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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

What is a Red Flag Warning?

What is a Red Flag Warning?

According to the National Weather Service web page:

Red flag warning is a term used by fire-weather forecasters to call attention to limited weather conditions of particular importance that may result in extreme burning conditions. It is issued when it is an on-going event or the fire weather forecaster has a high degree of confidence that Red Flag criteria will occur within 24 hours of issuance.

Red Flag criteria occurs whenever a geographical area has been in a dry spell for a week or two, or for a shorter period , if before spring green-up or after fall color, and the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is high to extreme and the following forecast weather parameters are forecasted to be met:

1) a sustained wind average 15 mph or greater
2) relative humidity less than or equal to 25 percent and
3) a temperature of greater than 75 degrees F.

In some states, dry lightning and unstable air are criteria. A Fire Weather Watch may be issued prior to the Red Flag Warning.

Here’s another interesting explanation from the NWS:

Sky Condition
Used in a forecast to describes the predominant/average sky condition based upon octants (eighths) of the sky covered by opaque (not transparent) clouds.

Sky Condition Cloud Coverage
Clear / Sunny 0/8
Mostly Clear / Mostly Sunny 1/8 to 2/8
Partly Cloudy / Partly Sunny 3/8 to 4/8
Mostly Cloudy / Considerable Cloudiness 5/8 to 7/8
Cloudy 8/8
Fair (mainly for night) Less than 4/10 opaque clouds, no precipitation, no extremes of visibility/temperature/wind

Check out our weather glossary for more weather terms.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.