Photo: Courtesy: Flickr/ Jose Ramon
An excessive heat warning is in effect through 8 o’clock Friday night, and temperatures today could top 106 degrees. That would make it the hottest day much of Indiana has seen since the 1930s.
There are also a number of fire watches and red flag warnings due to the extremely dry and hot conditions. National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Tucek says a watch means that the conditions are favorable for the potential for significant wildfires. Red flag warnings typically mean those conditions are going to be met but fires aren‘t necessarily going to happen.
Tucek says criteria for issuing a red flag warning include humidity levels below 25-percent and sustained wind speeds above 15 miles per hour. There is also a fuel indicator known as “ten hour fuels below eight percent” referring to the amount of moisture left in twigs and branches on trees.
Tucek says fire watches and red flag warnings are very rare in Indiana.
“The majority of the time, Indiana is usually pretty humid,” he says. “Now we do get into the fall season where things begin to dry out a little bit but even in those scenarios, it‘s hard for us to get the humidity down below 25 percent, one of the criteria for issuing watches and warnings.”
Tucek says these watches and warnings are more common in western states like Colorado which is currently dealing with massive wildfires.