Hundreds of lightning strikes illuminated the landscape this afternoon and evening. Storms began firing early this afternoon, and continued for several hours. A fire weather warning is in effect Wednesday, then another becomes effective Thursday afternoon – for good reason. A handful of fires have already been sparked in northern California and southern Oregon, and the lightning threat returns on Thursday.
Thunderstorms that develop Thursday will most likely be more isolated in nature than those Wednesday afternoon. That’s because we will see less instability, less available moisture, and a more southwesterly flow aloft. With daytime heating, another round of storms will develop Thursday afternoon, but activity will be more focused in Siskiyou County and along and east of the Cascades. However, there may also be a few storms that enter mainly southeastern Jackson County (as was the case Tuesday evening), but that’s about as far west as they are expected to reach. There will be another bout of frequent and dangerous cloud to ground lighting with Thursday’s thunderstorms.
As for the heat, today was the twelfth triple digit day in Medford. If Thursday proves to be as hot as forecasted, it would be the thirteenth. It’s been mentioned before, but this July is on track to be the hottest on record for Medford. What that means is that when the overnight low and afternoon high are averaged for each day, the average for this July is higher than the 1911 record. This July’s average temperature, so far, is around 79.6 degrees. The 1911 July average temperature was 78.9 degrees, which means this July has already, unofficially, broken the record. However, if only high temperatures are taken into account, so far this July would be the second hottest on record.
Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna