Beware the Wind!

More snow is possible next week

Saturday, Feb 19, 2011  |  Updated 11:18 AM EDT
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Following Friday's unseasonable, record-threatening warmth, windy weather is blowing Saturday, cooling things off a bit.

With 20-30 mph winds and gusts up to 60 mph expected, the National Weather Service issued warnings and advisories.

The entire area will be under a red-flag warning from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and most of the area will be under a high-wind warning from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. Charles, Saint Mary's and Calvert counties in Maryland will be under a wind advisory, as will Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford and King George counties in Virginia.

The red-flag warning means the wind, low humidity and warmth increases the chance of fires spreading fast.  Smokers are warned not to throw cigarette butts out of vehicles because of the fire danger today.  Reports of downed trees have come in from around the region.

In Anne Arundel County, Md., along Route 100 just east of Arundel Mills Mall, multiple fires turned into one three-alarm brush fire. Firefighters were called at 2:30 p.m. Friday.  Sixty firefighters had it under control by 4:15 p.m., but 10 acres burned, including piles of garbage, and the fire got close to several businesses, though none was damaged and no injuries were reported. Several westbound lanes of Route 100 were closed for a brief time but have since reopened.

The high-wind warning also means there's potential for downed trees, falling branches and power outages.

Pepco is prepared to respond to outages, officials said.

"Pepco is scheduling additional crews including contractors through the weekend," Pepco President Thomas Graham said. "We continue to watch this wind event. Our crews will respond to any challenges that this storm presents."

Call 877-737-2662 and press 1 to report an outage. Press 2 to report a life-threatening emergency, like a burning downed wire. But do not press 2 to report an outage. That could delay actual emergencies.

An unofficial record high was set Friday in D.C., as a temperature of 77 degrees was recorded Friday at 3 p.m. The previous record for Feb. 18 was 76 degrees, set in 1981.

Expect highs in the 50s Saturday, upper 40s Sunday and low 60s Monday, NBC Washington Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said.

Sounds like spring, doesn't it? Well, don't throw the cover over your snow blower just yet.

Rain is likely to turn to snow Monday night and in to Tuesday morning as temperatures fall in to the 30s, Kammerer said. That's still a few days out, though, so stay tuned to NBC Washington for updated forecasts through the weekend.


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