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Friday second day in a row of record-breaking high temperatures

 Posted: 11:45 AM January 24, 2014

Medford has hits its second day of record-setting high temperatures in a row, according to the National Weather Service.

A temperature of 63 degrees was reported at about 10:30 a.m., surpassing the previous Jan. 24 high temperature record last set in 1992. On that day, it was 62 degrees. Weather officials expect the all-time January record of 71 degrees will be shattered today, too, breaking a 100-plus year record.

"It's really unusual," said Ryan Sandler, NWS meteorologist of the persistent high temperatures. "This is impressive. To break a monthly all-time record does not happen very often."

Thursday's 67-degree high temperature beat out a record last set in Jan. 23, 1959, when the temperature reached 65 degrees.

"It felt really nice to go outside (Thursday). This time of year we've all acclimated to 30 degrees, 40 degrees and it feels like summer," Sandler said.

A combination of winds and warmer air that had been held hostage at higher elevations has made the last two days possible.

"We've had this high temperature, this bubble of warmer air," Sandler said, adding winds pushed the air mass down the hills into the valleys, warming it as it compressed. "It's the same principle as a bicycle pump."

Sandler likened the phenomenon to what he called the "Chetco Effect," where wind travels down from the Siskiyous into the Chetco River and out toward the coast.

"As it blows out into Brookings, they end up with 60-degree temperatures at Christmastime," Sandler said.

The unusually dry weather and winds prompted the weather service to issue a red flag warning until noon today across Southern Oregon because of an increased chance for wildfires. The Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service and private landowners are helping to fight a 125-acre wildfire 16 miles northeast of Shady Cove.

— Ryan Pfeil


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