DENVER – Northeastern Colorado continued to see gusty winds and critical fire danger as a result of the winds Wednesday into Thursday.
High wind warnings and watches, and red flag warnings, have been in effect for nearly all of eastern Colorado Wednesday, with more issued Thursday from about 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., depending on the location.
Winds are expected both days out of the northwest at about 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 50-65 mph – the strongest gusts coming on the eastern plains. And relative humidity levels are expected to be in the 10-20% range.
On Wednesday, a new wildfire start was reported south of Boulder.
The high winds are also kicking up dust on the eastern plains. A blowing dust advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday in Phillips, Sedgwick, Logan and Washington counties, where winds of 30-45 mph and gusts up to 65 mph have reduced visibility below one mile in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Several roads and highways in northeastern Colorado have closed at various times on Wednesday.
⚠️Blowing dust severely restricting visibility over portions of the northeast CO plains this afternoon ⚠️— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) April 6, 2022
Images (courtesy of Washington County Sherriff) taken from Otis, Colorado - where visibility was down to ~1 city block! #COwx pic.twitter.com/7ZG769fhOJ
The highest wind gust recorded in Colorado as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday was northeast of Kremmling, at 72 mph. But in Kit Carson, Julesburg, Iliff, and Springfield, gusts in excess of 64 mph have been reported.
The strongest winds were generally in a line along and east of Fort Morgan to Limon, according to the NWS. But wind speeds slowed, and humidity increased, after dark Wednesday. Temperatures dropped into the 20s on the plains, and while winds stayed weaker, there were some 30-40 mph gusts on the far northeastern and eastern plains, the NWS said.
TRAFFIC ALERT: High winds in northeast Colorado have blown numerous vehicles off the road on I-76. Authorities are requiring high-profile vehicles (tractor-trailers, RVs, etc) traveling in the area to park until conditions improve.— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) April 6, 2022
Conditions are expected to stay similar on Thursday, though there will be slightly higher humidity levels and slightly weaker winds in the metro area, the NWS said Wednesday afternoon.
Drought conditions along the northern Front Range foothills and in the metro area have improved over the past few weeks, as the metro area up to Fort Collins is rated as abnormally dry on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale. Other parts of the eastern plains are experiencing moderate and severe drought, while most of the mountains are currently seeing moderate drought.
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