Lightning strikes abundant in central Oregon; cloud cover keeps S. Oregon cooler than expected


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PORTLAND, Oregon — Hundreds of lightning strikes dotted a wide swath of central Oregon as summer thunderstorms rolled through on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

More than 750 lightning strikes were recorded, said Jada Altman at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville. Fire crews quickly jumped on a handful of small wildfires spotted by lookouts.

One of the lightning strikes sparked a house fire in Bend, KTVZ-TV reported (http://is.gd/UayLQf).

The National Weather Service said Tuesday's highs reached 96 degrees in Redmond and 91 in Bend.

Thick morning cloud cover kept the highs a little lower than expected in southern Oregon, said weather service meteorologist Mike Stavish.

Medford had a high of 89.

While the atmosphere was fairly unstable, few thunderstorms hit southern Oregon, Stavish said.

Oregon has begun a dry, hot spell that increases the wildfire danger in much of the state.

The hot weather is expected to last through the week.

Wildland firefighters at the Oregon Department of Forestry have said they'll mobilize additional resources and crews should fires break out.

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