While the strong winds will bring a cold snap to the Tennessee Valley, it will also lead to an enhanced fire threat heading into Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch from 10 a.m. to 7 pm Tuesday for all of North Alabama. This means that dangerous fire conditions have been recognized for the area that could lead to rapid fire spread.
A Fire Weather Watch is issued when the wind is forecast to be sustained from 10-15 mph with gusts upwards of 25 mph. Along with the strong winds, the extremely dry conditions (relative humidity less than 25 percent), will support rapid fire spread.
A statewide Fire Alert remains in effect until further notice due to the recent lack of rainfall and the extensive drought conditions across the state. Here in North Alabama, no burn permits are being issued.
Red Flag Warning Criteria:
While we are in a Fire Weather Watch Central Alabama has been placed under a Reg Flag Warning. For a Red Flag Warning to be issued by the National Weather Service certain criteria need to be met.
The minimum relative humidity has to be less than 20 percent, the 20-foot winds have to exceed 15 mph, and the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) must be greater than 300. The KBDI attempts to measure the amount of precipitation to return the soil to full field content. For the warning to be issued, these conditions must consist of at least four hours or longer.
Keep checking back with the Weather Authority for updates. Any little change to the current forecast could lead to the area being upgraded to a Red Flag Warning.