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Storm expected to bring wind, rain to Rogue Valley

A strong storm front headed this direction could bring 30 mph winds and up to an inch of rain in parts of Jackson County Wednesday afternoon into early Thursday.

The National Weather Service reported the front's strongest force should come off the Pacific Ocean at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and should move into the Rogue Valley overnight into early Thursday morning. Weather officials said wind speeds could be 25 to 30 mph with 50 mph gusts in parts of Jackson County, especially toward the Rogue Valley's south end.

"We're going to have a very active pattern," said weather service meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies. "There''ll be strong winds across the region, pretty much from the Cascades to the coast."

"Pretty much all the higher elevations are going to see some very strong winds."

Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected to follow, with anywhere from a half inch to an inch on the valley floor and at Crater Lake. Parts of the Oregon Coast will have it the worst, with expected sustained wind speeds of 50 mph, gusts of 70 mph, and three to six inches of expected rainfall. Snow levels are expected to stay at about 7,000 feet for the system's duration.

Weather officials added the high winds and rain-slicked pavement can make for dangerous driving conditions. Motorists on the coast, Redwood Highway and Interstate 5 mountain passes are urged to slow down and allow for greater distance between vehicles.

Weather officials also warned Southern Oregon residents to be prepared for potential power outages caused by the high winds.

"If this turns out to be as big of a wind event as we're expecting, you can expect some widespread outages," Nelaimischkies said. "If you have batteries and flashlights, now's the time to get them out and prepare."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.