Some southbound lanes of I-5 are still closed in southwestern Oregon due to the Milepost 97 wildfire. Although the fire has been spreading parallel to the highway, some smoke may blow across the road at times, reducing visibility. Congestion could be heavy at times. So, drivers should expect delays on I-5 through the Canyonville area, which is about 45 miles north of Medford. The fire is now 12,500 acres in size and remains 25 percent contained.
A Red Flag Warning is in place across portions of southern Oregon due to ongoing hot, dry, and breezy conditions that could spark and spread additional fires. Frequent lightning could spark fires in eastern Idaho where a Red Flag Warning is also in effect.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Look for another day of scattered showers and thunderstorms across portions of the Rockies, Great Basin, and Great Plains. Narrow swaths of severe storms could develop from Denver to the Canadian border, and from Denver to Kansas City, with a special concentration at the intersection of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. These storms will produce areas of large hail, intense winds, and possibly a couple of isolated tornadoes on portions of the I-70, I-76, and I-80 corridors.
Some places on the Kansas-Missouri border have already reported flash flooding this morning. Periods of very heavy rainfall will continue in some of these places over and over again, a process known as “training.” This will happen in other spots today, too, causing flash flooding and potential roadblocks. The areas at highest risk of this today and tonight are along I-29 from Omaha, Nebraska to Kansas City and northwestern Arkansas, as well as from Denver to Casper, Scottsbluff and Rapid City. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch for these areas.
Hurricane Erick is getting weaker as it approaches the Island of Hawaii, often referred to as “the Big Island.” It’s now a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph, centered about 400 miles southeast of Hilo. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 30 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds (39 to 73 mph) extend up to 125 miles away.
Erick is moving toward the west-northwest at about 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. It’s forecast to weaken further today, back to a tropical storm. The center of Erick will pass about 150 miles south of the Island of Hawaii tonight, Hawaii Standard Time (HST).
Swells generated by Erick will increase today and tonight, producing potentially dangerous surf, mainly along eastern and southeastern facing shores of the Hawaiian islands. Gusty winds and heavy rainfall are also likely. The NWS has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the Island of Hawaii.
Behind Erick is Tropical Storm Flossie, which was once a hurricane. Flossie is about 1,275 miles east of Erick and is projected to move just to the north of the Island of Hawaii early next week.
Have a great day, everyone, and be careful out there!