Weather should be warm for holiday

Thunderstorms today in Central Oregon could start new wildfires

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Despite sizzling temperatures Tuesday and today in Bend, the forecast for the Fourth of July is pleasant.

The unofficial high at the Bend Municipal Airport on Tuesday was 90 degrees, and today’s high is expected to be near it, said Wade Earle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton. Some thunderstorms could roll through Central Oregon today and tonight, but then the days should be sunny, warm and dry for at least a week.

“It is summer,” Earle said. “It is our dry season so it is not surprising.”

Temperatures should then cool for the rest of the week and through the weekend.

The Fourth of July, Friday, should have a high of 83 degrees in Bend and 85 in Redmond, he said. While warm, the high Friday shouldn’t come close to the record high temperature for the holiday. That record in Bend for July 4 is 98 degrees, set in 1924.

There have been some Fourth of July holidays in Central Oregon that called for fleece and blankets for fireworks watchers. The lowest high temperature in Bend for July 4 is 56, set in 1978. The record low in Bend for July 4 is 29, set in 1901.

The hot, dry weather this week has the attention of wildland firefighters in Central Oregon, particularly with thunderstorms possible today, said Lisa Clark, a spokeswoman with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.

The Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon issued a red-flag warning, an advisory that weather conditions are conducive to wildfire, for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. The warning centers on the potential thunderstorms starting midday and continuing into the evening, with gusty winds around 30 mph.

“They are looking at (storms) that could bring abundant lightning,” Clark said.

While thunderstorms could bring a mix of dry and wet lightning, or lightning without or with rain, she said any rainfall probably would be light.

Fire crews will position themselves around the region today to shorten response times to potential wildfires, Clark said. She urged people heading to public lands today and into the weekend to heed fireworks bans and restrictions by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies, and to be careful with campfires.

“We could get enough work out of the lightning,” Clark said. “We don’t need a human-caused fire.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com