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Posted at 10:30 PM ET, 02/12/2009

PM Update: Hold Onto Your Hat, If You've Still Got It

By Ian Livingston

Lighter but still gusty winds continue through Friday

Wind Advisory until midnight for most of metro area (map)

* Power Outages | Submit Wind Damage Photos | Darwin & Weather *

Winds gusting between 45 and 55 mph in the immediate metro area, and even higher to the north and west, created bad hair for some and minor to moderate damage for others. On the bright side, the winds have been relatively warm compared to other windstorms this winter. Downsloping gusts off the mountains mixed with mostly sunny skies to create highs in the upper 50s to near 60.

Webcam: Latest view of D.C. from the Netherlands Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy National Park Service. Refresh page to update. See this image bigger on our Weather Wall.

Tonight: Strong winds continue into evening, with some gusts still over 40 mph. Winds diminish a bit overnight but remain gusty, especially early. Otherwise, look for clear skies with lows dropping to the mid-30s most spots, perhaps upper 30s downtown.

Tomorrow (Friday): Mostly clear skies continue. Winds will be lighter Friday and diminishing late, but much of the day will present opportunities for gusts from the northwest up to 30 mph or so. Highs? Right around 50 into the low 50s.

Any snow chances on the horizon? See Josh Larson's forecast into next week.

How 'Bout Them Winds: D.C. area residents love to talk about wind. Maybe that's because there's no snow around? Twitter user lauraolin says: Wind is so crazy in D.C. today, I had to hold down my skirt to prevent having a Marilyn Monroe moment. Then there's gbgeek, who clearly needs to read CWG: Should have checked the weather. My hairdo is unprepared for today's wind strength. See more tweets, and share your stories from today in our comment section.

By Ian Livingston  | February 12, 2009; 10:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: In Darwin's Shadow: The Inventor of Forecasting
Next: Forecast: Not Quite as Windy. Anything Wintry?


Mild, but westerly winds gusting to 50 mph today.

Sat. potential looks to be weak and scoot mostly to our south.

A possible surprise awaits for Sunday night into Monday as a sw slides across giving a good chance of some, possibly accumulating snow, especially in Va. This could be another situation similar to last week when some received 3-6 inches of snow!

A stronger storm mid-week has a lot of potential and solutions, but it should be interesting!

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 12, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This relates to a comment in a previous post, but that thread has long been buried. So here is my comment:

First, there was the post from gettingdizzy1:

"A friend just forwarded this alert:

6:51 a.m.


What the heck is "FIRE WEATHER"?????

Posted by: gettingdizzy1 | February 12, 2009 9:45 AM "

I just want to say how happy this post made me because the watch text never does explain what "fire weather" means and it sounds AWESOME. And terrifying.

(I know what it really means, but seriously, what if there were a phenomenon called "fire weather?" What would it be like?)

Posted by: LaurainNWDC | February 12, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse


Your comment made me laugh :) In a good way lol

A serious anwser would be that the weather conditions are right for brush fires/wild fires to start. Very dry fuels, Very low humidity, high winds. Perfact combination.

The last wild fires of any sort around the DC/VA area were way back in the late 90's when Old Rag Mountain in Luray Va I believe was on fire! Very dry years if I remember correctly.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | February 12, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

We are in a serious drought and the fire danger is high!

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 12, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

A weather question for the CWG...

It is typical for us here in DC and sometimes other regions of the US to get the rare 60-70 degree day in January-March much like yesterday.

What prevents us from experiencing a 20-30 degree day during June-Aug?

Posted by: TheMot | February 12, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

TheMot: Three factors: (1) Far higher DEWPOINTS inhibit drastic cooling at night in June, July or August. (2) Nights are MUCH SHORTER during the summer months, providing far less time for radiational cooling around here. (3) Third, and most important: The sun is SHINING CONTINUOUSLY over the north polar region from June to August, thus inhibiting radiational cooling and the formation of Arctic air at high latitudes. Most folks are aware that our first big cool spells in the fall generally happen AOA the autumnal equinox when longer nights at high latitudes enhance radiational cooling at the poles.

Next week's storm looks somewhat interesting though SE winds could inhibit winter precipitation.

Fire weather: Not so common here, but mighty frequent out west. Low humidity, high temperatures and high winds enhance fire conditions. When fire danger is high, a "RED FLAG" warning is posted for the affected area. [I believe I saw one posted for parts of the area this afternoon.]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, Augusta Jim. I know what "fire weather" really means. I was just pleased by the original post and musing about what it COULD mean if you thought of it one way instead of another.

Posted by: LaurainNWDC | February 12, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, was there just the brightest moonrise ever? I saw it reflecting off of the windows on the high rise across the street and it was blinding. Still haven't seen it top the building in front of me, but it must be big and bright.

Posted by: LaurainNWDC | February 12, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

thanks bombo!


Posted by: TheMot | February 13, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse


Your question, "what would it be like?" was best answered by prevailing conditions yesterday. Serious drought conditions,(both soil and combustibles), high winds, low humidity.

Those conditions create perfect "fire weather", hence the NWS alert. This is a natural "phenomenon".

This alert by NWS is unusual in our area because normally we don't have all the necessary parameters for the "perfect storm",(regarding fire weather), but these are not normal times.

Everyone please be advised: The Virginia Outdoor Burning Restriction Season begins on Sunday, Feb.15 and extends until April 30. During this period,no outdoor burning is permitted before 4 pm.

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 13, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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