Jun 3, 2014 8:32 AM by Stephen Bowers
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for critical fire weather conditions coming together for today from 11 AM to 8 PM. Temperatures warming into the 80's & 90's and even triple digits combined with humidity dropping to below 10% and winds of 30-40 mph with gusts to near 60 mph will combine to drastically increase the fire danger. Do not allow recent moisture to let you think any burning is safe today.
Strong 100+ mph winds at an altitude of about 35,000 feet will help to initiate low pressure development over the Southeastern Plains today. Analysis of weather data at the ground indicates pressure has been falling overnight over the Eastern Plains. The developing low pressure will draw air into its core from all around, and some of the air feeding into the low will come down from the mountains, blowing at 30-40 mph and gusting to near 60 mph. That downslope wind will warm temperatures easily into the 80's and 90's with triple digits possible in the Southeastern Plains. Warming temperatures and drying air will mean the humidity drops off. The heat will be unmistakable this afternoon, and the fire danger will among the highest days we have seen since last summer.
A stream of moisture in the middle and upper layer of the atmosphere will mean some high-altitude clouds today. Don't expect any precipitation from those clouds. By 7 AM, temperatures will be close to 60 along I-25. At 10 AM, expect 70's around Colorado Springs and in high elevations with low-to-mid 80's along and south of the Arkansas River. Lunch time will be in the 80's & 90's, and we will warm through the 80's and 90's through 5 PM. The Lower Arkansas Valley from La Junta to Lamar likely will warm to 100-102 this afternoon, and Springfield will warm to near 100 degrees, too.
The fire risk backs off after today, and rain returns to the forecast gradually tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, Temperatures come down with the increasing coverage of rain. Showers will continue into Saturday, then we will begin drying on Sunday.