Storm Prediction Center Day 1 Fire Weather Outlook
Created: Sun Mar 4 07:29:02 UTC 2018 ( | )
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ZCZC SPCFWDDY1 ALL FNUS21 KWNS 040727 Day 1 Fire Weather Outlook NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 0127 AM CST Sun Mar 04 2018 Valid 041200Z - 051200Z ...EXTREMELY CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER AREA FOR PARTS OF EASTERN NEW MEXICO...THE TEXAS/OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES...AND FAR SOUTHEASTERN COLORADO... ...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER AREA FOR PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL HIGH PLAINS... ...Synopsis... A compact belt of 80-90 knot mid-level winds -- near the base of a large-scale western U.S. trough -- will move eastward over the four corners region and emerge over the plains through tonight. As this occurs, a lee cyclone over eastern Colorado is expected to rapidly deepen to ~996 mb while shifting toward western Kansas/Nebraska by evening. An associated dryline will extend southward from the surface cyclone -- initially being located along a N/S line near the Colorado/Kansas and Texas/New Mexico borders this morning before surging eastward into western Nebraska, western Kansas, most of the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandles, and western portions of the Edwards Plateau into this evening. A cold front is then forecast to shift across much of the central and southern High Plains tonight. ...Dangerous fire-weather conditions expected across parts of the central and southern Plains... A large area of high-end Critical fire weather conditions are expected today as strong low-level winds interact with an antecedently dry air mass and fuels that remain very dry from recent drought conditions. Downslope low-level westerly flow is forecast to strengthen today as the surface pressure gradient associated with the aforementioned lee cyclone tightens and efficient deep-layer mixing transfers higher-momentum air from aloft (from the approaching speed maxima) to the surface. Poor overnight RH recoveries, resulting from a very dry air mass, suggest that Critical fire weather conditions may already be ongoing to the west of the dryline this morning. Fire weather conditions are then expected to intensify while spreading eastward with the dryline surge through the day. The precise eastern edge of the Critical fire weather area is somewhat uncertain, as it will be modulated by how far east the dryline progresses -- something which model guidance often struggles with. Critical to high-end Critical conditions are expected west of the dryline, with sustained wind speeds of 20-30 mph (higher gusts), RH values of 5-15%, and very dry fuels. An Extremely Critical fire weather area has been maintained across portions of northeast New Mexico, far southeastern Colorado, and far southwestern Kansas where RH values of less than 10%, sustained wind speeds in excess of 30 mph (with gusts in excess of 50 mph), the center of the thermal ridge, and ERC values into the 90th percentile intersect. The Extremely Critical fire weather area was expanded slightly farther southwest into central New Mexico based on the latest high-resolution guidance. A pacific cold front is expected to cross through the area from west to east overnight. While cooler temperatures are expected in its wake, the air mass behind it will be extremely dry and may allow Elevated/Critical conditions to persist into the overnight as sustained winds remain 20+ mph behind the front (especially across eastern Colorado, western Nebraska/Kansas, and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandles). Additionally, the abrupt wind shift -- to northwesterly -- associated with front will likely exacerbate any ongoing fire fighting efforts. ...Portions of Florida... 00Z soundings at TBW/TLH depict a very dry air mass across much of Florida -- except near the Atlantic Coast. This air mass is expected to remain in place today, as post-frontal northeasterly flow persists. While critical RH values (i.e., less than 35%) are expected across the area and fuels are relatively dry, sustained surface winds are forecast to remain around 10-15 mph, which supports Elevated fire weather conditions. A Critical fire weather area could be needed in a future update if trends in guidance suggest sustained winds speeds will be stronger than currently forecast. ...Portions of Georgia and South Carolina... While a dry air mass -- with critically-lowered RH values -- is forecast over the area, the lack of stronger low-level flow (e.g., sustained surface winds are forecast to generally remain less than 10 mph) precludes introduction of an Elevated area. However, locally Elevated fire weather conditions are possible where wind speeds are enhanced and fuels receptive. ..Elliott.. 03/04/2018 ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov/fire for graphic product...
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