A dry, unusually windy day is on tap across the Plains on Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue advisories about the extreme risk of wildfires, and in some areas, destabilizing winds for high-profile vehicles.
Additionally, officials in Douglas and Pottawattamie Counties have issued burn bans for the next several days.
Northwest winds are expected to gust from 30 mph to 50 mph or more Wednesday afternoon from Texas into the Dakotas.
Much of Nebraska and portions of Iowa are under some kind of fire advisory Wednesday. The Nebraska areas at highest risk, according to the weather service, are northeast Nebraska, the southern Panhandle and the south-central and southwest corner of the state.
Outdoor activities that could lead to sparks should be avoided, according to the weather service. Over the weekend, a number of grass and crop fires occurred in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service posted satellite images of burn scars in Iowa and Minnesota.
Joel Sacks of the Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department said Tuesday that Douglas County fire chiefs had instituted a countywide ban for at least the next couple of days.
Doug Reed, director of the Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Agency, asked that people forgo the use of fire pits, campfires and burn pits.
“The conditions are so volatile right now, we just want to reduce as much risk as possible,” he said. “We’re asking people to be real vigilant through at least Saturday.”
Reed said Wednesday and Saturday will likely be the most volatile days, based on the forecast.
Traffic traveling east to west in open areas will be dealing with strong crosswinds, as the winds will be out of the northwest.
Colder weather is expected for the latter half of the week and early next week. It’s possible temperatures will drop below 32 degrees in eastern Nebraska, bringing an end to the growing season.
Here’s what those severe weather warnings mean
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