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Hot days, cool mornings in Medford’s Labor Day forecast

Jamie Lusch / mail TribuneSmoke settles Friday in on an orchard off Stage Road in Medford on Friday.
Air quality advisory extended through the weekend

"Well above normal“ temperatures and ”unhealthy“ smoke levels are in the Rogue Valley’s forecast through Labor Day weekend.

Aside from brief periods of relief over the weekend — primarily Saturday — the Medford area will see unhealthy levels of smoke through Tuesday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Sandler and an extended Oregon Department of Environmental Quality air quality advisory for Jackson County.

As of noon Friday, Medford’s air quality index was at 182 — considered “unhealthy” — and had been at the same level since noon Thursday.

A weather system should slightly improve the smoke late Saturday, but Sandler described it as “very brief for us here in Medford.”

Roseburg, Grants Pass and the Illinois Valley may see better air quality, but Sandler described it as closer to “moderate” smoke levels.

“It’s not going to be bright blue skies for Grants Pass and the Illinois Valley,” Sandler said.

Southern Oregon has seen heavy smoke since Aug. 3, largely from winds carrying smoke from fires in Douglas County. Next week, shifting winds could start carrying smoke from California wildfires.

“Monday we’re going to start seeing smoke from the California fires aloft,” Sandler said. “We could see smoke from both areas Monday and Tuesday.”

Sandler said that temperatures are expected to reach the high 90s by the end of the weekend.

Medford has a forecast high of 93 Saturday, which Sandler described as “above normal.” It will rise to 95 Sunday and 98 Monday and Tuesday, which Sandler called “well above normal.”

Making the heat more bearable, however, will be cooler mornings with temperatures in the 50s.

“If the smoke wasn’t around, this is usually a nice time of year,” Sandler said. “People would normally be opening up their windows.”

Sandler said a “cooling off” period is in next week’s forecast.

“We’re hoping maybe it brings rain,” Sandler said.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.