Thunderstorms hit Western Oregon, heat returns Monday

Thunderstorms hit Western Oregon, heat returns Monday
This Oregon Dept. of Forestry map details all the lightning strikes over a 24-hour period (image saved Sunday at around noon). Key: magenta, 0-1 hour; red, 1-3 hours; gold, 3-6 hours; purple 10-16 hours; black, 16-24 hours

EUGENE, Ore. -- Thunderstorms are expected to move across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington on Sunday, with strong cells dumping rain and hail in some areas.

Forecasters predict the region won't see a lot of rainfall from the storm, but rather heavy showers and hail from some pockets of the storm.  |  Current forecast

The National Weather Service reported 1/4-inch hail and lightning near Corvallis as early as 8:20 a.m. Sunday, with storms spread out across the Willamette Valley. Officials with the Oregon Country Fair said their 280-acre fairgrounds had some light showers in the morning as a storm passed through.

Thunder and lightning moved in on the Portland Metro area just before 1 p.m. Sunday, the NWS said.

Nearly 1,500 lighting strikes touched ground in Central Oregon on Sunday, sparking a total of 38 smokes or small fires across the region, the Central Oregon Fire Dispatch reported.

Most of those fires were quickly doused, but officials called fire crews out to stop a few larger ones from spreading.

The thunderstorms should die down as the sun sets.

Weather officials expect high pressure to build on Monday, bringing heat and humidity back to the region. A heat advisory is scheduled to go back into effect Monday at 11 a.m. 

NWS officials suggest people avoid the dangerous lightning storms with these tips:

- Immediately get off mountain ridges or peaks

- Never lie flat on the ground

- Never shelter under an isolated tree

- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter

- Immediately get out and away from lakes and other bodies of water