OUTLOOK SHOWS HIGH FIRE DANGER PERSISTS
4, 2006 — The southern Plains will remain at risk of wildfires through
the first week of the New Year as NOAA
predicts mild temperatures, low humidity and strong winds in combination
with drought-stricken land.
(Click NOAA image for larger view of the NOAA Climate Prediction
Center's hazards assessment for the United States issued on Jan. 3,
2006, which is valid Jan. 6-17. Click
here for latest outlook. Please credit “NOAA.”)
cooler temperatures are expected in the southern Plains through Friday,
dry northwesterly winds and the continued drought will keep the area
prone to wildfires. This fire threat is expected to increase this weekend
as temperatures warm back up with dry southwesterly winds," said
Phillip Bothwell, fire weather expert for the NOAA
Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. "People in the southern
Plains must be mindful of the dry conditions by ensuring cigarettes
are properly extinguished and honoring local burn bans.”
fueling these winter fires include:
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, issued by NOAA and partner agencies
on Thursday, shows the driest conditions in the nation lie across
central and eastern Texas, central and eastern Oklahoma and western
Arkansas where the drought is described as "severe" to "exceptional."
fuels. Grass and other vegetation have been starved of
rain and snow. No precipitation is forecast through the weekend and
the coming winter months also may not be helpful. Drought in the southern
Plains is forecast to "persist or intensify" through March,
according to the latest U.S. drought outlook by the NOAA
Climate Prediction Center.
temperatures. While temperatures will cool somewhat by
midweek from their recent record levels, forecast highs after Tuesday
will remain 5 to 10 degrees above average into Friday with even warmer
temperatures for the weekend.
humidity. Dry air will be transported by westerly and
northwesterly winds from the central and southern Rockies.
Breezy conditions and gusty winds help to fan existing flames.
of the southern Plains are urged to stay up-to-date on this elevated
fire weather situation through forecasts and special statements from
NOAA National Weather Service
forecast offices and the two-day fire outlooks from the NOAA Storm Prediction
agency of the U.S. Department of
Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national
safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal
and marine resources.
Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS),
NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to
develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet
Relevant Web Sites
National Weather Service
Storm Prediction Center Fire Weather Forecasts
Climate Prediction Center
Fire Weather Information Center
Drought Information Center
Chris Vaccaro, NOAA
National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622 ext. 134