* High Wind Watch for Loudoun, Frederick, & Carroll counties *
* Fire Weather Watch for much of metro region *

Sunny skies for much of the day have given way to some clouds ahead of a warm front that punches through the region tonight. The front may produce a few showers while you’re sleeping, before even milder air blows into the region, but just briefly. We probably surpass 70 Friday but howling winds bring in colder air at night into the weekend. The wind is a big deal and has prompted a High Wind Watch for western areas and a Fire Weather Watch for much of the region.

Through Tonight: It’s unseasonably mild overnight, with a small (30%) chance of showers, mainly between about 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Overnight lows only drop to near 55 downtown to near 50 in the cooler suburbs. Winds are light, from the south at 5-10 mph.

Friday: Partly sunny skies and a mild southwesterly breeze in the morning help temperatures surge into the low-to-mid 70s by afternoon. However, a cold front rushes into the region, perhaps setting off a line of showers and thunderstorms between about 3 and 6 p.m. It’s around that time that winds really pick up, becoming sustained at 20-30 mph towards sunset, with gusts to 40-50 mph except up to 60 mph at higher elevations to the west.

See David Streit’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.

Pollen update from U.S. Army Allergen Extract Lab: Trees remain in the HIGH range at 480.83 grains/cubic meter. We are really seeing an upsurge of the cedar/cypress/juniper pollen family as well as elm, maple and alder pollen.

Where it’s snowing: Denver - one of the nation’s snowiest cities this year - tacked on 2 more inches today. It has received 20.2” this month, which is 2nd most on record for February. Meanwhile, a winter weather advisory is in effect for Chicago, where they’re expecting 4-7” tonight into Friday morning.