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MEDFORD, Ore. — For many in Southern Oregon, Wednesday evening's storm system brought sudden darkness followed by a brief and awful downpour of rain and a few startling cracks of nearby thunder. For others it was somewhat more dramatic — downing massive trees that swallowed yards and smashed vehicles.
Queen Anne Avenue, just south of E Jackson Street, was in the middle of it all. Lined with maple, oak, and pine, the area saw heavy rain, wind and hail during the storm.
That was quite the storm that came through #Medford this evening. Here's a couple incredible shots taken by Don Veverka of the storm as it rolled through South Medford just after 6:10 PM. Analyzing the radar data, looks like the storm had some weak rotation with it. #StormWatch12 pic.twitter.com/tFS3fL2Dul— Matt Hoffman (@matthoffmanwx) September 19, 2019
"It came out of nowhere," said Bob Capsey, who has lived on Queen Anne for 41 years. "I was upstairs doing stuff on the computer and I heard this noise, and I looked outside and the trees were all going sideways."
Capsey said that his home lost power, and he watched the road outside fill with rain. It was the most rain that Medford has seen on a September 18 since 1966.
"I've never seen it that much — probably about 2 to 3 feet wide — like little rivers on each side and a lot of water," Capsey said.
Right across the street, Katy Smith's backyard was filled with pea-sized hail.
"Huge amount of hail . . . in fact this morning it was still there and they were about that big," Smith said, demonstrating the size of the hail with her fingers.
Less than two miles away, outside of Innovative Investments Services on Superior Court, a 52-foot tree fell around 6 p.m. that night — crushing a pickup truck and clipping a nearby Franz delivery truck.
"The truck never be the same again," said Jason Rumel. "My first concern was hoping that nobody was in it."
Officials from the National Weather Service spent the day conducting a damage assessment on Thursday. By the end, they were reluctant to call the storm "severe," cataloguing no confirmed wind gusts over 34 miles per hour. Officials said that damaged trees were more likely the result of poor root support than particularly strong wind gusts.
Regardless, the storm was unusually strong for how low it was, NWS said.
"Most storms of this kind of strengh usually have the core of the thunderstorm extend up to 20, 25 thousand feet, with tops up at 35, 40 thousand feet or higher," said Sven Nelaimischkies with NWS. "This was only around 25 thousand feet tall and the core of the storm only extended to around 15 thousand feet."