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Windy week to fuel fire danger across New Mexico

Albuquerque firefighters respond to a brush fire near Atrisco and Riverview NW on Sunday. The National Weather Service said high winds will fuel critical fire weather across the state this week. (Adolphe-Pierre Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico will be warm and windy this week, and officials are raising a red flag about the potential for fire weather conditions.

Albuquerque is expected to have a high temperature of 68 and a low of 33 Tuesday. The city will have a small chance for rain showers in the morning.

Wednesday will likely be the windiest day, said National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Jones.

Wind gusts could top 50 mph across New Mexico.

“We’re going to see blowing dust, and we’ll have problems with crosswinds on the roads and widespread critical fire conditions everywhere except the Four Corners area and some of the higher terrain above 8,000 feet,” Jones said.

The warmth, high winds and low humidity have prompted the weather service to issue fire weather warnings for eastern New Mexico on Tuesday and for nearly all of the state Wednesday.

“Any fires that do develop during the midweek will have the ability to spread very rapidly, particularly across the eastern portions of the state,” meteorologist Daniel Porter said.

Clovis and Roswell temperatures could top out in the high 70s or low 80s Wednesday.

Dry grass and trees that have suffered from the extended severe drought also raise concerns for an early fire season in New Mexico.

Albuquerque is expected to have a high of 62 Wednesday and a low of 31.

Temperatures will start to drop Thursday as a cold front rolls through the state. The metro area will reach a high of 59 degrees on Thursday and 56 on Friday. Saturday will see a high of 49 degrees in the city, with a 30% chance of precipitation.

Northern New Mexico could receive some snowfall from the weekend storm.

“It will be a drastic change from windy and warm to cold with winter precipitation over the weekend,” Jones said.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 

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