Dangerous fire conditions return to eastern Colorado Sunday ahead of winter storm system

PROMO 660 x 440 Fire - Danger Sign High
Published Sunday, February 2, 2020
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by Chris Sorensen

The National Weather Service is predicting record warm temperatures Sunday, contributing to a red flag warning for high fire danger in eight eastern Colorado counties. 

The warning will be in effect from noon until 6:00 p.m. as temperatures soar to the upper 70s for most areas. Relative humidity across the region is expected to sink below 10 percent, while south winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour are predicted.

2020-02-02_map_red_flag_warning_and_winter_weather_alerts_for_southeast_colorado_february_2_2020_-_nws.png

MAP Red Flag Warning and winter weather alerts for southeast Colorado February 2, 2020 - NWS
Red Flag Warning and winter weather alerts for southeast Colorado February 2, 2020. Courtesy NWS

The warning applies to all or portions of eight eastern Colorado counties, including Baca, Prowers, Bent, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Yuma and eastern Las Animas. Cimarron County in the Oklahoma panhandle, and all western Kansas counties along the Colorado border, will also see a red flag warning.

A strong weather system is moving onshore from the Pacific Northwest region, contributing to Sunday's dangerous fire conditions. As the system progresses, much colder temperatures and widespread snow are expected in south central and southeast Colorado Monday and Tuesday.

Up to three inches of snow is expected on the plains, while high temperatures fall to the mid-30s Monday, and below freezing Tuesday. Northeast wind between 15 and 20 mph is also expected both days. Tuesday's highs will be as much as 40 to 50 degrees cooler than Sunday.

Elsewhere in Colorado, winter storm watches and winter weather advisories will be in effect Monday morning into Tuesday. Six to 12 inches of snow is possible in mountain areas, along with wind gusts to 60 mph. the San Juan, La Garita, Mosquito and Sawatch ranges can looking for winter storm impacts. Travel conditions may be hazardous particularly for Wolf Creek and Monarch passes in southern Colorado. Check the latest road conditions, provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, at http://COTrip.org.

Southeast Colorado was also under a red flag warning Friday for similar high fire danger in the area.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, dry fuels and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

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