As expected, Monday evening brought frequent lightning strikes throughout Northern California and up into southern Oregon. Storms traveled from the southeast into Jackson and Josephine Counties, and lightning strikes in Medford caused power outages. Some storms reached severe limits in Siskiyou County, producing heavy rain and gusty winds.
This uptick in thunderstorm activity is due to the upper level low parked off the coast of California. As it is separated from the jet stream, waves of energy rotate around the center of low pressure, similar to spokes on a tire. We will continue to see storms in the area, especially during the afternoon, through Wednesday, until the low shifts off towards the northeast.
Smoke has also been on the increase because of the southeasterly winds. Fires burning in northern California kept central Siskiyou County in a blanket of smoke and haze last week, but when the winds shifted, that smoke was pushed into southern Oregon. Air quality has been impacted in both Jackson and Josephine Counties, which will continue at least for the next day or so.
By Tuesday night, a cold front sweeps through and drops temperature by several degrees. Highs will drop below average to the middle 80′s by Wednesday. The cool down will only be temporary, as highs will be back to the upper 90′s heading into the weekend.
Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna