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High winds expected, warnings in place

Staff Writer

Three weather warnings and advisories have been issued for the Pagosa Springs area by the National Weather Service — a wind advisory, red flag warning and hazardous weather outlook.

Wind advisory

The wind advisory will be in place for the San Juan River Basin from noon today until 9 p.m. tonight.

According to the warning, the strongest winds are expected to occur late this afternoon with southwest winds increasing to 15 to 30 mph in the afternoon, with gusts to 45 mph.

Blowing dust is expected to lower visibility to less than three miles at times, and hazardous driving conditions are expected.

People, especially those with respiratory illnesses, heart disease, the elderly and children are recommended to stay indoors and avoid prolong outdoor exercise or heavy exertion because of the windblown dust.

Red flag warning

Similar to the wind advisory, the red flag warning is issued due to critical fire weather conditions and is in effect for the same period.

According to the warning, winds are expected to diminish around sunset this evening, but the warning has been issued due to winds expected this afternoon, low humidity and dry fuels — which can combine to contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Hazardous weather outlook

The hazardous weather outlook issued also applies to the San Juan River Basin and warns of high winds, with the strongest winds expected in the Four Corners area, stretching north to Moab, Utah and east to Pagosa Springs.

In addition to the windy conditions, there is a chance for mountain snow and valley rain showers, with that chance increasing over the next several days.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on April 1, 2014.