StormTracker 9 Forecast: Cascade thunderstorms could spark fires

A new risk of wildfires comes with the forecast of thunderstorms in the Cascades Thursday.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 10:03 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 11:07 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- This morning, showers and thunderstorms moved through the region with numerous lightning strikes in the Cascades.

Activity will quiet into the midday hours with mostly sunny skies. This will allow temperatures to rise into the mid to upper 80s inland. Warm temperatures and sunshine are the recipe for increased instability this afternoon, as an upper-level disturbance in southwestern Oregon moves across the region.

Fast Forecast:
Thursday: Mostly sunny w/ slight PM chance of t-storms. Highs in low to mid 80s
Friday: Becoming sunny. Highs in mid to upper 70s
Saturday: Mostly cloudy w/ slight chance late. Highs in mid to upper 70s
Sunday: Partly sunny w/ isolated showers. Highs in mid to upper 70s
Monday: Mostly cloudy w/ isolated showers. Highs in mid to upper 70s
Tuesday: Mostly sunny w/ slight chance. Highs in mid to upper 70s
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in upper 70s to low 80s

Storms will redevelop early Thursday afternoon over the foothills and Cascades, especially south of Santiam Pass. Storms are expected to drift to northwest into the valleys.

Rainfall under thunderstorms will likely be between 0.35 to 0.75 inches under the heaviest cells, but these storms will be moving fast.

That will limit the rainfall totals. Models are also hinting at some hail being possible within these storms.

In addition to the rain and hail risk, abundant lighting will also be possible with these thunderstorms. A Red Flag Warning is in place for the Umpqua Basin, Foothills, and Cascades due to the threat of frequent lightning over critically dry fuels causing wildfires.

Thunderstorm outflow winds may also result in erratic fire spread.

Weather will be less active on Friday, but onshore flow will bring clouds to the coast and inland valleys. Clouds will gradually clear becoming partly sunny into the afternoon. Temperatures will also be cooler, highs in the 70s. Onshore flow will continue on Saturday, with more clouds on the way. Clouds are not expected to break until late Saturday afternoon.

Two upper-level storm systems will move through the region Sunday and Monday. The first system will mainly bring precipitation to the Cascades, Saturday into Sunday. The second system arrives on Sunday afternoon. The greatest chance of precipitation will be Sunday night into Monday.

Mostly sunny skies will return next week, midweek, as a California high builds out of the south. Onshore flow will likely continue, keeping temperatures relatively cool.

For more weather information, go to the KEZI 9 News StormTracker 9 weather page.

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