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Rain System Could Soak Oregon, Help Firefighters

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The first soaking rain of the season is predicted to arrive in western Oregon later this week.

It’s not technically fall yet, but the system could dump an inch or more of rain across the region and bring cool, autumn-like weather. The heaviest rain is expected Friday night, with more showers in the forecast Saturday and Sunday.

Clinton Rocky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, said the overall amount of precipitation is significant only because it comes after a long dry spell. 

“If this rain were arriving in November or December, we’d be like ‘Oh, it’s just another normal weekend,’" he said. "But this is coming after we’ve had a dry spring and a dry summer. Yeah, we had that rain in mid-June, but outside of that, it’s been pretty lackluster for rainfall.” 

Rocky said the days leading up to the rain are a good time to check gutters and drains for debris buildup. And he warned that roads will be extra slick with the first significant precipitation in months.

The rain should help with firefighting efforts as crews continue to battle more than a dozen large blazes in Oregon and Washington. The benefits will be significant even when it’s not actually raining, said Rocky. 

“Because it’s going to be a prolonged, cloudy period, we’re going to have a lot of high humidity and cooler temperatures," he said. "And that’s going to go a long way to helping the fires and flames quiet down, and everybody getting a chance to finally get those fires under control.”

The rain is not expected to cause flooding, but debris flows are possible in areas of recent wildfire activity.
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