Critical fire warnings issued west of Freeborn County

Published 10:33 am Friday, November 4, 2011

WELLS — The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning today for Faribault County and much of western Minnesota. A red flag warning indicates critical fire conditions, usually accompanied by high winds that can spread the danger.

“Fires could become fast moving in a short period of time due to the gusty winds and low humidity,” the warning states.

The National Weather Service says Minnesota this afternoon will be stuck between a strong storm system in the Rocky Mountains and an area of high pressure to the east, resulting in strong south winds.

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The red flag warning is set for noon to 6 p.m. today. It could extend into the weekend as high winds are in the forecast for coming days.

“Many locations in Minnesota have only received an inch or less of rainfall since September,” the warning states, “which has produced very dry, fine fuels.”

Freeborn, Waseca, Steele and Mower counties are not in the red flag warning, but Faribault, Martin, Blue Earth and Nicollet are, along with pretty much all of Minnesota from Mankato, St. Cloud and Brainerd westward. The eastern part of the Dakotas and the northwest corner of Iowa are also in the red flag warning.

The winds in Wells today are forecast to be 9 to 12 mph increasing to 17 to 20, with gusts up to 29. On Saturday, the are expected to be 18 to 21, with an increase to 26 to 29 mph. Gusts could reach as high as 43.

Wells on Sunday could have winds 17 to 21 mph, with gusts up to 29.

Winds are expected to become calm by Monday, with rain in the forecast for Monday night.