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Near-critical fire weather conditions could develop through warm, dry, breezy end of week

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, is warning that mild, dry and windy conditions today and Friday could lead to elevated fire concerns.

Today will be sunny with a high near 55. Winds will come from the southwest at 17–26 mph and gusts could reach 36 mph. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low near 37. Winds will pick up considerably from the southwest at 28–34 mph. Gusts of up to 48 mph will be possible.

The latest blast of warm, windy conditions is the result of high pressure building and shifting east into the region. That’s causing compressional warming, which will exacerbate very dry conditions in the area, meteorologists said in the forecast discussion.

That’s only going to last a bit as low-level low pressure brings along a cool front late Friday, leading to cooler temps and a chance for snow.

The forecast calls for a high of 55 on a breezy Friday. Skies are likely to begin the day mostly cloudy, but there’ll be a gradual clearing to become sunny. Winds will come from the southwest at 23–28 mph, eventually turning to come from the northwest at 15–20 mph in the afternoon. Gusts could reach 38 mph.

There’s a slight chance for snow beginning just before 8 p.m. A 30% chance for snow, possibly mixed with rain at times, will persist through the night Friday as the low drops to around 31.

Saturday will see a 30% chance for snow before 11 a.m. and then a chance for rain. The forecast high is 53. Skies will otherwise be partly sunny, and winds will pick up from 16–21 mph to 29–34 mph in the afternoon. Snow chances rise to 40% for Saturday night. The low will be near 21. It will continue to be windy with a southwest wind at 29–34 mph becoming a west wind at 20–25 mph after midnight.

Sunday will see a 40% chance for snow with a high of just 35. Snow may continue through the night as the low falls to around 14 degrees.

The sun should return Monday to start the next work week. The high will get to just 37.

More on the weather is available from the National Weather Service in Rapid City.