By ERIK SANDIN
Near record heat, strong southerly winds and low humidity today will create dangerous fire weather conditions late in the day, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.
NWS forecasters said sustained winds of 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are expected in the St. Croix Valley today along with sunny skies and highs in the upper 80s to near 90.
The heat and wind, combined with low relative humidity, will create dry conditions and boost the fire threat until a cold front forecast to move into the region Saturday night brings with it thunderstorms and cooler temperatures, forecasters said.
They also warned against persons spending too much time outdoors the afternoon heat.
"Temperatures will warm to around 90 in much of the area this afternoon," forecasters said. "Persons working outside or those persons without air conditioning should try and remain hydrated and cool during this period of early season heat."
Mild, windy conditions are expected tonight, with lows falling to the upper 60s and south winds at 13 to 20 mph, with occasional gusts up to 25 mph.
Saturday will be another sunny, warm and windy day with highs expected in the middle 80s and south winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
Skies will turn cloudy Saturday night as a cold front approaches with a 60 percent showers and thunderstorms likely after 1 a.m. Lows are expected in the lower 60s with south winds of 5 to 10 mph, then switching to the northwest.
"Thunderstorm chances will increase across the entire area Saturday through Sunday as a cold front moves across the outlook area," forecasters said. "The severe weather threat with any of this activity is low at this time.
Sunday sees a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m., with highs cooling to near 70 and north to northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Skies turn partly cloudy Sunday night with lows dropping into the upper 40s.
Monday through Wednesday sees sunny to partly cloudy skies with highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s to middle 60s. Forecasters said the next threat of rain is midweek.
"More thunderstorms will be possible Wednesday night through Thursday as the next cold front moves into the area," forecasters said.