Oregon’s wettest storm since February arrives Thursday

An "atmospheric river" will bring steady rain Thursday, followed by more moisture through the weekend.

EUGENE, Ore. - Multiple inches of rain will fall across western Oregon between Thursday and Sunday. | CURRENT FORECAST

“We have a series of exceedingly wet days in store for everyone west of the Cascades,” says KVAL meteorologist Travis Knudsen. “The last time Oregon had rain like this was in February.”

Rain totals for the Eugene/Springfield area may meet or exceed 3.00” between Thursday and Sunday.

The coast will endure the brunt of the storm with wind gusts in excess of 50 mph and rain totals around 4.00” for some locations.

In Douglas County, rainfall amounts are lower. Roseburg could pick up around 2.00” of rain between Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon.

Current forecasts call for the heaviest, most widespread rain to fall Thursday. Intermittent rainfall will make up Friday, followed by a second push of heavy rain Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

Knudsen warns to not expect many breaks in the rain as the storm moves through. “The nature of Thursday’s showers will be moderate but continuous,” he says.

“Friday will likely have the rain back off for a few hours, before another wave of downpours arrives for the weekend,” says Knudsen.

The arrival of rain is driven by a weather phenomenon called an "atmospheric river." That's the term for a narrow region in the atmosphere carrying a significant amount of moisture around the globe.

Thursday through Sunday, this river remains pointed at Oregon.

“Atmospheric rivers are somewhat common in the Pacific Northwest. Usually Oregon will see 3 to 5 of them in any given winter,” says Knudsen. “There is so much moisture over the Pacific Ocean, and all of it gets funneled into an area only a hundred or so miles wide.”

Our current atmospheric river brings rain from Japan to the North America.

The Cascades have plenty of moisture on the way as well. Initially precipitation will begin as rain in the mountains before turning to snowfall by Friday.

“The first push on Thursday remains fairly warm. Any moisture in the mountains will fall as rain,” says Knudsen. “Cooler air arriving Thursday night will drop the snow elevation to about 3,800 feet for Friday and the weekend, meaning anyone driving over the passes then will likely be trekking through snow.” | PASS CAMERAS

Snow totals on Friday for the mountain passes stands at 4 to 6 inches.

Higher evaluations, including ski resorts on Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor, could see snow accumulations of 8 inches or more.

For those unhappy with our blast of winter, Knudsen has good news. Sunshine is in the forecast.

“While the weekend stays gray and wet, sunshine and warmer temperatures should quickly return to Oregon. And—at this point—much of next workweek appears dry,” he says.

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