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Heat Wave Continues: Wishing For Eclipse NOW

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Wikimedia
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The total eclipse of the sun can't come soon enough for a region sweltering through some of the highest temperatures in decades.

Records fell in cities in Oregon and California on Tuesday, with greater highs expected on the Oregon side a day later.

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Ouch.

The Medford airport reported 109 degrees at 5 PM Wednesday, with a few hours of sunshine still ahead.  Redding reported 110 at the same time.  Even Eugene reported 102.

One unusual mitigating factor: wildfire smoke gathering in the valleys may diffuse the sunlight enough to blunt the high temperatures by a degree or two.

Otherwise, the weather offers no relief for people forced to spend time out-of-doors.  Several communities opened cooling shelters for people to come indoors, get a cool drink of water, and enjoy air conditioning.

Medford's Salvation Army office opened a cooling shelter on July 26th to provide some daytime respite from the heat.  The city of Ashland announced the planned opening of a cooling shelter on Wednesday and Thursday at Temple Emek Shalom, open from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM.

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Credit National Weather Service
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It's uniformly hot on the West Coast. Dark red is excessive heat warning.

Nature will provide no break for a while; an Excessive Heat Warning is in effect until 8 PM Friday (August 4).  Forecasters say a high pressure ridge remains parked over the region.

One small plus: there's very little moisture in the atmosphere, reducing the chance for thunderstorms.  But long-range forecast models show the chance could grow early next week, while temperatures finally back off a few degrees.  "Normal" for Medford at this time of year is in the mid-90s.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.