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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 02/18/2011

PM Update: Big winds follow today's record warmth

By Jason Samenow

Gusts over 50 mph, fire danger Saturday

(updated at 6:00 p.m.)

Reagan National Airport hit 77 this afternoon, breaking the old record of 76 set in 1981. Dulles reached 74 75, breaking the record of 73 from the same year. But this unseasonable warmth is about over as cooler air streams in tonight, followed by excessive windiness tomorrow. A high wind watch warning as well as a fire weather (red flag) warning are in effect Saturday due to the expected high winds and low humidity.

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Through Tonight: If you're headed out this evening, it's still fairly mild with just an outside (10-15%) chance of a shower. Temps slowly fall back through the 60s through 8 or 9 p.m. with increasing winds. Then it turns a bit chiller with temperatures dropping through the 50s by midnight. Morning lows range from near 40 in the cooler suburbs to the mid-40s downtown. Winds increase to about 15-25 mph from the west with gusts from 30 to 40 mph.

Tomorrow (Saturday): Skies are partly sunny but winds rage. Sustained winds will probably be in the neighborhood of 20-35 mph, with the potential for gusts exceeding 50 mph. The highest wind gust may match/exceed the high temperature, also projected to be in the mid-50s (about 20 degrees colder than today). The winds may cause scattered power outages, and air travel disruption. And it may be wise to secure loose items outside. The combination of the winds and very dry air pose "explosive" fire potential so if you live in a rural area and/or near open brush, be extremely cautious with any open flames.

See Camden Walker's forecast through the weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

70-degree days: Today was our third 70+ day this month (and this week). The last time we had at least three 70+ degree days in February occurred in 1997 when we had four. 1991 came in with three. Some other February 70 degree stretches: 1977, four 70+ in five days; 1976, seven 70+ days that month including three in a row; 1943, three 70+ in five days; and 1874 had three. (Courtesy Ian Livingston)

By Jason Samenow  | February 18, 2011; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Snow chance early Tuesday, but big uncertainty
Next: High wind warning Saturday, gusts to 60 mph


Have we ever before had three February 70 degree days in the same week?

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 18, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Ignore my prior comment. I obviously didn't read the last paragraph. It's all this heat, I tell ya.

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 18, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. I remember it being very warm in Feb. 1998 yet it says the last time was 1997 above.

Posted by: dkf747 | February 18, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

dkf747, Both 97 and 98 had warm Febs compared to avg, +6.6 and +5.3 respectively. 98 was more a case of consistently warmer than normal temperatures during the day and at night, rather than any major warmth.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

AsymptoticUnlimited - thanks for being an amenable commenter :) We often get asked duplicative questions, but it's all good on a slow weather day. This heat is making me sweat and think more slowly too, ha! Allergies are beginning for me too. Rats! Soon I won't be able to enjoy this weather at all, come March. Then my brain will really be NOT at its best. Have a good weekend & eat outside tonight if you can!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Man, I wish I could enjoy this weather. Stuck at the office until 8pm tonight.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | February 18, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I remember 1998 being consistently warm with temps approaching 80 degrees at times and the Cherry Blooming late Feb. I wasn't here for 1997 though. The chart you linked to shows averages. I can't find daily temps back then to confirm what I remember. Not important, but my memory doesn't agree with the last time being in 1997.

Posted by: dkf747 | February 18, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

dkf747, Weather Underground has the daily info back to about 1948 I think, some days are a degree or two off for some reason. Anyway, here is Feb 1997 and Feb 1998 at DCA.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Little raindrops on the windshield driving home from Manassas.
Really beautiful sky out there, and the wind is kicking up.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 18, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

great weather today. i was able to get out and play some tennis... in february... imagine that. 76.6 max temp here, according to my christmas present "weather station". imagine how high we'd have gotten if it had been sunny all day. bet we'd have broken 80.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Dog and I are sitting on the back porch. Dog hears rain and looks curious. I pet dog and she curls up on my lap while I enjoy the sound of rain in 70 degree weather in February with a beer in hand.

Life is good.

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 18, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for those links so I can see actual temps. My memory isn't matching up with those temps. I'm not that old!

Posted by: dkf747 | February 18, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

That outside chance just happened! Rain came down briefly, but hard on my drive from College Park to South Laurel.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 18, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Talk about Pneumonia weather.. The birds are all skewered up, they don't know rather to go East, West, South, or North!

Posted by: BELLASNOWQUEEN | February 18, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Near 80 today, back down to 50 tomorrow with a high wind warning. Then back to 70 on Monday, and then 30 with snow by Tuesday...what's next; a hurricane, or maybe a tsunami???

CWG, please make it stop!

Enough with all this crazy weather already - - I just wish we'd fall back into a more stable, SNOWY weather pattern...

And if not, to heck with winter! If we're not going to see anymore snow, I'd be perfectly content with some more warmth.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 18, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I recall visiting Calvert Cliffs on an 80-degree February Saturday or Sunday shortly after my wife and I moved into the area in the early 1980's, but I guess it was a one-off.

Posted by: kevinwparker | February 22, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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