For Central Coast residents and visitors having travel or recreation plans that include the Coast Range…
The National Weather Service has issued an Urgent Fire Weather Message. Critical fire weather conditions due to lightning are expected from late Sunday through Tuesday.
A closed upper-level low pressure system will stall off the Northern California coast tonight into Sunday and remain nearly stationary through early Tuesday. This system will bring an increase in mid-level moisture and instability to Northwest Oregon, which is predicted to trigger thunderstorms over the region beginning late Sunday and continuing into at least Tuesday. The initial storms late Sunday and Monday may generate little in the way of rainfall. So, with low relative humidity and dry fuels in place, there is strong potential for lightning strikes to generate new fires. Storms should transition to wetter rain producers later Monday or Tuesday.
A Red Flag Warning goes into effect from 5:00pm Sunday to 11:00pm Tuesday for thunderstorms in Fire Weather Zone 603. This zone encompasses the Coast Range including parts of eastern Lincoln County. Thunderstorms may also develop closer to the ocean (along the Central Coast), though fire danger will be diminished due to higher humidity and lower temperatures.
* Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop late Sunday, then increase Monday and Monday night. Storms may continue into Tuesday as well, although confidence is not as high for this time frame.
* Some storms may generate outflow winds of 30-40 mph.
* Impacts include initial thunderstorms producing little in the way of rainfall along with frequent lightning. With fairly dry fuels in place, this may set the stage for numerous fire starts that have the potential to overwhelm initial attack resources.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.