Nature has given us something precious to treasure this afternoon: several hours of springlike sun and balmy temperatures topping 70 degrees. And now, like the cruel harpy she is, nature will rip away our warmth and replace it with a fierce cold front that's already spurring hazardous wind warnings in southwest Virginia.
If you're waiting until after your evening commute to grab that ice cream cone, don't. A powerful low-pressure area moving to our north is creating a big change in the weather, and the coldness is almost upon us. Temperatures in Elkins, W.V. (under a 4 hour drive west of D.C.) are already in the 40s. By the time this front swoops over town from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. we'll be in that temperature zone as well. By dawn the air is expected to be below freezing, and the blasting winds in the early morning will have a wind-chill factor in the teens. In other words, it'll feel more than 50 degrees colder than it did at the warmest point today.
The Blacksburg office of the National Weather Service has put up a high-wind warning for this approaching front. Higher elevations along the Blue Ridge are on the alert for wind gusts approaching 58 m.p.h. Driving conditions there are expected to be hazardous for trucks and vans, and sporadic power outages, fallen trees and blown-out-to-sea garbage cans will no doubt annoy many a mountain resident by morning.