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Atmospheric river expected to hit late Wednesday

A four-day period of rain is expected to hit the Rogue Valley starting Wednesday, with about 1.5 inches expected by Saturday in Medford, according to the National Weather Service.

An atmospheric river is on its way, with heavy rain and possible flooding forecast in Western Oregon and Northern California.

The rain is expected to start Wednesday night and bring from 1 to 3 inches to Jackson County by Saturday evening, with 3 to 5 inches expected in Josephine County, the agency said Tuesday.

“Cave Junction, O’Brien, they could see up to 5 inches,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Smith.

More than 6 inches is expected to douse Brookings. The heaviest rainfall is expected Thursday evening into Friday, Smith said. Snow levels are forecast to start at about 4,000 feet Wednesday night and rise to 6,500 feet by Thursday night.

The Coquille River in Coos County is expected to crest “just below flood stage,” according to a Weather Service bulletin.

Medford’s water year, which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, has had a lackluster start so far. On Tuesday, the city had seen 2.87 inches of rain, less than half the normal amount of 6.01 inches for the period.

Conditions should calm going into next week, though there is a slight chance of rain Christmas Day.

“There’s a pretty good chance it’ll stay on the drier side of things,” Smith said.

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

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