Lightning, high winds possible this afternoon, Wednesday
Predicted lightning activity fell flat in Jackson County overnight, but the National Weather Service anticipates lightning and stormy weather could affect the Rogue Valley through Thursday.
The agency issued a red flag warning for today, its second this week. The warning is in effect for all of Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, and most of Curry County, from 2 to 11 p.m. today.
"Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop again this afternoon and this evening," the warning said, adding high winds with gusts of up to 40 mph are possible.
And more red flag warnings could be on the way.
"It is possible they could get extended into Thursday," meteorologist Brett Lutz said, adding the greatest chances for thunderstorms across Jackson County are today and Wednesday.
Some fire-tempering precipitation is expected with the storms, which mimics recent thunderstorm activity east of the Cascades.
"Where they are coming down, they're providing significant amounts of rainfall," Lutz said.
Several small lightning-sparked fires were reported in the Ashland watershed and just north of Dutchman Peak Monday, following about 125 strikes across the county Sunday night. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest reported moisture was an aid in crews' initial attack on the burns. An update on the status of those fires was not immediately available Tuesday.
"There may be some 'holdover' fires associated with (Sunday)’s storm. An aerial reconnaissance flight is monitoring for any new starts," fire officials said.
Data from the Oregon Department of Forestry showed there have been 22 lightning-caused fires in 2015 so far on the agency's 1.8 million acres of protected lands, and another 100 were caused by people. The Buckskin fire, which roared to life in June after a lightning strike, is not included on that list, nor are the Monday starts in the Ashland watershed, as they are on federal lands.
Monday evening's lightning activity was confined to one strike in Jackson County, located near Highway 66 by the Klamath County line. Another 24 were recorded just over the border in Klamath County.
"They stayed down toward the Siskiyous and over to Klamath County," Lutz said. "(Tuesday) should be more active."
The red flag warning said "abundant" dry lightning strikes are possible outside of the rainfall's "wet cores."