Record rain drenches city
Medford broke 24-hour rainfall records on back-to-back days this week, with Monday’s downpour doubling the previous record for April 8.
On Sunday, 0.55 inches fell on the city, beating out the 1935 record of 0.36 for April 7.
On Monday, 0.82 inches fell, which doubled the previous record of 0.41 set in 1995.
Add those two totals together, and the resulting 1.37 inches was a top-five rain event for two-day April rains, according to the National Weather Service. The record for that category still belongs to April 12-13, 1912, when 1.7 inches fell, said meteorologist Marc Spilde. Most of that rain — 1.61 inches — fell April 12. The runner-up for the two-day category is the 1.54 inches that fell April 17-18, 2000. Bronze also belongs to 1912, when 1.45 inches fell April 10-11. This week’s event registered as No. 4 in the record books.
The two days of rain came courtesy of an atmospheric river that originated in the tropics and pushed directly into Southern Oregon and Northern California. Spilde compared it to “a fire hose that extends all the way back to the tropics.”
The Weather Service issued flood warnings for multiple rivers across the region, including parts of the Rogue. The Rogue at Agness peaked at nearly 5 feet above flood stage at about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday. At Dodge Bridge near Eagle Point, the river peaked at just shy of flood stage around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The rain-on-snow event prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to nearly double Lost Creek dam releases from 5,800 cubic feet per second to 10,000 cfs in an effort to make sure the reservoir didn’t fill.
Another wet system is expected to move through the region late Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.
“Snow levels will be a bit lower with that, so there may be some snow above 4,000 feet in the Cascades,” Spilde said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to get down to the (Siskiyou) summit, but Lake of the Woods may have some snow on it at some point during that time frame.”
On Friday, showers should diminish, followed by another system Saturday. Both the midweek and weekend systems are forecast to be significantly weaker than those seen Sunday and Monday.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-776-4468.