Another day of high winds fueling critical fire weather conditions in the Plains
Extremely dry conditions and strong winds are the perfect combination for wildfires to grow and spread rapidly if any were to ignite
For the fourth day in a row, strong winds and dry conditions will lead to elevated and critical fire weather conditions across the Plains.
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On Wednesday, relative humidity levels dropped into the single digits across much of the area, and Thursday will be no different.
Areas from Las Cruces and most of New Mexico into much of West and North Texas, including Midland and Amarillo, will see relative humidity levels under 10% as the day continues.
Levels will be in the teens from Oklahoma City to Colby, Kansas, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
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Winds will be strong across the region as well.
Southern New Mexico and West Texas will see calmer winds during the day, but they will get stronger as you head north and east.
Wind gusts between 50 and 60 mph are expected across the Northern and Central Plains, with some areas potentially seeing higher gusts.
And because of the strong winds expected, High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories have been issued.
High Wind Warnings are in effect where winds and wind gusts are projected to be the most extreme.
The warnings stretch from eastern North Dakota southward through Nebraska, Kansas and western Oklahoma.
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Where conditions are the driest and winds are strongest, fire weather conditions will reach critical levels across North Texas, western Oklahoma, southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado.
Elevated fire weather conditions are expected in East Texas, from Houston to Austin and Dallas, and through central Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
On Thursday, parts of the Rockies and New Mexico will also see elevated fire weather conditions.
Fire Weather Warnings are in effect for millions of Americans from eastern Colorado into the Central Plains and from there southward through western Oklahoma.
The warnings also extend through the Lone Star State from Amarillo southward through Abilene, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Corpus Christi.
The lack of snowfall during the winter and reduced rain during the spring has much of the region dealing with significant drought issues and unseasonably high fire danger levels.
The stretches of dry weather have kept firefighters busy.
Crews report battling several large wildfires from the Plains to the Southeast and into the Tennessee Valley.
The National Interagency Fire Center reports that year-to-date, the U.S. has already seen around 20% more acres burned than during the 10-year average.
Climate outlooks indicate the dry weather will continue through April and could last into the summer because of La Niña.
The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook shows areas under the threat of significant wildfires expanding in coverage through the summer.