Winds, low humidity raise wildfire concerns
Be careful with those smokes today. Heat, low humidity, winds around 20 mph and dry conditions in woods and fields will combine this afternoon to raise the risk of wildfires across much of the state.
The National Weather Service has posted Red Flag Warnings for all of Western Maryland, including Carroll and Frederick counties, and virtually all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The warnings are in effect until 7 p.m. this evening. They mean that "critical fire weather conditions are either occuring now, or will be shortly" with "explosive fire growth potential."
In addition, a "Special Weather Statement" has been issued for the rest of Maryland, including Baltimore, Washington and their suburbs, noting an "enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires this afternoon and evening." Conditions here will include very low humidities - as low as 20 to 30 percent - with winds of 10 to 15 mph, gusting to 25.
The forecast for the Baltimore area calls for a high Wednesday near 90 degrees - stopping well short of the 93-degree record for the date. Relief is due with the arrival Thursday of a cold front and thunderstorms. Skies will clear sometime Friday, with highs rising from the 50s Friday to near 70 by Sunday.
(SUN PHOTO/Doug Kapustin 2001)