Extreme fire danger, high winds across eastern Colorado Sunday

PROMO 660 x 440 Fire - Danger Sign Extreme
Published Sunday, October 20, 2019
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by Chris Sorensen

Southeast and east central Colorado are under a red flag warning Sunday, while the eastern half of the state can expect wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour.

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MAP Colorado weather hazards for October 20, 2019 - NWS
Colorado weather hazards for October 20, 2019 - NWS

In northeast Colorado, strong winds are forecast to spread across the plains, with the strongest gusts - up to 60 mph - expected during the afternoon and evening. Along the foothills and northern mountains, gust up to 75 mph are possible.

A high wind warning is in effect from noon until 7:00 p.m. across the northeast part of the state Sunday

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MAP Wind gusts across Colorado October 20, 2019 - NWS
Wind gusts across Colorado October 20, 2019 - NWS

In southeast Colorado, the southern mountains and San Luis Valley, a red flag warning is in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday. Northwest winds are expected to gust between 50 and 60 mph while relative humidity is predicted to drop to as low as five percent. Following recent growing season-ending frosts, grasses and other fuels are dry and can burn easily.

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 MAP Colorado watches, warnings and advisories October 20, 2019 - NWS
Colorado watches, warnings and advisories October 20, 2019 - NWS

A fire weather watch is in place for Monday, when wind gusts to 35 mph and low humidity is expected to return.

The red flag warning extends into Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Fires that do start either day could spread quickly. Outdoor burning and any activities that could spark a fire are strongly discouraged.

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 MAP Fire weather outlook for October 20, 2019 - NWS
Fire weather outlook for October 20, 2019 - NWS

In northwest Colorado, a winter weather advisory continues until noon Sunday. Up to eight inches of snow accumulation was expected, with the highest elevations potentially seeing up to a foot of new snow. Wind gusts up to 50 mph were also predicted.

According to the National Weather Service, 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, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings.

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