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  • More lightning, scattered showers in forecast

  • Weather officials are predicting more of the same as far as lightning and scattered rainfall around the Rogue Valley for today and Friday.
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  • Weather officials are predicting more of the same as far as lightning and scattered rainfall around the Rogue Valley for today and Friday.
    A National Weather Service red flag warning, which means the conditions are right for lightning strikes to start wildfires, remains in effect until 11 p.m. Friday.
    "We're kind of expecting a repeat scenario," said meteorologist Mike Petrucelli.
    More than 100 lightning strikes were recorded overnight across Southern Oregon, adding to the hundreds reported Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The reduced number of lightning strikes was welcome news to wildland fire crews, who reported just one new fire this morning.
    The Tuesday night strikes sparked numerous small fires in northeastern Jackson County, stretching between Prospect and Trail. One of the blazes roared to life off Cobleigh Road outside Butte Falls early Wednesday, growing to four acres before Oregon Department of Forestry and Butte Falls fire crews extinguished it. The rest did not exceed an acre, with most not growing past a half-acre.
    "Everything's pretty much out," ODF spokesman Brian Ballou said.
    The potential for lightning continues, but meteorologists said it will temper during the evening and overnight.
    The storms also could bring more smoke-diluting rainfall, with the greatest amounts expected to fall in the Cascades. Showers were scattered across the region Wednesday, with 24-hour rainfall amounts ranging from 1/100 of an inch up to nearly half an inch reported near Silver Creek east of Crater Lake, weather service data shows. A brief torrent of rain and some hail hit Phoenix, south Medford and parts of the Applegate, with amounts exceeding a quarter of an inch.
    Other than that, most of the region stayed pretty dry, with no amounts reported near Grants Pass or where the Big Windy Fire complex continues to rage near the Rogue River.
    "That was more the exception," Petrucelli said of the reported rains.
    Air quality officials said Wednesday's brief cloudbursts didn't have much of an effect on Rogue Valley air quality, which has suffered because of the influx of smoke from nearby wildfires. Medford enters the third day in a row of "unhealthy" air quality today, data from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality shows.
    "It looks like the levels fluctuated a little bit," DEQ natural resource specialist Byron Peterson said. "It looked like it cleared up a little bit and then it socked right back in."
    — Ryan Pfeil
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