Thursday’s Tucson Forecast: Four reasons why today’s going to be nasty

A powerful Pacific cold front brings a slew of issues for the Sonoran Desert. There are four reasons why this afternoon’s weather will be nasty.

1) Sonoran Wind Machine cranks up

Between this morning and late this evening, valley floors will experience west-southwest winds around 20-40 MPH. A Wind Advisory is in effect for much of southeastern Arizona during this timeframe. Meanwhile, wind gusts may approach 60 MPH in the mountains. The Sky Islands are under a High Wind Warning today.

2) Critical wildfire danger develops

Combine gusty winds with low relative humidity and the ongoing drought & you have the recipe for a high fire danger. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for all of southern Arizona today. Any wildfire that develops could grow out of control quickly. Burning & BBQ’ing are not recommended today.

3) Gusty and dusty

On the roads, drivers may experience blowing dust. Areas of greatest concern include I-10 around Picacho Peak and the Willcox Playa. Visibility may be reduced at times. Remember to pull aside, stay alive!

4) Unhealthy air quality

Those with respiratory issues may want to stay inside today. Pima County Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Health Watch for elevated particulate matter, including wind-blown dust. Air quality will be approaching unhealthy levels for those with health issues. Wind-blown dust may remain in the skies Friday as well.

The upshot to this pattern chance? Temperatures drop from the mid 80s today to the low 70s tomorrow.

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