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Near-record dry spell forecast to end

A bit of rain is in the forecast for Southern Oregon through Tuesday night, a welcome reprieve from the unusually dry conditions in the area.

If the parched conditions do end, it means the end of the second longest October-to-November stretch without rain in the region. The last day of measurable rainfall was Oct. 19, according to National Weather Service data.

On Monday, that stretch had hit day 29, just four days shy of the longest dry October-November period. The blue-ribbon stretch still belongs to a 33-day run in from Oct. 5, 2002 to Nov. 7, 2002, National Weather Service meteorologist Shad Keene said.

“It was pretty wet after that. A pretty good period of rain,” Keene said of 2002 dry period’s end. “They got 3 inches in five days. That’s not going to happen with us. That’s not how it’s going to end at all.”

On Monday, weather officials had forecast a “few hundredths of an inch” of rain to arrive during the night, Keene said. A second chance was forecast to follow Tuesday afternoon, when a similar paltry amount is expected.

“It’s going to be more of a showery type thing, kind of hit or miss,” Keene said.

Through Tuesday evening, about .03 inch is expected to fall over Medford, with .05 estimated by the Siskyou Summit and .1 inch over Sexton Mountain. Higher elevations — such as Lake of the Woods, Crater Lake and Diamond Lake — could see anywhere from close to .3 to .6 inch, the forecast shows.

The drizzly arrival should also help to mix up the stagnant air, pushing air quality away from the recent span where it dipped to “moderate” levels.

Dry conditions are expected to follow and return through at least Sunday, with some windy conditions forecast in the hills mid-week.

“We’re looking at really gusty winds on Wednesday over the high terrain, and it might even dip into the valleys,” Keene said. “But it’s very unusual for this time of year. We’re going to get gusts to maybe up to 40 mph in the mountains from the northeast.”

If not for the pittance of previous rain, the dry conditions combined with the wind would make for fire weather concerns. Another round of cool wet weather is forecast to return during the final approach to turkey day.

“Come next weekend and even early next week, like toward Thanksgiving, there are indications the pattern could change and get wetter and cooler,” Keene said. “Still far out, but we’ve noticed just over the past couple of days that the models have pointed toward some pattern change.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch Mark Dewey, of Medford, makes a cast for steelhead while wearing shorts and a t-shirt at Denman Wildlife Refuge on Monday.