Fire danger is high as high winds head for Utah

There’s a red flag warning in southwestern Utah; northern part of the state could get some rain.

(National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service has issued high wind warnings and advisories for parts of central and southern Utah on Thursday. A red flag warning is in effect for the southwestern Utah, from St. George through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through 9 p.m. on Friday.

Winds will increase Thursday afternoon as a low pressure system approaches from the northwest, becoming “very strong” across central and southern Utah.

Winds of 30-40 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph, are forecast for west Millard and Juab Counties from noon-9 p.m. on Thursday, impacting Cedar City and Delta. Winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, are expected in St. George, Kanab, Escalante, Price and Bryce Canyon, also from noon-9 p.m.

The combination of strong winds and low humidity will create “critical fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS.

The NWS is warning residents to be prepared for power outages and blowing dust that could affect visibility while driving, and make it difficult for high-profile vehicles. The winds will also create “choppy conditions” on waterways.

The NWS is advising Utahns in the affected areas to bring any loose objects, like lawn furniture, inside.

Winds are expected to continue on Friday, with windy to very windy conditions across central and southern Utah and continued critical fire weather conditions. And windy conditions may linger across southeastern Utah on Saturday.

In northern Utah, temperatures will drop a bit and there’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms over the next few days — a 20% chance after 3 a.m. on Friday and 50% on Friday afternoon; 30% after midnight on Saturday and 50% on Sunday.

After a high of 73 on Thursday, the forecast calls for 69 on Friday, 69 on Saturday and 63 on Sunday, with lows in the mid-40s.

Amid all the wind in southern Utah, temperatures will also drop. After a high of 86 in St. George on Thursday, expect 73 on Friday, 74 on Saturday and 78 on Sunday, with overnight lows in the 40s and 50s.