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Medford saw driest February since 1913

Medford notched another new weather record for its almanac — this time shattering a 109-year-old precipitation mark for the month of February — but forecasts call for more rain by the end of Thursday than the city saw all last month.

At 0.08 inches of precipitation, Medford surpassed 1913’s record for driest February on record by two-hundredths of an inch, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Smith, who said records go back to 1911.

The precipitation record followed another mark, set the previous month, when Medford logged its warmest January of all time, according to an earlier news report. Although February saw a mix of cold mornings and warm days similar to January, Smith said February ended up being cooler than normal because of the persistent lows.

February’s average temperature was 43.4 degrees, according to Smith, and the average low for the month was 28.8 degrees, which Smith said is 5.1 degrees below normal for the area.

Meteorologists aren’t expecting any similar records in March. Smith said the NWS Climate Prediction Center is predicting a normal March, and overall weather conditions “closer to near average.”

The 0.08 inches of rain that fell last month put Medford at 8.6 inches for the water year, which began Oct. 1, according to Smith.

“That is 3.44 lower than our normal value of 12.04,” Smith said.

The primary cause of the extended drought was a prolonged high pressure system that started in early January and lasted into the latter half of February. According to Smith, most of the precipitation Medford saw fell between Feb. 20 and 22.

Other parts of the state — particularly up north and along the coast — logged record wet days over the weekend. Astoria recorded 2.98 inches Monday, which is more than double its 2013 record of 1.4 inches for Feb. 28, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

The storm system that brought those rains is “a little bit offshore for us,” Smith said, adding that it rained all day Monday in south coast cities such as Brookings and North Bend.

“The coast is getting rain, but we’re not,” Smith said.

That same front will reach the Rogue Valley Wednesday, according to Smith. Rain is expected to start in Medford late Wednesday afternoon, and as much as a half-inch could fall between then and Thursday night, Smith said.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for between a tenth and a quarter of an inch of rain after 4 p.m., with a high of 61 degrees and a low of 40.

More rain is expected Thursday morning, with precipitation ranging from a tenth to a quarter-inch, with a high in the low 50s and a low of 37 degrees.

Cooler temperatures are expected Thursday and Friday, according to Smith.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.