Fire risk, thunderstorm warnings for Michigan today, Friday

The Detroit News

Fire danger and severe storm warnings have been issued for several areas of Michigan by the National Weather Service for this afternoon and overnight into Friday morning.

"The fire danger will be high this afternoon due to very warm and dry conditions along with increasing southwest winds," the agency said Thursday. It has issued a Red Flag warning for Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare, Oceana and Newaygo counties in west Michigan; Mecosta, Isabella, Muskegon, Montcalm, Gratiot, Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, Clinton, Allegan, Barry, Eaton, Ingham, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Jackson counties in southwest and central Michigan, and Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona,  Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Gladwin, Arenac, Beaver Island and surrounding islands and Charlevoix in northern lower Michigan until 8 p.m.

"A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. The combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior," the agency says. "Be careful with any activities that could potentially lead to a wildfire. Camping, outdoor grills, smoking materials, chainsaws and all-terrain vehicles all have the potential to throw a spark and ignite a dangerous and destructive fire."

Red Flag warnings have been issued in much of west, southwest, central and northern Michigan.

Winds are expected to be less intense in southeast Michigan, which is why it is not included in the fire warnings.

The risk of severe weather for southeast Michigan increases overnight, as storms are possible Friday. After midnight, there is a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for the region. Rain chances persist through the day, but skies will become partly cloudy.

Storm chances increase Friday for southeast Michigan.

While isolated severe storms are possible across southern and central Michigan, the highest risk remains in extreme southeast Michigan, from Adrian and Monroe to the state line, through the day.

Saturday is forecast to be sunny with temperatures in the low to mid-80s for much of lower Michigan, with rain returning late Sunday into Monday.