Critical fire danger is predicted in El Paso County and much of southern Colorado on Monday amid high temperatures and strong winds.
A National Weather Service red flag warning is in effect from noon to 8 p.m. along the Interstate 25 corridor from Colorado Springs to New Mexico. The San Luis Valley, eastern Fremont County and the southeastern plains are also at risk.
Meteorologists also issued a high-wind watch for some of the areas, warning that some models show gusts strong enough to topple vehicles.
“We’re very highly confident it’s going to be windy. The question is how windy is it going to be,” said Stephen Hodanish, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pueblo.
In a worst-case scenario, winds up to 60 mph are possible in Monument, northern El Paso County and communities on Pikes Peak between 3 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Hodanish said.
Also affected are the Upper Arkansas River Valley, the Sangre de Cristo and Wet mountains, central Fremont County and the I-25 corridor in Huerfano and eastern Las Animas counties, the National Weather Service advisory said.
The extreme weather warnings come as residents in the Pikes Peak region enjoy warm, sunny days on Sunday and Monday ahead of a wintry turn on Tuesday. Temperatures will plunge into the high 30s in Colorado Springs on Tuesday with the likelihood of 1-3 inches of snow. Up to 3-5 inches were expected to hit Woodland Park.
“There will be a dramatic change from the highs tomorrow and the high temperatures on Tuesday,” Hodanish said. “That’s what people will really notice.”
A rebound to warmer temperatures was forecast leading into a sunny weekend.
Here’s the forecast in Colorado Springs for the rest of the week:
Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 50 dropping to 25 overnight.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 66 and a night-time low of 17.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 71 dropping to 39 overnight.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 72.
Here’s Woodland Park’s forecast:
Wednesday: Rain likely, mainly after 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 63. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Thursday: A 50 percent chance of rain before 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48 and an overnight low of 27.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43 and a low of 32.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.
This content was originally published here.