Bulletin Staff Report

Thunderstorms, high wind and hail possibly the size of ping pong balls are predicted for Wednesday afternoon in Deschutes County, according to the National Weather Service.

Around noon today, the National Weather Service issued a “severe thunderstorm watch” and red flag warning for possible thunderstorms that are moving from the southwest and could bring wind gusts up to 70 mph. The weather watch is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.

The first thunderstorms were first identified in the East Cascades outside of Bend around 12:30 p.m., moving north at about 20 miles per hour, said Marilyn Lohmann, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

“There will be heavy rain, but not a threat of flooding because it’s moving quicker,” Lohmann said.

A red flag warning was issued due to the possibility of lightning igniting fires in low elevation areas with dry fuels, she said.

Lohmann recommends people tie down any trash cans or other light furniture that could blow away, and to have a plan to get indoors if conditions worsen.

A tweet from the National Weather Service in Portland estimates the storm system could impact up to 2.4 million people across Oregon and Washington.