The combination of strong winds and unseasonable warmth has significantly raised the fire danger from New Mexico to South Dakota today.
The strongest winds within these zones will gust between 40 and 60 mph, especially during the afternoon and evening hours. Locally higher gusts cannot be ruled out.
The winds are howling ahead of the potent storm barreling through the Four Corners region with soaking rain and heavy mountain snow.
The strength of the winds could cause damage, create blowing dust and overturn semi-trucks and campers.
Conditions are also prime for the winds to rapidly spread fires with unseasonably warm and dry air in place.
Worsening the situation is the fact that the Desert Southwest and High Plains have not received significant rain or snow recently, meaning vegetation is now like a matchstick waiting for a spark to start burning.
Residents should use extreme caution with cigarette butts, campfires and sparks to prevent an uncontrollable fire from igniting.
Cities that lie in the high fire danger today include Albuquerque, N.M., El Paso and Amarillo, Texas, Pueblo and Denver, Colo., Scottsbluff, Neb., and Rapid City, S.D.
The high fire danger will persist into Monday across the southern High Plains. Despite the return of noticeably cooler air, strong winds and dry air will still be in place.
East of the fire danger, the rest of the southern Plains are bracing for severe and drenching thunderstorms this week.
Pollution levels hit all-time highs Thursday in Singapore as Indonesian fires burned out of control.
Severe thunderstorms with the risk of a few tornadoes will advance eastward across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest into Friday.
Evacuations and closed roads as wildfires continue to burn across the United States.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE as we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
A hot and humid weekend is shaping up for Chicagoland just in time for the official start of summer, while severe thunderstorms fire nearby to the north.
Torrential rain began falling across Veracruz Thursday morning as Tropical Storm Barry near the coastline.
Circle, MT (1921)
Greatest 24-hour precipitation for the state: 11.50".
George Washington, "Have now had one of the severest droughts ever known."
Juneau, AK (1991)
Record warm 84 degrees; the old record was 83 set in 1958. This was one of ten times that Juneau has reached 80 degrees over the last 49 years. It was hot over northern Alaska as well with Fairbanks hitting 91.