The burning wildfires are now impacting our air quality levels ..reading moderate to unhealthy across much of the area. The smoke has also kept our temperatures slightly cooler, by about 5-10 degrees.
Clouds are streaming in from our south and west, increasing the moisture content in our air. Higher humidities will help firefighting efforts today. However, these clouds are expected to bring more thunderstorms to the region. Isolated to scattered storms will develop this afternoon and evening and will travel west, northwest. It’s possible storms could travel over the Cascades into Jackson County so the Rogue Valley is under a fire weather warning starting at 11am. This warning also includes the Cascades, Eastern Douglas County, the Basin and Northern California.
Although we don’t want the lightning, these storms could produce heavy rainfall as they will be slow movers. The lightning for one could produce new starts but could also put fire crews in dangerous conditions where they are outside. The heavy rainfall could help firefighting efforts, but the concern is for flash flooding over new burn scars. Significant rainfall could lead to rock or mudslides in these areas.
Strong outflow winds are another thing crews will need to watch out for. The smoke will be a contributing factor to how widespread today’s event will end up being. It’s quite possible storms end up being isolated as opposed to widespread. With that being said, it’s something we need to just play by ear. This will help the forecasting for the rest of the week, on days when storms are possible.
In terms of the timing of storm development …it looks like early afternoon for the Basin and mid afternoon for the Cascades and Siskiyou County. This also means mid to late afternoon for the Rogue Valley if storms are able to travel over the mountains.
Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese