From the ABC 7 Weather team

High Wind and Fire Weather Watches (Video Update)

February 23, 2012 - 02:23 PM
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High winds and conditions favorable for wildfires are expected tomorrow...but so are 70 degree temperatures!

The latest development with this strong cold front is that a High Wind Watch (brownish color) has been issued along and west of the Blue Ridge. By tomorrow around Noon, the cold front is expected to push through the D.C. area, bringing with it wind gusts up to 50 and possibly 60 m.p.h. This is a very strong frontal passage that will bring much cooler air for the weekend but very little in the way of precipitation. With the warm temperatures, gusty winds, and low fuel moistures, a Fire Weather Watch has also been issued.

What you can expect: A warm front will push through the region late this evening into the early overnight hours. A few showers will be possible from around 8pm through 1am. Temperatures will be warm overnight with lows in the mid to upper 50s. Friday, the cold front will push through during the day with an isolated shower possible. The front should push through the D.C. Metro around Noon bringing with it gusty winds up to 50 or possibly 60 m.p.h. The highest gusts will be in the higher elevations to the west where the Watch is posted. Temperatures should sink back through the 50s by the evening hours and settle into the 30s by Saturday morning.

70 Degrees Tomorrow? I think it will be relatively easy to hit 70 degrees through much of the region tomorrow due to downsloping and compressional heating right as the cold front moves through. This must happen right ahead of the cold air advection. As the front moves to the east later in the afternoon, temperatures will cool.

Cooler for the Weekend? What Gives? This system will bring with it much cooler air but it won't get here until tomorrow night. Lows should only be in the low to mid 30s Saturday morning and will only rebound back into the upper 40s, about 20 to 25 degrees colder than tomorrow. The winds will finally diminish by Saturday evening. Below is a look at the 850mb temperatures moving in by Saturday with strong northwesterly flow aloft as the low intensifies near Nova Scotia.

850mb temperatures on Saturday
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