Indication of spring fire weather ahead?
With temperatures up nearly 20 degrees above average over the weekend, and due to a historic 18-month warm streak in Minnesota, time will tell if an early spring fire season is ahead.
A front this evening drove strong winds into western and southern Minnesota, which will continue through Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Warm temperatures and high winds dry fuels and reduce relative humidity (RH) making it easier to burn. Probability for ignition is 60 percent with rates of spread at 150 chains per hour, should fire ignite in high winds.
Earlier today, the National Weather Service-Sioux Falls issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of South Dakota, Nebraska and northwest Iowa. Wind and fire danger advisories are likely to continue there tomorrow.
This front triggered conditions causing the first 2017 tornado watch in the state (earliest ever) until 10 p.m. today, March 6th. Check the Chanhassen-NWS website tomorrow for wind advisories (up to 60 m.p.h. gusts) in some parts of the state with increased fire potential (Mike Locke, DNR contributor).