Spring fire season feeds on February warmth

Temperature set to soar again!
Fire season early this year
Fire season early this year(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 9:10 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The weather in mid-February has taken on a mantra of springtime. The crocuses are bursting at the seams, the robins are chirping while finding earthworms to munch on and the kids are tossing around a baseball after school. Highs on Tuesday fostered such April-like events as highs hit 65 degrees across the board. As nice and mild as Tuesday was, the notion of a booster shot of warming courtesy of a strong wind from the south bolsters the notion of a near record breaking Wednesday ahead.

The records lay out with Huntington at 77 degrees set back in 1954 when US president Dwight David Eisenhower (Ike for short) dedicated the Iwo Jima war memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Meanwhile Charleston boasts of a February 15th record high of 78 set back as WW II was ending in 1945.

The day will unfold with partial sun streaming thru the thinning cloud deck. By 9 AM temperatures will already be in the 60s as quickening southerlies set back porch wind chimes humming. As the winds pick up a few notches with each passing hour, temperatures will respond in kind reaching near 70 by lunchtime as kids frolic in shirt sleeves at afternoon recess. The way we could match the record would be for the sun to shine brightly all afternoon and the wind to blow stoutly until sundown.

Thursday will feature the first soaking rain of the month with a few rumbles of thunder and gusts of wind thrown in for good measure. Highs will back off to the 60s during the rain. While severe weather is unlikely at a large scale, street flooding and a few rouge high winds would be possible.

Friday turns sharply colder with rain pre-dawn perhaps ending as wet snow as the sun rises. Then a few snow flurries will ride the blustery north wind into town as temperatures hold in the 30s all day long. By the weekend sunshine and dry conditions with modest temperatures are in the forecast as highs park out in the 40s on Saturday then 50s on Sunday while starting below freezing (even deep down in the 20s on Saturday morn).

One final note about brush fire season; namely, as of midnight, the restricted burn season had begun in Kentucky where thru April 30 it is illegal to do any open burning from 6 AM until 6 PM. In West Virginia and Ohio there are no temporal restrictions to burning since the spring fire season doesn’t not officially begin until March 1st. Of course, we saw last week what that meant when a rash of fires sparked across the Tri-State area. Remarkably the limited duration and amount of rain that was to fall overnight will have virtually no effect on preventing brush fires on Wednesday.

Best suggestion then: put off all burning until we get rain. The land and money you save (stiff fines for burning illegally) may be your own!