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Medford hits first triple-digit day of the year

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Alex Ahlstrom, 3, plays at the water park at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park on Tuesday.

Medford reached its first triple-digit temperature of 2021 Tuesday, the mercury soaring to 102 degrees by about 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

That ties a daily temperature record for that date, last set June 1, 1924, according to Weather Service records.

The last time Medford saw a triple-digit temperature was Sept. 9, 2020, the day after the Almeda and South Obenchain fires broke out. It reached 100 degrees exactly that day, meteorologist Brad Schaaf said.

The heat is expected to persist this week as the thermal trough responsible for Tuesday’s heat pushes further inland, Schaaf said. A red flag warning, issued when conditions on the landscape are ripe for new fire starts, will be in effect from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday for areas east of the Southern Oregon Cascades, including most of Klamath County.

“Abundant lightning on existing very dry fuels could cause numerous new fire ignitions,” a Weather Service bulletin reads. “Gusty and erratic outflow winds could also create extreme fire growth potential.”

A small amount of moisture could make Wednesday’s high temperatures throughout Jackson County feel warmer than the actual thermometer readings, Schaaf added.

“After Wednesday, this whole ridge of high pressure continues to move eastward, bringing that heat with it,” Schaaf said. “We have a series of weak systems that come through, which will cool things down Thursday and onward."

That will equate to Jackson County temperatures dipping down into the low 90s later in the week. The weekend forecast has them falling even further, anywhere from the low 80s to upper 70s, Schaaf said.

“This weekend, we start to drop, almost like a rock,” Schaaf said. “We have low 80s forecast for Saturday, and then mid to upper 70s for Sunday and beyond.”

Weather officials recommended frequent shade breaks and water for anyone working or playing outside for extended periods.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.