Dry Weather Leads to Fire Risk for the Plains.

As Jacob mentioned would be the case in his blog yesterday, it’s rather hard to find any precipitation, significant or otherwise, in the lower 48 today.

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A large area of strong high pressure resides over approximately the middle of the US. This leads to clear skies, low humidity, and generally pleasant conditions. However, it is also flanked by an area of low pressure just over the northern border in Canada and the pressure gradient between the two is causing windy conditions in the Plains states.

Just like the words “moisture, lift, instability, shear” trigger thoughts of severe weather, the words “high pressure, dry, windy” should be sounding a different sort of alarm. These conditions, when combined in the right way with exacerbating conditions at the surface often lead to a wildfire risk. And that’s exactly what we have today for a large portion of the Northern and Central Plains.

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Though not quite as glaringly dangerous as the threat we saw last week for this area, a fire threat is still just that and it often doesn’t take much for a small event to become a large problem in these conditions.

The clockwise flow around the high will lead to downsloping winds and relative humidities falling to between 10 and 20%. The tightening pressure gradient and resulting winds will help to increase the risk as sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph are expected.

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These areas are still rather dry with parched vegetation as they have seen little to no rain in the last week. Though, officially, this is defined as an elevated risk, some areas with drier conditions, lower RH values, and increasing winds could occasionally edge into critical risk territory. Simply put: the threat for wildfire spread could periodically be a bit more likely in some areas than others. Regardless, recreate responsibly today and avoid any activities that may spark a fire. It’s a holiday weekend for many and activities like grilling out or camping should be done with caution.

Enjoy your weekend and wishing y’all a Happy Easter!

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