Friday, February 18, 2011

Extreme Fire Danger Saturday

A dry cold front will pass through Virginia overnight tonight, ushering in extremely dry air and whipping winds up from the northwest on Saturday at 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Even though the front will allow cooler air to begin moving into the Mid-Atlantic, relative humidity values will still drop Saturday afternoon into the 10%-20% range in the Commonwealth. These factors will create an extreme fire danger threat Saturday, and there is a Fire Weather Watch in effect for tomorrow. This watch will likely be upgraded to a Red Flag Warning later.

More than 65% of the Commonwealth is now in a moderate drought, with the rest of the state abnormally dry (except most of the Eastern Shore).

We will be monitoring the fire danger today (which is high) and especially Saturday (critical) in central Virginia, and provide updates on any fires that start and spread out of control. You are advised to postpone any outdoor burning until after the weekend. We will have a shot at some rain on Monday and Tuesday next week, and it will be cooler by the middle of next week. Even so, outdoor burning is still banned before 4 p.m. each day in Virginia.

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