By Jesse Wood
The Blacksurg, Va., office of the National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement on Friday afternoon regarding the increase fire danger from Saturday through Sunday in southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina, including the High Country.
“A strong cold front will move through the region Saturday, behind the front winds will increase from the northwest to around 15 to 30 mph with occasional gusts [approximately between] 40 to 55 mph,” the alert reads.
The highest wind gusts will occur across the highest elevations of northwest North Carolina Saturday afternoon into Sunday. This combined with low relative humidity of 28 to 48 percent and dry leaf litter increase the “danger of rapid fire growth Saturday afternoon through Sunday as any fires could quickly grow out of control.”
See the alert here.
If you’ve been reading RaysWeather.com’s forecasts over the past few weeks, it seems as if dry and smoky have been a theme. In the southwest region of the North Carolina mountains, firefighters have been battling nearly 45,000 acres of forests daily. See the latest on the fires here.
Watauga County is currently in a “severe drought,” as classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina, and the drought, which seemed to start in June is causing groundwater levels to drop, a cause of concern for homeowners with wells.
On Thursday evening, the Town of Boone expanded its burn ban and is currently only allowing open flames outdoors if they are confined to manufactured grills and cookers. Water restrictions are in place, too.