High winds and warm temperatures predicted for March 19 has the National Weather Service and emergency management personnel sounding an alarm today.

“Please be aware that later on today we’re going to be in Catastrophic Fire Danger,” wrote Gary Denny, director of Harvey County Emergency Management, in an email to community partners. “ I know it’s soaking wet out there now, but later on today we’ll have winds between 23 to 33 mph, with gusts close to 50. Temperatures will be in the mid 70’s, so everything that’s above ground is going to dry out real fast. ”

Rain fell on central Kansas n the early morning hours, however, fire fuels like dead grass are expected to dry quickly.

According to the National Weather Service, strong southwest winds will affect most of the day and will shift to the northwest early this evening. 30 to 35 mph winds are forecast with gusts approaching 50 mph.

Any fires that develop will be difficult or impossible to control.

The weather service advised strong winds may make driving difficult, especially in high profile vehicle and that Unsecured items may blow around resulting in property damage.

Outdoor burning should be avoided.