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Weather Service forecasts more winds, fire risks

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Chaves County could continue to experience strong winds and a high fire risk today, according to National Weather Service notices updated Saturday afternoon.

Winds ranging from 14 mph to 29 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph, were experienced in the Roswell area on Saturday. The night before, the National Weather Service had issued both a Red Flag Warning for fire risks and a Wind Advisory for the Chaves County region and other portions of the state.

By Saturday afternoon, the government agency had announced a Hazardous Weather Outlook for most regions of the state starting this afternoon.

The forecast indicated that “strong to damaging west to northwest winds with gusts of 50 to 60 miles” per hour could occur for all areas of New Mexico, except the north central and northeast regions.

Patches of blowing dust are possible due to winds, while the combination of winds, low precipitation and warm temperatures of up to 65 degrees could create “critical fire weather conditions” for the area. Much of central and eastern New Mexico are expected to experience similar conditions.

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The fire risk was lowered from the Red Flag Warning effective Saturday to a fire weather watch starting this afternoon and continuing until this evening.

For the Chaves County area, winds of 35 mph to 45 mph are likely, with gusts of up to 65 mph possible, starting about 10 a.m. and lasting until 8 p.m. The Guadalupe Mountains and Delaware Mountains could experience gusts of up to 85 mph.

To reduce the risks of wind-driven fires, the National Weather Service has recommended that people in the area avoid open flames, activities that can generate sparks or any type of burning outdoors.

Monday and Tuesday are expected to be warm and sunny, but winds with gusts up to 40 mph could return by Tuesday afternoon.

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