Mountain storms likely to return to region this afternoon

Another round of thunderstorms is expected in the mountains of Southern Oregon today, bringing heightened risk of wildfires.

The National Weather Service office in Medford has issued a "red flag" warning for this afternoon, noting that lightning, winds, low humidity and heat will create the potential for fast-growing fires in the forests.

Meteorologist Marc Spilde said a low-pressure system off the California coast is drawing moist air from the south into the area that forms afternoon thunderstorms when it hits the heat in this region. Most storm cells will form in the Siskiyous, the Cascades and areas east of the mountains, although scattered thunderstorms could roll into the Rogue Valley, he said.

Heavy rain and hail are possible in some of the storms that will form mainly east of a line from Mount Ashland to Medford to Prospect, the warning said. Winds could reach 30 to 40 mph near some storms.

Storms will diminish after 11 p.m. today. Later in the week, thunderstorms will be likely to the east, but not in Medford.

— Anita Burke

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