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Gusty winds, wildfire danger to increase in southwestern U.S. Monday, Tuesday

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 4/14/2018 Alex Sosnowski

Winds are expected to increase, and along with that the potential for wildfire ignition and rapid spread will rise as well. © Jim Urquhart Winds are expected to increase, and along with that the potential for wildfire ignition and rapid spread will rise as well. Following a lull in winds on Sunday, a new storm forecast to push across the western United States will bring another dose of gusty winds and a critical wildfire danger on Monday and Tuesday.

The storm responsible for creating powerful winds and extreme fire conditions to end the week will slowly retreat across the Great Lakes region.

Despite much lower temperatures, gusty winds will continue to lead to critical fire conditions over the southern Plains, with a lingering elevated fire risk over New Mexico and southern Colorado into Saturday evening.

Sunday is likely to be the most tranquil of the next four days as a zone of high pressure settles in and brings light wind conditions.

However, even with light winds, the effect of strong mid-April sunshine and prevailing dry conditions the risk of wildfire ignition will remain somewhat elevated.

During Monday and Tuesday, winds will increase, and along with that the potential for wildfire ignition and rapid spread will increase as well.

Most likely the period from Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening will bring critical fire conditions expanding from Arizona and southern Utah to New Mexico, southern Colorado, western Texas, western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas.

While winds are not likely to be as strong as that of this past week, gusts ranging between 35 and 55 mph will be strong enough to cause any fire that breaks out to spread swiftly along.

The ongoing drought, which has been growing worse all winter, has now reached extreme and exceptional levels over a large portion of the Southwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The storm forecast to kick up winds is not likely to bring much if any rainfall to most areas in the drought. However, it is possible that another storm that follows in the week may dip far enough south and grab enough moisture to bring showers and thunderstorms to portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and southeastern Colorado High Plains.

The potential storm late next week may also bring yet another round of strong winds and renewed wildfire threat to the region in lieu of any rainfall.

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