EUGENE, Ore. -- After a cloudy start this morning, mostly sunny skies are expected this afternoon. Temperatures will be cooler on Thursday compared to Wednesday -- in the middle to upper 60s.
Thursday: Decreasing clouds w/ sunshine during the afternoon. Highs in middle to upper 60s.
Friday: Patchy fog, partly cloudy. Highs in upper 60s and low 70s.
Saturday: Rain and breezy. Snow level 6,500 feet. Highs in low 60s.
Sunday: Showers and possible thunderstorms. Snow level 4,500 feet. Highs in upper 50s and low 60s.
Monday: Mostly sunny. Highs in middle to upper 60s.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in upper 60s and low 70s.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in low to middle 70s.
Dry conditions will continue through Friday morning with partly sunny skies. Clouds will start to build during the afternoon, as well as shower chances increasing during the afternoon and evening.
A stronger cold front will arrive on Saturday bringing rain, breezy conditions, and mountain snow. Winds will be out of southwest, gusting to 25 to 30 mph in the interior valleys.
Rain will start at the coast in the morning and push inland throughout of the day. Rainfall along the cold front will likely measure between 0.25 to 0.33 inches inland and 0.5 inches along the coast, with a snow level around 6,000 feet. Behind the front, rain will turn more showery.
Showers will continue on Sunday with a chance of thunderstorms. This is a result of cool air aloft, mixed with sun breaks providing enough surface heating. Rainfall throughout the weekend will likely be close to an inch at the coast, and 0.5 to 0.75 inches in inland valleys.
Snow levels on Sunday will drop to near 4,000 feet, bringing some wintery precipitation to the passes. Do not expect any major accumulations, especially with the ground being relatively warm.
High pressure will build starting on Monday with temperatures rising back into the 60s. Temperatures will continue to climb throughout the week, likely peaking on Friday. Models have hinted at the interior valley reaching into the 80s by week’s end.
Despite, the rainfall forecasted, the drought conditions will continue. The new drought index that was released this morning by the U.S. Drought Monitor has a large majority of Western Oregon in severe drought and southwestern Oregon in extreme drought, including parts of Coos and Douglas Counties. Snowpack has also seen decreases in the past week. The Willamette Basin is at 68% of normal, while the Rogue/Umpqua Basin is 49% of normal. The dry conditions in combination with a large number of early season wildfire has triggered the Oregon Department of Forestry to declare fire season in southwestern Oregon starting Friday. That is the earliest since 1963. As of Tuesday, ODF has reported 83 fires in the state, burning 141 acres. I am also aware of two additional fires since Tuesday, including the Canyon Pass Fire near Canyonville in Douglas County and another in central Oregon along the John Day River.
For more information, visit the KEZI 9 News StormTracker 9 weather page.