A low pressure system tracking through the northern Great Lakes along the Canadian border will bring a dry cold front through the Commonwealth later this afternoon and early evening. As this front approaches, winds will pick up from the west and be quite gusty. We will also be unseasonably warm today with highs in the 60s, and with dry air in the region, this will create low relative humidity values this afternoon in the 20%-30% range. All of these factors combined will result in high fire danger today, especially between Noon and 5 p.m. Therefore, there is a Red Flag Warning in effect today for nearly all of central Virginia.
The highest gusts should occur in the Piedmont and higher terrain of western Virginia, especially along ridge-tops. If you're driving in a high-profile vehicle today, particularly along I-81, be prepared to battle some tough cross-winds!
Part of the reason why we have this high fire danger is because we're running below-normal for year-to-date precipitation:
The last times we had good soaking rains were on January 26th and on December 12th. It's no wonder we're a little dry! Here's the latest drought monitor for Virginia, which shows 57% of the state is in Moderate Drought:
Notice how the eastern Peninsulas of Virginia are doing okay for precipitation? That's partly why they are excluded from the Red Flag Warning today. No rain chances are on the horizon until next week, when our pattern should shift to a more active one conducive for storm systems and moisture to make it into the Commonwealth. Let's hope we pick up some much-needed rainfall next week!