A cold front is scheduled to move through southwest Florida Thursday morning. When we think of a "cold front" in May we tend to think of slightly cooler, but warm high temperatures, low humidity, and sometimes breezy conditions which feel refreshing after several days of heat and humidity.
We're still in our dry season for the next few weeks which means meteorologists like myself monitor drought conditions and fire danger. Parts of Lee, Hendry, and Collier county continue to experience severe drought, but I want to point your attention to a different direction; fire danger.
The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for inland Lee and Charlottie counties as well as Collier, Hendry, and Glades county. A fire weather watch alerts us that upcoming weather conditions could result in critical fire weather conditions. In fact Lee county is expected to have a very high fire danger Thursday. Charlotte, Collier, and Glades counties are under a high fire danger. The rest of southwest Florida is under a moderate fire danger.
The weather conditions expected to spark the fire weather watch are low relative humidity below 35% and a north to northwest wind at or above 15 mph. The Energy Release Component (ERC) is also high. ERC is a number related to the available energy per unit area within the flaming front at the head of a fire. Variations in ERC are due to changes in moisture content of the various fuels present, both live and dead. As live fuels cure and dead fuels dry, the ERC values get higher, thus providing a good reflection of drought conditions.
During a high weather watch outdoor burning is prohibited. Friday and Saturday humidity increases and wind subsides. In fact, by Sunday significant rain could move into the area thus lowering fire danger and helping the drought conditions here in Southwest Florida.