DENVER (CBS4) – Unusually warm weather combined with extreme drought will significantly raise the fire danger in Colorado through Saturday. The CBS4 Weather Team is forecasting 90 degrees in Denver on Thursday, 92 degrees on Friday, and 90 degrees again on Saturday. Record highs could be set all three days as temperatures soar about 15 to 20 degrees above normal for late September.
The total count of 90 degree days will also increase further into unprecedented territory. Denver already broke the record last Saturday when the city hit 90 degrees.
And while Denver and the Front Range as well as the Eastern Plains bake in the coming days, the mountains will also be quite warm for early fall with highs in the 70s and even lower 80s up to about 9,000 feet.
The very warm weather along with occasionally gusty winds, low relative humidity, and the extreme drought has prompted a Red Flag Warning to be issued for Friday from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. for most areas in the state north of Highway 50 and west of I-25. Fire danger will be quite high in these areas including along the entire I-70 corridor west of Denver.
The weekly drought monitor update released Thursday morning showed virtually no change from the previous week. Nearly 99% of Colorado is experiencing at least moderate drought, 88% of the state has severe drought, and 50% of Colorado including almost every mountain range has extreme drought. The south half of the Denver metro area is also experiencing extreme drought.
And while the danger of new fires is high, existing fires will continue to send smoke toward portions of the urban corridor. Larimer and Weld Counties including Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley are under a Air Quality Advisory on Thursday. Southwest Wyoming including Laramie and Cheyenne area also under an advisory.
After the intense heat through Saturday, noticeably cooler weather will arrive for Sunday. Temperatures may still be above normal, but most areas will stay in the 70s including Empower Field at Mile High for the Broncos game Sunday afternoon.