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    Smoky southeastern US to have brief opportunity for rain this weekend

    By By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist
    November 17, 2016, 9:00:58 AM EST

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      Smoky skies will continue across portions of the southeastern United States with no rain through the end of the week.

      "The weather certainly will remain dry for much of the fire region through Friday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.

      Continuous dry weather since the beginning of October has led to extreme drought conditions. Some locations haven't seen any measurable rainfall since September.

      This contributed to several fires breaking out from eastern Kentucky and western Virginia to northern Georgia.

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      The Tellico and Rough Ridge fires are the largest fires currently across the area, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

      The Tellico fire in Macon County, North Carolina, has burned over 13,600 acres and is 81 percent contained as of early Thursday morning. The Rough Ridge fire in Fannin County, Georgia, has burned nearly 24,000 acres and is 40 percent contained.

      While no rain is expected for the immediate future, winds will assist in firefighters trying to contain blazes.

      "Winds are expected to remain tame through Friday, which will aid firefighters during the daytime as fires will largely be predictable," Duffey said.

      However, the lack of wind flow has led to hazy, smoky skies across the area, lowering visibility at times near the ground.

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      "High pressure will be a problem for fire suppression activities during the overnight as the stable air will trap smoke low to the surface," Duffey said.

      Those with respiratory problems should refrain from being outside for extended periods of time.

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      A storm pushing across the nation this week will approach the East Coast this weekend. This may bring sporadic rainfall in some portions of the Southeast.

      "The best chance for measurable rainfall will be to the west of the Appalachian Mountains where it is most desperately needed, but the amount of rain forecast will not be enough to reverse drought conditions," Duffey said.

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      Showers may break out for a brief time across Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi. The last time Birmingham received measurable rainfall was on Sept. 18.

      Little to no rain will fall east of the Appalachians in the South this weekend.

      The main concern for firefighters will be the increase in winds behind this storm.

      "There will be a significant threat of variable and faster winds, creating very dangerous conditions or wildfire crews," Duffey said.

      "Wind shifts can quickly change where the fire is heading."

      Following the storm from this weekend, the next chance of rain will be Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day. The rain around the holiday could be more significant than the rain this weekend and could help to douse some of the fires.

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