Heat advisory for Southern Oregon through tonight

Triple-digit temperatures and possible thunderstorms are expected in Jackson County today, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory and red flag warning because of possible wildfires.

The heat advisory is in effect through 11 p.m. tonight. High temperatures are expected to soar somewhere between 102 and 105 degrees, and tonight's low is not expected to drop below 65 degrees. For Ashland, the high temperature is supposed to soar to close to 100 degrees.

A heat advisory is issued whenever an extended period of hot temperatures is expected. Heat-related illnesses are possible. Residents are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and stay in cool areas out of the sun if possible.

A chance of thunderstorms is predicted mainly for the eastern hillsides and Northern California. The National Weather Service also has issued a red flag warning from 2 to 11 p.m. today, meaning the region is ripe for lighting-sparked fires.

The notice covers portions of Jackson County and all of Klamath, Lake and Harney counties, along with parts of the Southern Oregon Cascades. Lightning activity is expected to start developing in the early afternoon, with the potential for fast-spreading wildfires elevated because of the abundance of dry vegetation on the ground and drought conditions.

"As we get into the afternoon, the lightning strikes will become more frequent," said meteorologist Mike Petrucelli. "It starts in Northern California a little bit earlier."

Wildland firefighters at the Oregon Department of Forestry have said they will mobilize additional resources and crews should fires break out.

Medford temperatures aren't expected to budge much the rest of the week. The Weather Service website shows predicted high temperatures of 99, 100 and 99 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, respectively. For Ashland, temperatures are supposed to rise into the mid- to high-90s at least through Friday.

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

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