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Medford Sees Driest First Quarter On Record

Medford Mail Tribune | April 2, 2013 2:06 p.m. | Updated: April 2, 2013 9:06 p.m.

Contributed By:

DAMIAN MANN

By DAMIAN MANN

Mail Tribune

A spate of March showers on Saturday and Sunday wasn’t enough to make up for a record lack of rain in the first three months of this year.

“For the calendar year, this has been the record driest,” said Brett Lutz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, only 1.82 inches of rain had fallen at the Medford airport since Jan. 1. In 1992, which held the previous record for the driest first quarter, 1.89 inches had fallen.

Lutz said it’s possible that more rain could fall before midnight Sunday, but the storm systems generally have been avoiding Medford recently.

For the storm system that blew through the valley Saturday and into Sunday, only 0.07 of an inch of rain filled the Medford gauge. The south end of the valley toward the Siskiyou mountains received 0.2 of an inch or more over the two-day period.

Thunder and lightning struck the mountains Saturday night, bringing with them some rain.

Despite the dry conditions this year, the weather service still puts the area at slightly above normal rainfall at 14.57 inches for the water year, which began on Sept. 1.

March went out like a lion, recording the highest ever low temperature of 53 degrees on Sunday. The previous record on the same day was recorded in both 2007 and 1992 when the low temperature hit 50 degrees.

Weather forecasters expected the low temperature Sunday night to drop to either meet or exceed the previous record for low temperatures.

On Saturday, the mercury hit 80 degrees in Medford, shy of the all-time record of 86 in 1911.

“It’s definitely turned spring here,” Lutz said.

Weather forecasters have had difficulty predicting the weather this spring because of erratic storm patterns, he said.

Previous long-range forecasts predicted a drier-than-normal spring. However, forecasts released Sunday now indicate April has a good chance of normal precipitation.

Once the storm system blows out this morning, another weather system could usher in Thursday, Lutz said.

After a fairly wet first week of April, the second and third weeks are predicted to be on the dry side. By the end of the month, wet weather should return to the valley, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.

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