The grassland fire danger will be extreme across most of Kansas on Tuesday, as the combination of unusually warm temperatures, strong winds and dry vegetation sets the stage for any fires to build and spread quickly.
More than 80 counties across the Sunflower State are included in a red flag warning that runs this afternoon and evening. Winds are expected to gust well beyond 40 miles an hour at times, with steady south winds in the 20s, forecasters say.
Highs are projected to top 80 in the Wichita area under mostly sunny skies. The red flag warning is in effect from noon until 9 p.m. today in the Wichita metropolitan area.
Wichita has a burn ban in effect through at least Thursday morning because of the strong winds and dry vegetation, fire officials say.
Overnight lows will drop only to the upper 50s before Wednesday brings another elevated fire risk, officials say. Highs will push in the low 70s under mostly sunny skies, with south winds again gusting to more than 40 miles an hour.
But a front will arrive late in the day, forecasters say, sending temperatures plunging and bringing a chance of rain and snow after midnight. Winds will flip around to the north, blowing steadily in the upper 20s overnight and gusting to nearly 40 miles an hour again.
Thursday will be much cooler, forecasters say, with highs in the mid-50s. Winds will be robust early, gusting out of the north in the 30s before gradually easing in the afternoon.
For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.