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Friday, February 18, 2011

PLEASE DONT burn this weekend!

National Weather Service Wakefield – : Wakefield, VA
Temperatures and relative humidity values have been higher over the last few days since the Red Flag Warning that was issued on Monday, 14 February.  Over the next 24 to 36 hours, a high pressure system will hold sway and winds and temperatures will increase to approximately 70 degrees through Friday afternoon with cooler temperatures in the Southwest.  By Friday evening and early Saturday, a cold front will sweep into the region creating a fairly windy day especially across the eastern two-thirds of Virginia.  Temperatures will drop off a bit Saturday, but will remain fairly warm with most areas above 60 degrees.  Relative humidity values on Friday are expected to be lower than Thursday across most of Virginia, especially east of the Piedmont Region where values anywhere from 30 to 45% are expected.  On Saturday humidity values will decrease considerably.  Areas east of I-81 will be at or below 20% for most of the day with winds of 20 mph or higher, especially north of I-64 making Saturday the greatest risk for fire weather.  Areas of Southwest and West Central VA along and west of the Blue Ridge, i.e. west of Roanoke, will have the least risk for fire weather on Saturday with higher humidity values and weaker winds. 

Question for NWS – Is there a possibility of precipitation for Southwest VA Friday and Saturday?  Answer – No possibility.  The front that passes through will be dry.  We aren’t likely to see any precipitation until Tuesday, that being mainly for the western portion of the state.

Virginia Department of Forestry – John Miller: VDOF, Statewide Forest Fire Summation Report 
Our primary concern will be for Friday and Saturday.  One of the criteria used in determining Red Flag Warnings is the amount of fuel moisture present.  Current fuel moisture levels across the state are generally low, especially in areas of Central and Eastern VA, indicating a particularly dry winter.  VDOF has 2 helicopter contractors on call but is currently at Normal Operations for the spring fire season.

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