'It's going to be windy and soggy'

Winds gusting up to 45 mph today will buffet the Rogue Valley and last until Monday as a powerful series of storms continue to pound the Northwest.

While the rain and wind won't be as intense as in some parts of the region, the systems picking up moisture from a Pacific typhoon stand to make this the second-wettest September on record in Medford before the calendar turns on Tuesday.

"It's going to be windy and soggy," said Chuck Glaser of the National Weather Service, who has kept an eye on the Southern Oregon sky since November 1973.

Flash floods are possible in the coastal mountains and in the Cascades in areas where vegetation was burned during the summer fires in Douglas and Josephine counties.

The forecast calls for a quarter- to a half-inch of precipitation today and a weekend total of between an inch and an inch and a half before the last of the systems head east of the Cascades.

On Saturday afternoon, the reporting station at the Medford airport had recorded 1.67 inches of rain this month, compared to the normal 1.17 inches, Glaser said.

"We're tied for No. 9, all-time if we don't get any more, but it doesn't take much to get us to second," Glaser said.

This is the soggiest September since 1989, when 1.94 inches were recorded — the second most on record.

An absolutely dry September 2012 underscores the difference an inch can make.

"We're going to up the ranks pretty fast," Glaser said. "But we probably won't make it to our all-time record; that would take a lot."

The wettest September on record came back in 1977 when a deluge of 3.60 inches in little more than 24 hours on Sept. 27-28 contributed to a 4.22-inch total that finished off a two-year drought.

"I remember that day well," Glaser said. "Having that much rain here in a little over 24 hours is pretty rare."

A flash-flood watch will continue through tonight, but the storms aren't expected to cause much trouble in major waterways, he said.

"Lost Creek Dam has saved us from flooding more than once since it's been there," he said. "We're not looking for the mainstem rivers to flood because they are all down this time of year. The burn areas are more susceptible because of the loss of vegetation."

Most of the wind today will be in the 20- to 30-mph range — much more gentle than the South Coast, where gusts are expected to hit 55 mph.

"By the time we get to Monday, it should be on the wane," Glaser said. "By Monday night, there's still a chance of rain, but after that we don't have anything in the forecast for the rest of the week. It would be nice to get a little touch of warmer weather in the 80s, but we only have it getting to 74 by Friday."

Long-term, the weather service anticipates above-normal rainfall for Oregon, primarily from the Umpqua Valley north.

"Last year, October, November and December were all above normal, and then we dried out in January," Glaser said. "We were 5.51 inches above normal on Dec. 23."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness.

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