Countdown to spring:

Coming up:

A really nice day. We must be living right. Looks like we’re in store for two days where it’s completely appropriate for you to find an excuse for a nice outdoor lunch or a pleasant afternoon stroll. The Capital Weather Gang says it will be sunny today with temperatures near 70. And Friday? No joke, it could feel like . . . summer!

A warning about too much St. Patrick’s Day celebrating tonight: police in Maryland will increase the number of DUI patrols. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun — but if you have too much fun, consider taking advantage of the Sober Rides program.

Today’s headlines:

Gray administration under fire. Wednesday was another troubled day for the fledgling administration of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Just moments before she was set to testify before a D.C. Council Committee on salaries being paid to administration officials, Gerri Mason Hall, Gray’s chief of staff, was fired. Gray (D) said he requested Gerri Mason Hall’s resignation because she was becoming a “distraction,” and personnel matters were “overshadowing the work of the government.” Whether this will be enough to ease the doubts of D.C. residents remains to be seen. Could other firings be imminent?

Education cuts averted in Md. A key committee of Maryland lawmakers voted Wednesday to restore many of the education budget cuts sought for by Gov. Martin O’Malley — sidestepping a battle with teachers unions. The decision came just a few days after a massive protest in Annapolis by teachers and state employees. It was the biggest rally at the state capital in years.

Metro’s money woes. Metro’s budget woes just seem to continue. Metro officials have spent $49 million in overtime pay since July, according to a new report. Metro workers are getting injured more often than their counterparts at other transit agencies and that high injury rate at the transit agency is also putting the squeeze on WMATA’s bottom line. (Washington Examiner).

In short. The Metro map is getting a make-over (Post); a Montgomery County police officer has been arrested and charged with helping her finance operate a cocaine trafficking ring (Post); someone shot at the headquarters of the D.C. GOP, located near 13th and K streets NW sometime Tuesday night (Post).

Other items:

Remembering quake victims. A Frederick, Md., woman has spearheaded a fund-raising campaign for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Mari Hamada-Prendergast is making origami cranes for each donation her group receives for Japanese relief efforts. The crane is a symbol of hope and perserverance for the Japanese people and is often associated with the story of Sadako, a young Japanese girl who was a victim of the atomic bomb.

That’s it for now, but as you can see, there’s plenty happening in and around the D.C. region — so be sure to check back with PostLocal throughout the day for more updates and headlines. Interested in what’s going on at college campuses in D.C. and around the country? Did you catch the story about the gender gap in campus politics? Tune in to our Campus Overload chat with The Post’s Jenna Johnson today at 1 p.m., ET. Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine.