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Enhanced Fire Danger Monday & Tuesday

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Several forecast issues to deal with during the coming week. First is the strength of the winds for Monday and Tuesday which together with the warmer temperatures will quickly dry out the fine fuels such as grass and weeds resulting in an enhanced fire danger. Second is the timing of our next cold front which will have quite an effect on temperatures for Wednesday and any rain associated with that.

For tonight, the clear skies and light winds will likely result in at least patchy fog for the late night hours. After sunrise, a southerly wind will be on the increase and should be in the 10-20 mph range by afternoon. That should warm things up rather quickly resulting in afternoon temperatures around the 80 degree mark. The relative humidity is expected to drop to less than 40% during the afternoon as well. Tuesday will see even stronger S to SW winds, temperatures likely reaching the low-mid 80s, and relative humidity levels also less than 40%. That all translates into an enhanced fire danger situation.

Then, the next cold front will be arriving later Tuesday night or perhaps Wednesday morning. The more recent model runs have slowed this boundary somewhat which will have quite an impact on temperatures. One of the models suggests it may not arrive till just before noon on Wednesday, but most of the others have it moving through just before sunrise. A later arrival means we could start off Wednesday morning in the 60s, then the gusty northerly winds behind the boundary will cool us off into the lower 50s during the afternoon. In other words, what we refer to as an inverted temperature profile. An earlier arrival would mean we would have northerly winds pretty much all day with temperatures starting off in the 50s and then not warming much if at all.

In either event, there will be a chance of rain and possibly some thunder with the frontal passage either late Tue night or Wed morning followed by lingering cloud cover and periods of rain or showers through Wed night and ending Thu morning. This should be a rather widespread, but generally light rainfall event which will be helpful but will not do much to alleviate the drought situation.

If the system aloft moves on eastward as anticipated, then we should have lots of sunshine by Friday and going into the coming weekend. Also, after a couple of chilly nights late this week, a return to southerly winds should also initiate a warming trend in time for the coming weekend.

So, the bottom line is last night's rains were very helpful and any rain we receive this week is also badly needed. But, the drought situation continues and we need far more moisture before that changes.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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