Friday, April 06, 2012

Fire and Ice

 Reposted from Finger Lakes Weather:

The Finger Lakes area will be under assault from fire and ice over the next two days. It sounds like Armageddon, and while it certainly is not, these are serious risks that need to be addressed.

A large area of high pressure is building into the region from Canada. The air with this high is extremely dry. With a lot of the vegetation still not growing, coupled with a general lack of significant precipitation over the last days, weeks and even months, this dry air will only continue to dry things out. The strong April sun will be out full force during the day. This will heat the ground, which will cause the air to rise. New air will rush in to take its place in the form of strong, gusty winds. Not only will the strong winds quickly fan any fires that do pop up, but the wind helps dry vegetation as well.

Because of this high fire risk, burning is strongly discouraged and extra care needs to be taken with any open heat source. This includes cigarette butts and welding sparks. It will not take much for a fire to start and quickly spread. Any brush fire has the potential to spread to buildings and put our firefighters, and the public, at risk.
As the sun sets, two important things happen. First, the ground is no longer heated, which causes the winds to die down. Second, the temperatures begins to fall, which increases the relative humidity in the atmosphere. While this effectively reduces the fire risk, it opens the door for frost and freeze conditions. Generally, Saturday morning will be as cold as Friday morning, within a couple degrees on either side. If you needed to take precautions against the cold this morning, you will want to repeat your efforts for tomorrow.

Saturday afternoon, we continue with another very high fire risk. By Easter Sunday, our problems will begin to lessen. Some moisture will work in, keeping our relative humidity higher during the day and our fire risk subsequently lower. This moisture should also increase the clouds into next week, keeping our nighttime low temperatures up. There are still a lot of details that are unknown next week, but it looks chilly. Check back Monday for a new blog, and have a happy Easter!

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