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Thunderstorms with abundant lightning are forecast this afternoon through early Friday morning. Residents are asked to listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch, which will take effect in Hood River and Wasco counties from 1 p.m. today through 2 a.m. on Friday due to drought conditions and thunderstorm forecasts.

A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur; and residents are asked to listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

An upper-level disturbance is forecast to bring scattered thunderstorms to central Oregon this afternoon, according to a National Weather Service press release, and is expected to spread north and east across the region through the evening. Some thunderstorms will produce abundant lightning, said the press release, especially across central Oregon into Ochoco-John Day Highlands, that could lead to fire starts; and gusty downdraft and outflow winds could result in quick spreads of new and ongoing fires. The National Weather Service expects thunderstorms should end across northeast Oregon and southeast Washington on Friday.

“We have very droughty conditions right now and possible dry lightning and/or thunderstorms are forecasted tomorrow, through tomorrow night,” said Hood River County Emergency Manager Barb Ayers. Though today’s storm is only expected to bring about two tenths of an inch of rain, Ayers said that the National Weather Service forecasts more rain for the Gorge in the coming week, possibly repeatedly in the next month, for drought relief.

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