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Maryland weather: Damaging winds could bring downed trees, power outages possible Friday

Damaging winds are expected to blow into the Baltimore region Friday afternoon, with forecasters predicting gusts capable of downing trees and causing power outages.

Heavy, steady winds of about 20-30 mph, with gusts of up to 50-60 mph, are in the forecast beginning Friday at noon, according to the National Weather Service.

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Forecasters issued a high wind warning Friday morning, upgrading their alert from a wind watch, for much of Central Maryland, including the Baltimore metropolitan area and the Eastern Shore. The warning is in effect from noon until 2 a.m. Saturday.

“Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines,” the weather service warned. “Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.”

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Forecasters cautioned people to stay indoors during the wind storm, preferably in the lower levels of their homes and away from windows. If outside, they said to avoid areas with trees and branches.

“This magnitude of wind could bring down small branches and blow loose objects around,” the meteorologists wrote in a weather discussion. Meanwhile, the extended period of wind paired with “leafed-up trees” could cause widespread power outages.

On the back of warm weather, forecasters are calling for a slightly cooler day. The high is 70 and the low is 44.

While Friday should remain dry — the forecast says it’ll be sunny — meteorologists can’t rule out the possibility of showers, particularly west of I-95, they wrote in an online discussion. The real story, they said, will be the wind.

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Already, the meteorologists wrote early Friday, “many locations are showing wind gusts up to 20-30 mph which will set the stage for a windy day to finish out April.”

The Maryland Transportation Authority issued limited wind restrictions for the Bay Bridge and the Francis Scott Key Bridge, meaning vehicles, like empty box trailers, deemed unsafe for crossing by law enforcement will be barred from doing so. Several other bridges were placed under wind warnings, the agency said in a tweet.

Forecasters said the heavy winds should subdue after midnight Friday, as temperatures plummet afterward into the 40s and, in some places, 30s.

Expect Saturday to be seasonably frigid, albeit sunny. The high is 68 and the low is 53, but meteorologists said the west-northwest winds will bring cool air from Canada, making it feel colder.

“The combination of cool overnight temperatures and residual breezy winds should make for a chilly start to the month of May,” meteorologists wrote in a discussion post. “Forecast wind chills are in the 30s in all locations with teens and 20s in the higher terrain.”

Sunday should be warmer. As winds shift to the southwest, paving the way for more moisture in the atmosphere, temperatures should peak around 85 degrees and not drop below 61 that night, forecasters said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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