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FOR 8/16/2018 - Provided by Medford NWS with editing and additional content by Rogueweather

Our latest thunderstorm threat has ended in our area tonight. Luckily, we did not see a lot of lightning activity out if either today or yesterday. But sadly, what we did see ignited one new major fire for sure in Modoc County west of Canby called the Stone Fire. Lightning may be the cause of a new major fire in Lake County as well. This fire is west of Paisley. It is called the Watson Creek Fire. Both of these fires had substantial growth today. They look as though they will be long duration events.
Stable air moves in behind the trough tomorrow, so we don`t expect any more thunderstorms. However, there always seems to be some fire weather concern around here in the summer, and tomorrow it will be winds and low humidity. Gusty winds associated with the trough and low humidities could pose concerns to crews battling new fires that have started on the east side tomorrow. At the same time, an upper ridge will build in from the west and a surface thermal trough develops underneath along the coast. This will lead to offshore flow over the coast and adjacent mountains along with moderate to poor humidity recoveries tomorrow night into Saturday. It looks like this peaks Saturday morning, but some semblance of the thermal trough remains into Sunday. The rest of us can expect hotter drier weather this weekend, smoke dependent.
Speaking of smoke, there is finally some hope at clearing the smoke out of some areas. High resolution smoke models show an improvement as that trough moves through and the winds aloft turn a little more westerly. By later tomorrow, these models show smoke being pushed off to the southeast, and this will allow areas not immediately downwind of the fires to improve. This may include the Rogue Valley, but it will be close. You will notice though that confidence in this overall is low enough that the air quality alert stands until further notice.
Medium range forecasting models remain consistent in showing another closed low dropping in over us late this weekend into early next week. While the models are not very excited about thunderstorms with this trough, it`s hard to imagine an upper trough coming through in August that doesn`t produce some convection. There will be a slight chance for thunderstorms over the Cascades north of Crater Lake / Diamond Lake Sunday and Monday just to start trending in that direction.


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