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Flood watch issued for Sunday in Jackson County

Anticipated weekend rainfall in southwestern Oregon has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch as far inland as Jackson County.

The flood watch is in effect from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and covers eastern Curry, Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties in Oregon and western Siskiyou County in Northern California.

The Weather Service warns of flooding in small creeks, streams and urban areas caused by heavy rainfall expected Saturday and Sunday. Main-stem river flooding was not expected, but "it is possible," the flood watch said.

Meteorologist Brian Nieuwenhuis said more than 2 inches of rain is forecast to fall in Medford and Ashland from Saturday afternoon into Sunday evening.

A system moving west to east, as opposed to a typical south-to-north direction, will bring the rain, forecasters said. When systems come from the south, the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges typically act as a first line of defense, absorbing some of the moisture before it reaches the valley floor. Storms moving west to east are different.

“Things don’t get shielded in Medford, in the Rogue Valley, as much as they normally would,” Nieuwenhuis said.

As of this morning, more than 2 inches of rain had fallen in Ashland over the previous 24 hours. In Medford, close to 1½ inches had fallen over the past 48 hours. Other parts of Jackson County have seen as much as an inch.

Snow is still in the forecast in the higher elevations. More than 2 feet of snow is expected to fall at Crater Lake by Sunday evening, with up to 2 feet on Mount Ashland.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area posted on its website this morning that it expected to open Sunday.