Drought Causes Concern For Wednesday's High Wind

LUBBOCK, TX - Lubbock expects high winds Wednesday between 30-40 mph and gusts up to 50 mph. With the continuing drought, this leaves city authorities concerned about possible fires. 

"It's one of those days where we are going to see strong winds, low humidity, so we are expecting elevated fire danger," said Jody James, warning coordination meteorologist. "We are in a dry winter already. We've got a lot of dry grasses out there."

Last season offered the grasses and crops a plentiful amount of water, but the tides have turned. Plants grew tall but wilted without water over the last few months, said James

Officials are preparing to tackle any call or sighting of fire that comes their way, working together with numerous departments and nearby counties.

"We're making preparations today to have a heightened situational awareness (Wednesday) and a heightened posture for rapid response with the volunteer fire departments," said Clinton Thetford, emergency management coordinator.

Typically one unit will respond to a fire, but Thetford says on Wednesday, they will increase units responding to three or four. 

"We want to maintain a posture where we have a plan in place," said Thetford. 

The city may face more instances like this one, as long as the rain does not pour.

"If we continue on this season with this kind of weather pattern, we very likely can have a few days in the spring where we do see that," he said.

Burn bans might be implemented Wednesday. Officials advice that residents adhere to the burn ban even if there is no official warning. 

Important measures can be taken by citizens to help mitigate any risk of fire, including being careful of cigarettes and sparks created from machinery and cars, as well as not burning trash, said James.

A full news release was released by the National Weather Service with more information on what to expect and safety precautions.

Questions can be directed to Lubbock County Emergency Management at 806-775-7300. They will also update their Facebook page with updates and information on safety and preparedness. 

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