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Storm Tracker Forecast: High fire danger & improving air quality today

Gusty winds will result in high fire danger in some areas and improving air quality for others in your Thursday forecast. We'll also have the potential for showers returning to portions of northern California later today.

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 6:00 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2020 6:24 AM

Slightly cooler temperatures, gusty south winds, and a chance for showers in the Northern Mountain are all ahead in your Thursday forecast. Low pressure off the coast in the Pacific is inching closer to the Pacific Northwest today and that will bring another round of gusty south to southwest winds into our region this afternoon and evening. The gusty winds paired with relatively low humidity values are prompting a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger in portions of Plumas, Lassen, and Modoc Counties this afternoon. Modoc County is set to be under a Red Flag Warning from 2PM through 8PM today, while Lassen and Plumas Counties are set to be under the Red Flag Warning from 1PM this afternoon through 11PM Friday night. Peak wind gusts could reach up to around 40mph in these areas and humidity is projected to dip into the teens.

Skies are mostly clear of clouds, but smoke continues to blanket northern California for the start of your Thursday. Some areas have seen air quality improve compared to 24 hours ago, while others are starting out a little worse off. The biggest improvements have been in the northern end of the valley and the Northern Mountains. Mid valley, foothill, and Sierra locations are a little worse than yesterday morning. Temperatures are starting out in the 50's to 60's in the valley and foothills, while mountain areas are ranging from the upper 30's to lower 40's in the Sierra to the mid 40's to mid 50's in the Northern Mountains. Winds are mostly up to around 10mph out of the northeast this morning, but will be picking up out of the south again this afternoon. Sustained winds up to around 10mph are expected, with most areas seeing gusts up to around 20mph. Gusts will be stronger in the foothills, Sierra, and Cascades. The stronger south winds are expected to help air quality improve this afternoon and evening, but will also result in elevated fire danger. Humidity will mostly end up in the 15 to 35 percent range this afternoon. Fire danger will be in the high range again today. High temperatures are projected to top out in the mid 80's to low 90's in the valley, while foothill and mountain areas end up in the upper 70's to mid 80's. There will be a decent chance for some showers in the Northern Mountains late this afternoon through this evening.

Low pressure will move into the Pacific Northwest on Friday, and that will bring a bigger impact into our forecast. Temperatures will be much cooler on Friday afternoon, winds will still be gusty out of the south, and the potential for showers will become more widespread across the far northern zones of our region. Showers will be possible as far south as Redding, but will mostly be limited to higher elevations. The threat of thunderstorms now mostly looks to be staying to our north on Friday. High temperatures will top out in the mid to high 70's in the valley, while mountain and foothill areas top out in the 60's to 70's. Low pressure will then track off to our east and high pressure will slowly rebuild across northern California this weekend. Temperatures will warm back into the low to mid 80's on Saturday in the valley, and into the mid 80's to low 90's on Sunday. Mountain areas can expect mid 70's to lower 80's through the weekend. We'll also see the return of lighter winds, and winds mostly out of the north, which could bring bigger impacts to air quality back into our forecast. Temperatures, winds, and sky conditions are not expected to change much through the start of next week, but models are hinting at a little bump in temperatures towards the middle of next week.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3168528

Reported Deaths: 37121
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107315615262
San Bernardino2644571667
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2271952375
Orange2232882638
Santa Clara980571234
Kern90213590
Fresno852741043
Sacramento834081157
Alameda70334894
Ventura65581507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54951489
Stanislaus44184788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30308293
Santa Barbara26820265
Solano26494111
Imperial25581493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24935247
Kings19904160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16652151
Madera13858151
Santa Cruz12771130
Marin11954163
Yolo11087138
Shasta9951129
Butte9757134
El Dorado800259
Sutter794383
Napa789347
Lassen526916
San Benito516648
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada333274
Mendocino327736
Amador304932
Lake267332
Humboldt249425
Glenn201522
Colusa18549
Calaveras169523
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3903
Mariposa3514
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Oroville
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Chico
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 34°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 34°
Red Bluff
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 34°
Chico
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 34°
Although our weather is fairly quiet this evening, a major and long-lasting winter storm is bearing down on northern California with much colder air, stronger wind, heavy rain and very heavy snow beginning Tuesday and lasting through the weekend.
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