The combination of dry air and gusty winds will enhance the risk for fires across a large part of the West and northern Plains today.
Coming off a record fire season, this is the last thing that exhausted firefighters want to hear.
Parts of more than a dozen states will experience near-optimal conditions for fire ignition and growth; that is, relative humidity levels less than 20 percent and wind gusts over 20 mph.
Recent and long-term dry weather has already set the groundwork, with plenty of dried vegetation and leaves present for any fires to feed off of.
A cold front plowing south from Canada into the northern Rockies and High Plains is perhaps most at fault for the risk today. The front will enhance winds both ahead of it out of the southwest, and behind it from the northwest.
Eventually, moisture will follow the frontal passage into parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, but it will be delayed for up to a day. This cold air and enhanced moisture combination will result in the season's first snow across much of the nation's northern tier.
That moisture will never make it to California, where the fire risk will also stay high, thanks to days of near-record heat.
The Grapevine, as well as the forests and mountains around Los Angeles, will be at an especially high risk for wildfires.
The same can be said for the Cascades, valleys and basins of Washington, the so-called "smokestack" of Idaho, the Wasatch mountains in Utah, as well as a significant portion of central and eastern Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas and even as far east as northern Minnesota.
This map, courtesy the USDA Forest Service, shows current large fire incidents across the northwestern U.S. as of Oct. 1.
Though fire safety is something that should never go out of season, extra caution should be practiced today.
If you are camping, take extra precautions to prevent the spread of any campfires (better yet, don't start any). Never abandon a campsite until any fires are totally and completely extinguished.
Motorists should never toss cigarette butts out of their vehicles, especially in conditions such as this.
Even something as benign as target shooting can spark fires.
Travel hazards, delays and disruptions associated with rain, ice and snow will continue over the Central states through the balance of the Thanksgiving weekend.
Following a mild Thanksgiving and Black Friday, noticeably cooler air will return to the Northeast this weekend.
Sandra remains on track to make landfall in northern Mexico on Saturday, but it will be much weaker than its current hurricane status.
The current reprieve from heavy rain across southern India will not last long with the threat for flooding downpours set to return for the final days of November.
Several days of heavy rain will bring the potential to cause flooding from the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley into early next week.
Compared to Thanksgiving Day in 2014, this Thanksgiving will be substantially warmer in the Northeast.
New England Coast (1898)
Famous "Portland" storm formed off Cape Cod with loss of 200 lives. Many others were lost to the raging sea in 50 small vessels. A total of 27 inches of snow in New London, CT; 15 inches at Waterbury, CT. Peak wind was 72 mph in Boston. Boston received more than a foot of snow.
Second heavy snowfall in three days hits the region with 12 inches on the ground in NJ; 14 inches in NY; greatest November snow in New England since 1898.
Nation devastated by terrible floods -- 400 people killed.