In typical fashion for Missouri weather, Thursday could see temperatures in the 70s, despite the calendar saying February.
Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert said Thursday could also see “very gusty winds” up to 45 mph. Warm temperatures and high winds combined with low humidity increases the chance of rapid spread of grass fires. The National Weather Service has placed Pettis County in a Fire Weather Watch for the day.
“We’ve been through this before, every year we’ll get a period of really nice weather followed by colder weather. Our biggest problem (Thursday) is temperatures will be higher, humidity level will be low, and high wind gusts, that puts us into a fire danger for grass fires,” Clippert said. “If someone’s out burning and sparks, flames are coming out of the burning pit, they can spread very rapidly. It’s dry out there, we haven’t had much rain.”
Clippert warned citizens against open burning Thursday or even something as simple as throwing a used cigarette out the car window while driving.
“We’ve been lucky over the last few years, not too many loss of homes or damage to structures but the potential is always there,” he said. “(Thursday) is a good day to give firefighters a break — think about what you’re doing outside if you’re going to use fire for anything.”
The warm weather won’t last long — Clippert said temperatures will begin dropping down into the 40s this weekend.
“We’re in that time of year right now where the weather is iffy — it can be really nice or really cold,” he said. “This winter we’ve seen it go day to day. When we get through March, that’s when winter is for the most part over.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.