Wildfire threat heating up out west (forecast video)

Fires burning in several states: There’s an elevated risk for wildfires in the Great Basin and the Cascades, in addition to portions of the Rockies and the Desert Southwest where the weather will be breezy and extremely arid. Dry thunderstorms could add to the threat in the Cascades of Oregon and across New Mexico. Smoke may reduce visibility in the Las Vegas, Phoenix and Reno metro areas, as well as from Bend to Pendleton, Oregon and across southwestern Colorado. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Red Flag Warnings across the region. Smoke may reduce visibility in some areas.

Another stormy day for some drivers: Look for scattered showers and thunderstorms across all regions of the U.S. today and tonight, except for the West. The best odds of running into severe storms dropping heavy rain and large hail are from eastern Oregon to the upper Mississippi Valley, including Pendleton, Coeur d’Alene, Missoula, Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Sheridan, northwestern Nebraska, Rapid City, Des Moines and Minneapolis. Delays are likely on I-80 and I-90, and some storms could whip up rough winds. A few severe storms could also pop up as far south as the Texas Panhandle, and as far east as Chicago, Cleveland and upstate New York.

Shaky ground: An earthquake struck in Central America overnight. It was a shallow tremor, measuring 6.2 on the Righter scale and centered near the Costa Rica-Panama border. As of this morning, there are no reports of injuries or significant damage, but potential aftershocks could cause problems. There’s at least one oil refinery within 100 miles of the epicenter, and the Panama Canal is only 200 miles away.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his 17 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.

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