The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a "red flag warning," cautioning that thunderstorms with little rain likely will sweep across the region this afternoon and could start fires.

The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a "red flag warning," cautioning that thunderstorms with little rain likely will sweep across the region this afternoon and could start fires.

The warning will be in effect from 2 to 11 p.m. for much of Southern Oregon and Northern California, including the Rogue Valley, and the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains.

The warning notes that fast-moving, scattered thunderstorms will have lightning but not much rain and the potential for wind gusts in excess of 30 mph. The storms are expected to hit across an area rife with dry fuels in the forest, leading to a strong potential for lightning-caused fires that can grow quickly. Low humidity and high temperatures increase the risk, the warning said.

Today's high temperature in the Rogue Valley is expected to reach 97 degrees. The high pressure bringing this heat will begin to weaken as high level moisture moves across the region with today's storms. Temperatures in the upper 80s are predicted through the Labor Day weekend.

— Anita Burke