As another blast of cold air and snow aims for the northern Rockies during the second half of the week, areas farther south will contend with continued dry weather and a ramp up of gusty winds, leading to heightened fire dangers.
Red flag warnings are in effect across Northern California, as well as portions of Utah and Colorado, in anticipation of the windy weather.
Even with temperatures having trended downward as a whole across the region from their record-setting levels of last week, the risk of wildfires will remain high given the parched ground and lack of rainfall. This risk will be compounded by any high wind events, and one such wind event is in the offing beginning Wednesday night and continuing into Friday.
"The culmination of this event will occur on Thursday, when the offshore winds will be strongest. Winds could gust between 50-60 mph down some of the northeast-southwest oriented passes Thursday morning," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk said.
Strong winds will be funneled into the region as a storm system dives across the northern Rockies. Winds are also likely to kick up in the Four Corners states, including Colorado, where crews are battling the large Cameron Peak Fire.
"This will likely exacerbate the ongoing fire concerns across the region and hinder the efforts to contain these fires," Houk said.
In addition, any new fires that may spark during this time frame can quickly grow in size, threatening nearby communities with little notice.
Across Northern California, the August, Red Salmon and North Complex fires are some of the largest active blazes. Fire crews have been able to gain significant ground on all of these blazes with few high wind events over the past couple weeks.
The fire risk is expected to wane on Friday as winds start to relax. However, forecasters are monitoring yet another wind event that is projected to arrive over the weekend.
This wind event will arrive with a storm system that will break the back of the unseasonably hot conditions that have baked the Southwestern states since the summer months. In fact, temperatures could trend to below normal levels across the Desert Southwest early next week.
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