There are a couple weather-related concerns today but none that have to do with severe thunderstorms. After a lion of a March we’re continuing to ring in April like a lamb. That’ll change at some point down the road but for now at least we can enjoy it. The lack of widespread rain over the last week has started to slow some of the spring vegetative growth. It may not be necessarily noticeable to most folks but in terms of fire-weather forecast it is an important note. Today will be windy across most of the state with above-average temperatures. It’ll be downright hot across the Permian Basin into Northwest Texas as temperatures soar towards the lower 90s. I expect most locations today will top out in at least the 80s with the warmer spots in the lower 90s.
Winds will be quite noticeable today as wind gusts exceed 35-40 MPH in the northwest half of the state. Some wind gusts could approach 50 MPH in the Texas Panhandle late this afternoon when a cold front and associated wind shift arrive. That wind shift is important to note since any wildfires in progress could drastically change direction.
The fire weather meteorologists have designated today an extremely critical fire weather day in the Texas Panhandle. That is the highest risk level issued and we had one a few weeks back when the Pampa, Shamrock, and Alva/Medicine Lodge wildfires developed. Each of those fires burned many square miles with the Alva/Medicine Lodge fire burning over 350,000 acres. Conditions today will also be quite favorable for fast-moving, life-threatening wildfires. Critical fire weather danger includes all of West Texas, the Big Country, Northwest Texas, and western sections of North Texas. Fire danger will be very high to near-critical across the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, Hill Country, Central Texas, and the remainder of North Texas. Seriously – don’t burn outdoors today. If the wind is able to get ahold of any spark or ember it could carry it a good distance.
Red Flag Warnings have been hoisted for the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, Big Country, Northwest Texas, and western North Texas. A RFW is issued when meteorological conditions reach required threshold to support a critical/extreme threat of wildfires. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and require significant resources to control. A windshift later today could be dangerous to firefighters.
A cool front with an associated windshift will move south tonight across Texas> Temperatures really won’t become noticeably cooler but winds will shift to the north/northwest as very dry air moves in behind the front.
Temperatures will be cooler by a few degrees on Wednesday with a very dry airmass settling in. Wildfire danger will remain high to near critical due to low relative humidity values. A saving grace preventing another day of extreme conditions will be lower wind speeds.