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Central Point intersection floods; rain, hail, fires reported

Updated: 4:55 p.m. Large hail was seen in several locations around the central portion of the county as a storm swept toward Medford, Gold Hill, White City and Eagle Point, an updated warning issued around 4:30 warned.

National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm was located near Central Point or Medford and was moving north at 15 mph. It was headed toward Gold Hill, White City and Eagle Point.

Hail up to 1 inch in diameter has been reported in Central Point with this storm. Forecasters warn people in the path of the storm to “take immediate action to protect life and property.”

At about 4:10 p.m. three-quarter inch hail was spotted in Jacksonville.

Police in Central Point are advising drivers to avoid the intersection of 10th and Pine streets because of flooding caused by the thunderstorm rolling over the Rogue Valley.

The flooding has slowed traffic in the area, Central Point police Lt. Chuck Newell said.

"We've had some other residential areas report flooding," Newell said.

The storm dropped heavy rain in downtown Medford for the fist time since the spring, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Sandberg.

Pea-sized hail also was falling downtown and to the west of Medford.

The National Weather Service in Medford issued a severe thunderstorm warning for western and central Jackson County. The warning, posted at 3:52 p.m., remains in effect until 4:45 p.m.

It notes that National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter-sized hail was about eight miles southwest of Medford near Ruch. The storm was moving northwest at 5 mph.

Lightning sparked a number of small grass fires across the valley. U.S. Forest Service crews hustled to various spots to douse the fires.

Sandberg counted at least 10 down strikes by 4 p.m.

"Hopefully the heavy rain will keep the fires from growing too large," Sandberg said.

The storm could last for the next few hours, Sandberg said.

— Chris Conrad

Cars and pedestrians make their way along Stewart Avenue during this afternoon's downpour. - Mail Tribune / Jim Craven