Fire Alert

'Fire weather watch' Tuesday for E. Oregon, Wash.

NWS warns of thunderstorms with 'abundant lightning'

PENDLETON, Ore. - The scattered wildfires already fought around Oregon this late spring and summer could multiply this week after expected thunderstorms break out over Central and Eastern Oregon on Tuesday, peppering the dry region with lightning, forecasters warn.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton on Sunday issued a fire weather watch for Tuesday morning through late Tuesday night, warning of thunderstorms "producing abundant lightning" over much of northeast Oregon and southeast Washington, including the Columbia Basin, the Blue Mountains and the Eagle Cap, Wallowa and Baker Valley areas.

Although the High Desert was not included in the fire weather watch, the NWS said "thunderstorms could begin to develop around midday (Tuesday) in Central Oregon, then move north and east during the afternoon and evening."

"Storms could continue through the night, not moving out of the area until early Wednesday morning," the weather service added.

The storms are expected to bring winds gusting to 50 mph and small hail in some places. There will be little precipitation, they said, generally less than .10 of an inch, though some storms could produce brief heavy rain"

"Frequent lightning and critically dry fuels may result in numerous fire starts," the watch statement said, noting that a fire weather watch "means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur," usually followed by red flag warnings.

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