Enjoy this week's warm-up while it lasts

Highs in 60s due before cold front comes through

February 16, 2011|By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun

If you liked Monday's weather and highs in the 60s, you'll love the balmy, late-winter forecast for the end of the workweek.

But the 60s to near-70-degree highs we're set to enjoy Thursday and Friday won't last. Forecasters say there's a cold front due to move through the region Friday night that will drop temperatures back to more seasonable readings through the holiday weekend.

The springlike interludes this week are more than welcome after a winter that saw persistently cold weather in December and January, and several nasty snow and ice storms.

We'll take the sunshine, too. It's expected to continue into Monday morning. That's a mixed blessing, however, as 80 percent of the state is now rated abnormally dry after 41/2 months of below-average precipitation.

The dry weather, dry brush and gusty winds in recent days have also contributed to an enhanced fire danger, especially across the southern portions of the Eastern and Western Shores.

Already this week, state DNR Forest Service firefighters have knocked down at least a dozen wildfires on the Eastern Shore. The two largest fires have charred more than 3,500 acres of marshland south of Bestpitch, in Dorchester County.

The mild weather taking over for the rest of the workweek comes as the high pressure that's brought us the sunshine moves off the southeast coast and becomes a "Bermuda high." As it does, the return clockwise flow of air around the high will bring us southwest winds and higher temperatures Thursday and Friday.

After the cold front moves through late Friday, forecasters said, daytime highs will drop to the upper 40s and stay there through the weekend and into next week.

Looking for light in this tunnel? The meteorological winter ends Feb. 28. But the more traditional end to the season won't come until the spring equinox, on March 20.

frank.roylance@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/froylance

Maryland weather blog: Frank Roylance on meteorology

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