When the hottest week in Ashland so far this year closed, thunderstorms dance around the Valley, bringing lightning to the parched landscape, igniting fires and dropping the temperature down into a cooler 90 degree range. Amid it all, Ashlanders found ways to keep cool.

Weather-wise, this week's been anything but boring.

As the hottest week in Ashland so far this year comes to a close, thunderstorms dance around the Valley, threatening to bring lightning to the parched landscape.

"We're basically a desert, so we dry out every summer," said Michael O'Brien, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Medford office. "When we get lightning, it starts fires."

Temperatures have already begun to drop — after peaking at 105 degrees on Wednesday — as cool air from the coast moves east, over Southern Oregon.

Last month and July 1994 are tied as the second hottest Julys on record in Ashland, according to Chuck Glaser, a data acquisition program manager at the National Weather Service's Medford office. The average high temperature for the month during both years was 92.5 degrees.

The hottest July — since officials began recording Ashland temperatures in 1892 — occurred in 1896 when the average high was 92.6 degrees, Glaser said.

July is typically the warmest month in Ashland, with an average high of 88 degrees. The average high in August is 85 degrees.

Forecasts call for high temperatures to hover around 95 degrees this weekend and dip to the low 90s on Monday.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.