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Heavy rain expected for southwest Oregon

As usual, the rainfall expected to hit Jackson and Josephine counties this weekend pales in comparison to areas along the Oregon Coast, but the National Weather Service still expects a good amount of precipitation farther inland.

About 1.25 inches is expected to fall on Medford by Saturday night, with more than 2 inches forecast to fall over Grants Pass, and close to an inch predicted in Ashland.

For Medford, the estimated rainfall would account for close to 7 percent of the annual average of 18.26 inches, meteorologist Charles Smith said.

“That’s a pretty sizable amount of that yearly total in a little over a day and a half,” Smith said.

Closer to the coast, the Weather Service has issued an areal flood watch for an area that includes Brookings, Gold Beach and Cave Junction. Areal flooding occurs at a slower rate, as opposed to a flash flood, which “normally occurs within six hours of heavy or intense rainfall,” according to the Weather Service website.

Significant rises in small streams, creeks and rivers are expected, and flooding is possible in areas that include the Chetco Bar and Klondike fire burn scars.

“You always get most of your rain along the coastline and the coastal mountains,” Smith said. “There are some locations we’re forecasting up to 6 inches, but it’s in wilderness areas.”

Snow levels are expected to rise to 7,000 feet during the heaviest periods of rain.

A wind advisory is also in effect for parts of southwest Oregon until Saturday morning, with south to southwest winds up to 35 mph, with 45 mph gusts, the Weather Service reported.

The wind advisory extends to “the southern half of the Rogue Valley, including Phoenix, Talent, Ashland and Interstate 5 near those areas,” according to an agency bulletin.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

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