Update: Fire weather watch issued for Wednesday

The sign out in front of Moxy Up in Minden pretty much says it all.

The sign out in front of Moxy Up in Minden pretty much says it all.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A second fire watch may morph into the second red flag warning of the season on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued the watch and an accompanying lake wind advisory for noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Low pressure off the Pacific Northwest coast and high pressure near the Four-Corners region will maintain a dry southwest flow into the Sierra and Western Nevada,” National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Brian Brong said on Tuesday afternoon.

Forecasters predict that breezy winds may arrive by 10-11 a.m. Wednesday with peak gusts of 25-40 mph during the afternoon.

Dry 20-30 mph winds are going to continue to dry out fuels through the week, leaving 3-6 hours of critical fire conditions on Wednesday diminishing after sunset in the valleys.

The wind might be back on Saturday before conditions start to warm up again.

“By late this weekend or early next week, … simulations are favoring the Four Corners high to build over Nevada,” Brong said. “This will decrease winds, increase temperatures and allow thunderstorms to develop over areas south of Interstate 80.”

Long-range forecasts issued Tuesday show that the two-week temperature outlook calls for temperatures and precipitation to lean above average for the first week of August.

Above average temperatures are forecast to stick around through the end of the year, according to seasonal forecasts, with precipitation a toss-up.

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Forecast gusty winds and low humidity has resulted in a red flag warning issued for noon to 10 p.m. today.

Southwest winds are predicted to hit 15-25 mph, gusting to 30-40 mph as humidity drops to 5-12 percent.

“The combination of gusty winds and low humidity can cause fires to rapidly grow in size and intensity before first responders can contain them,” according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

Residents are asked to avoid doing yard work, target shooting or setting campfires near dry vegetation.

Hot temperatures over the past two weeks helped cure grasses and shrubs across Western Nevada. The automated weather system at Minden-Tahoe Airport recorded 99-degree high temperatures on both Saturday and Sunday.

Blustery conditions have prompted a lake wind advisory for the same times affecting Western Nevada.

Breezy west and southwest winds will continue into Wednesday may see a return of fire warnings in lower valleys.

High temperatures are expected to drop to around 90 degrees in Minden by Wednesday and stay there through the end of July.

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A heat advisory has been issued for 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today with temperatures forecast to hit 100 degrees in Minden.

The advisory issued on Friday by the National Weather Service covers most of Western Nevada, stopping at the state line except the Sierra.

“While temperatures won’t be quite as hot as last weekend, heat health risks will be elevated this afternoon,” said Reno Weather Service Meteorologist Tony Fuentes on Saturday morning. “For the next week, temperatures are expected to ease back to more typical late July levels with enhanced afternoon breezes early next week.”

The ridge of high pressure over Four Corners continues to dominate the weather pattern over the West. However, it may be pushed east on Sunday leaving the door open for blustery winds and increased fire danger into Monday.

“Teens and single digit relative humidity each afternoon combined with southwest wind gusts of 25-35 mph could yield areas of critical fire weather conditions in areas where fuels are receptive,” Fuentes said.

No rain has been recorded in Minden this month as of Saturday, though thunderstorms have doused spots east of Douglas County.

The forecast high for today is well short of Minden’s 105-degree record for July 22 set in 2003. While July’s maximum temperature of 93.8 degrees has so far been 3 degrees above average, it has a ways to go to topple the record of 98.2 degrees set in 2007.

Forecasters urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relative and neighbors.

“Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside,” according to the advisory. “When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.”

If you’re working outside take frequent breaks in the shade or under air conditioning.


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