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Medford water year off to better, wetter start

Medford’s water year is starting out exponentially better this year than it did in 2019.

From Oct. 1, the start of the water year, through Wednesday morning, 2.48 inches of water had fallen on the city, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Smith. That’s 0.19 inches below the normal amount of 2.67 inches, Smith said.

For the same time period in 2019, the National Weather Service recorded 0.65 inches. For the month-long period between Oct. 19 and Nov. 18 in 2019, no measurable rain fell. A paltry quarter-inch fell for all of November last year.

Most of the city’s precipitation so far this water year fell Nov. 13-18, totaling 2.41 inches. An Ashland site recorded 1.57 inches for the same period, Smith said.

More moisture is en route, with showers possible through Thursday. A high pressure system is forecast to move into the region, resulting in foggy mornings and clearing later in the day Thursday. “Generally it’s going to be drying conditions,” Smith said. “Thursday’s that transition day.”

Wet weather is forecast to return to southwest Oregon Sunday.

A winter weather advisory is in effect through 10 a.m. Thursday for parts of northern Jackson County, Crater Lake National Park, and other spots along the south-central Oregon Cascades, a Weather Service bulletin said.

Periods of moderate snow are expected above 5,000 feet, with new accumulations of anywhere from 10 to 15 inches. Wind gusts could get up to 45 mph, the bulletin said. The wintry weather is expected to impact travel on highways 138 and 230 near Diamond Lake and Highway 62 near Crater Lake.

Drivers venturing into those areas should carry tire chains in their vehicles at all times, along with an emergency kit including food, water, blankets and necessary medications.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.