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Very high to critical fire danger concerns expected Saturday

Wind gusts expected to blow as high as 40-45 mph throughout the day
The Brazos Valley has been classified under a "Very High" and "High" fire danger Saturday,...
The Brazos Valley has been classified under a "Very High" and "High" fire danger Saturday, January 15(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:59 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2022 at 8:33 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A major winter storm will impact much of the Central, Southern, and Eastern United States Friday through Sunday. While ice and snow impacts are expected to remain east of Texas this weekend, extremely blustery winds will be an issue. A WIND ADVISORY is in effect through 6pm Saturday.

STRONG WINDS

A cold front shoves through the Brazos Valley by 3-4am Saturday. As that front passes by, temperatures take a quick tumble on wind gusts as high as 35-45mph. Windy, gusty conditions continue through Saturday and Saturday night before slowly settling Sunday. Here’s what is expected:

  • Saturday Morning: Sustained: 25-30mph | Gusts: 40-45mph
  • Saturday Afternoon: Sustained 20-25mph | Gusts: 35-40mph
  • Sunday Morning: Sustained 10-15mph | Gusts: 30mph

Any lightweight, loose items that are in your yard or property should be secured or moved closer to a sturdy, wind-blocking structure before Friday evening.

“VERY HIGH” FORECAST FIRE DANGER

The Texas A&M Forest Service has placed the Brazos Valley under a “High” (3 out of 5) and “Very High” (4 out of 5) category for Saturday, January 15th.

A combination of fast, gusty wind, relative humidity values falling below 30% Saturday afternoon, and ongoing drought conditions / dormant winter grass and vegetation will allow fires to both start and spread quickly. Any activity or task that includes an open flame or sparks should be avoided in the wake of this weekend’s cold front.

The National Weather Service has issued a RED FLAG WARNING for Lee County from 9 am to 6 pm Saturday. According to the agency, “very strong northwest winds will develop behind the front, with gusts near 45 to 50 mph possible through the day. Dry air will be in place and finer files are drought-stressed and cured. Therefore, it is likely that critical fire weather conditions will occur.

Fire Weather Safety Tips:

  • Do not throw cigarette buts out of the car window or outdoors
  • Be careful not to drag trailer chains that could cause sparks
  • Do not park a recently driven car on dry grass
  • Avoid outdoor burning and check recently burned piles for flare-ups
  • Clear out dead vegetation from around your home
  • Do not use outdoor grills or fire pits
  • Be sure to keep welding materials and activities away from dry brush

FRIGID WIND CHILLS

While fire danger is the main concern, icy-feeling wind chills will also be an impact of the weekend. Saturday morning feels-like conditions are expected near or right at 32° as this cold air mass settles in. By afternoon, even with thermometers attempting to reach 50°, wind chills values will only run in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Forecast temperatures and wind chills for Saturday, January 15th
Forecast temperatures and wind chills for Saturday, January 15th(KBTX)

While lighter, a breezy wind will turn a light freeze -- between 30° and 32° -- Sunday morning into air that feels more like 22° - 26° as we start the second half of the weekend. The numbers in pink above are what you should dress yourself and the family for before stepping outdoors this weekend.

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