Ashland wind advisory issued

As a rainstorm descended on Ashland, the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory early this morning, warning that gusts could reach 45 mph on the south end of town.

"The strongest winds will be in the vicinity of Ashland," said the advisory, in effect until 8 p.m. today.

Winds from the south are expected to range between 20 and 30 mph, but gusts could reach 45 mph in the south side of Ashland near Interstate 5.

"That area, so far this morning, had one gust of 43 miles per hour," said Rick Holtz, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Medford office.

In Ashland, winds below about 40 mph are typically harmless, but above that, weather officials begin to worry about falling tree limbs and power outages, Holtz said.

"If we start to see gusts getting up to 45 or 50 miles an hour, that's getting up to a speed where we'll usually start seeing the wind causing some local damage," he said.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department hadn't received any reports of fallen tree limbs as of 9 a.m. this morning, said Steve Gies, superintendent of the department.

"At this point we're looking pretty good," he said. "But if this rain continues we could see some problems."

The department will post warning signs in Lithia Park if winds reach 45 or 50 mph there, Gies said.

The storm, which is moving inland from the Pacific Ocean, is expected to continue to pelt Ashland with rain and wind through Wednesday, Holtz said.

"It's going to be on and off for the next 24 hours or so," he said. "We'll get kind of a break in the rain this morning, and then see the winds kind of lighten up, and then it looks like another disturbance will be approaching the area by later this afternoon."

Holtz said Ashland received only about 0.25 inches of rainfall last night — not enough to cause significant erosion of the city's hillsides that were burned by wildfires this summer.

"We'd have to have a lot more rainfall," he said, "and the burned areas would have to be much larger."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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