little bit of cloud cover."
Wright added that March's average monthly total for rainfall is 1.71 inches, an amount he doesn't think will be reached.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.