A “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” sign battles the wind at the corner of Quantum Road NE and Turquoise Drive NE at noon Tuesday. (Gregory Hasman/Observer)

A red flag warning went into effect in Rio Rancho and Sandoval County at 11 a.m. Tuesday. 

The warning occurs when humidity levels are lower than 15 percent  and wind gusts are over 25 mph. 

Both conditions must occur simultaneously for at least three hours in a 12-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. 

Highs are expected to be in the upper 70s with winds increasing to 25-30 mph in the afternoon. Gusts could reach 45 mph. 

“Luckily for us we have processes in place to proactively address weather like today,” Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Ryan Floersheim said. “Every morning our on-duty battalion chief assesses the weather predictions, and based on criteria including wind and moisture decides whether it is a burn day or not. 

“They then relay this info to dispatch who updates the citywide burn line. Our residents use that info to decide their own behavior, especially the burning of weeds.” 

Tuesday is not a burn day, he said. 

The red flag warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The winds are predicted to slow to 10-20 mph after midnight, before picking back up on Wednesday with gusts of up to 35 mph. Highs Wednesday are expected to only reach the mid-60s. 

To check on the burn status, call 505-891-7268.