NWS issues Fire Weather alerts for Friday
The National Weather Service is issuing a red flag warning for inland Lee County, inland Charlotte County and DeSoto County between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday. Red flag warnings are issued when critical wildfire conditions are occurring or expected to develop shortly.
A fire weather watch is being issued for inland Collier County, Hendry County and Glades County. This watch will be active from Friday morning through Saturday evening. Fire weather watches are issued by the NWS when critical fire conditions are expected to occur. This includes having strong winds at or above 15 mph and relative humidity values falling below 35%.
On Friday afternoon, forecast data shows relative humidity values falling below 40% after 2 p.m. At this same time, winds in the area are expected to be between 10 and 20 mph with gusts topping 30 mph.
Wind is a major concern when an area is dry and humidity values are low. Strong winds can easily allow a fire to grow by quickly pushing the flames toward areas that haven’t yet burned. That gives the fire new fuel to grow and get larger.
Related article: See how winds impact the spread of wildfire here
A high threat of wildfires has been looming over Southwest Florida for the past several days thanks to the combination of strong east-northeast winds and generally low humidity values for late May. The issue is compounded because of the absence of substantial rain in the region lately outside of a few fast-moving showers on the breeze this afternoon.
Because of the weather setup, burning is by no means advised in the area, but particularly in the regions under the fire weather watch.
Tonight on NBC2 News starting at 3 p.m., we’ll look at how the wind forecast evolves over the next two days, what rain chances look like for Friday and Saturday and if there’s any indication of the weather pattern breaking down in the foreseeable future.