FTB 09-26-2020: Expanding Fire Danger

Issue Date: Saturday, September 26th, 2020
Issue Time: 8:45AM MDT

— Flooding is NOT expected today

Zonal flow will continue over the state today, and increasing westerly flow is forecast as a stronger and larger jet streak sets up to our north. This will expand the elevated fire weather danger across the state to the area in pink below. In the visible satellite imagery, you can also see a lot of mid and high-level cloud cover over the state and to our north from this system. However, outside of some light showers over Montana and northwest Wyoming, no precipitation is occurring. This is a testament to how little moisture is linked to this system, and PW solidifies this statement at it was measured slightly below 0.40 inches. That means that it’s too dry for any rainfall to develop today, and additionally, there will be no upper level dynamics to help with lift. Without these two key ingredients for rainfall, expect only increasing cloud cover throughout the today.

Wind speeds have already picked up over the northern Front Range and gusts up to 40 mph are being observed. The highest gust over the last hour was at always windy Berthoud Pass (~65 mph). A Red Flag Warning is in place for the majority of the state, and full details for your area can be found from your local NWS office with limited information below. Gusty conditions may affect ongoing fires, especially the Cameron Peak fire, so stay tuned to your local emergency management.

Tonight, a cold front will drop through the state, which will be marked by a shift to northerly winds. Best chances for higher gusts along the front will be over the far Southeast Plains (up to 45 mph). A few sprinkles may occur along the front, but measurable rainfall is not forecast. Cooler conditions are expected for tomorrow for the majority of the state.

Today’s Flood Threat Map

For more information on today’s flood threat, see the map below. If there is a threat, hover over the threat areas for more details, and click on burn areas to learn more about them. For Zone-Specific forecasts, scroll below the threat map.

Zone-Specific Forecasts:

Front Range, Palmer Ridge, Northern Mountains, Central Mountains, Grand Valley, Northwest Slope, Urban Corridor, & Northeast Plains:

The regions will be dealing with most of the Red Flag Warnings issued today. It’s going to be breezy with stronger gusts forecast for the mountains. More or less, west winds between 15 and 25 mph are forecast (gusts between 40 and 50 mph possible) for the higher elevations and Grand Valley. Slightly lower winds are expected over the Urban Corridor and Northeast Plains with northwest winds forecast in the 10 to 20 mph range (gusts up to 30 mph). As far a high temperatures this afternoon, it’s a repeat forecast of yesterday. Precipitation is not forecast.

San Juan Mountains, San Luis Valley, Southwest Slope, Southeast Mountains, Raton Ridge, & Southeast Plains:

Pockets of elevated fire conditions are forecast today, so be sure to tune into your local NWS office to see if your area has one issued. Over the Southeast Mountains, westerly winds between 20 and 30 mph are forecast with gusts up to 45 mph possible. Over the SLV, west winds between 15 and 25 mph are forecast with gusts up to 35 mph possible. It’s too dry for any rainfall to develop, and high temperatures will be similar to yesterday. As the front passes over the Southeast Plains late tonight, strong northerly wind gusts may be possible.