A week of rain storms and lightning strikes across Central Oregon wound down Tuesday as the weather turns more summerlike.
Clear skies and 80-degree temperatures are expected to stick around for the remainder of the week, according to the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.
But before the weather shifted Tuesday, five lightning strikes were recorded in Deschutes County and seven in Crook County. None was recorded in Jefferson County, although all three counties had five lightning strikes on Monday, according to the weather service.
Any amount of lightning is concerning for U.S. Forest Service officials as they monitor wildfire activities in the region, said Jean Nelson-Dean, spokesperson for the Deschutes National Forest.
None of the lightning strikes led to fires, but the Forest Service still tracks where and when lightning strikes, Nelson-Dean said.
“Anytime we get lightning, of course there’s always the potential for fire starts,” Nelson-Dean said.
The storms that came through Bend last week resulted in 0.28 of an inch of rain, according to weather service meteorologist Mary Wister. The rainfall was a welcome sight for the region, which is experiencing extreme drought, but the rain did very little to help the dry conditions, Wister said.
“We will take what we can get, but it will take a lot more,” Wister said.
Wister and other weather service meteorologists in the Pendleton office were busy Tuesday monitoring storms across Central and Eastern Oregon. They recorded golf ball-sized hail in the Blue Mountains and lingering storms in the Cascades. By the end of the day, most of the storms had moved out of the area.
“Things are starting to calm down, which is good,” Wister said. “The system is moving out of the area and we are getting a dry, westerly flow.”