20-50 mph wind gusts, lightning among fire weather concerns for Thursday -Briana

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Wildfire smoke lingers across the Mid-Columbia. Shifting winds in the weather forecast could help clear smoke from the air, but thunderstorms pack a dangerous punch.

A combination of heat, dry conditions, and gusty winds are sparking a Red Flag Warning, set to go into effect at 11 am Thursday and continue until 11 pm.

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KAPP-KVEW Chief Meteorologist Briana Bermensolo and the First Alert Weather team is keeping an eye on weather that could spark new fires. Here are five things you need to know on this Thursday:

  1. It’s hot. Highs for Thursday will be in the 90s.
  2. It’s dry. Thunderstorm activity along SE Washington and the Oregon section of the Blues is not expected to bring a whole lot of much-needed moisture from rain.
  3. Gusty winds: 20-25 mph wind gusts are expected, on average. However, new thunderstorms may bring 30-50 mph gusts, potentially spreading new or existing fires.
  4. Cloud-to-ground lightning could spark new wildfires between noon and sundown.
  5. The silver lining: Thursday’s passing disturbance will bring cooler temperatures for the weekend. Hopefully, the change in the winds will clear some of the smoke.

A Wind Advisory goes into effect at noon for the Eastern Columbia River Gorge and Kittitas Valley. Expect northwest winds in those areas to be 25-35 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Use extra caution when driving, especially if you’re in a high-profile vehicle. The advisory ends at 11 pm.

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