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Triple digits could return to Medford by Friday

Don't flip the air conditioner to "off" just yet. Medford's high temperature for Friday is forecast to reach into the triple digits — 104 degrees. 

The National Weather Service has forecast a string of high temperatures in the mid 90s that could cap with triple digits Friday. The whole week leading up to the toasty peak is expected to be pretty hot.

"We're expecting into the 90s pretty much for the next seven days. At least," said meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies. "Unfortunately, the hottest day will be one of the first days of school." 

The week of toasty temperatures is about 15 to 20 degrees above normal for this time of year, weather officials said. The sudden rally in rising mercury comes on the heels of four days where high temperatures didn't exceed 88 degrees. On Friday, Sept. 4, the high temperature was 69, followed by highs of 73, 81 and 88 Saturday through Monday.

That brief, cool reprieve came after the hottest summer in 105 years of the weather service's recorded temperatures for the city, and a month of sky-masking smoke from nearby wildfires that kept Medford's air quality out of the "good" category for 29 straight days. 

Following this week's blast of heat, the region could see some lightning, though the Rogue Valley won't see much of the action, if any, weather service officials said. 

"When the ridge finally shifts east, we're looking for a chance of thunderstorms on Saturday," Nelaimischkies said. "Mostly from the Cascades and northern Lake and Klamath counties." 

Actual autumn weather is expected to start crawling back by Wednesday, Sept. 16, when temperatures are forecast to start dipping back down into the 80s. 

"We should start seeing a cooldown middle of next week," Nelaimischkies said. "We're still looking for just a slow, gradual cooldown."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.