Update: Updated at 5 p.m. with the temperature hitting 90 degrees.
Summertime heat, accompanied by gusty winds and low humidity, arrived Sunday in North Texas, where the temperature at DFW Airport hit 94 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The recording about 5:30 p.m. Sunday marked the first 90-degree day this year and the earliest since 2017, when temperatures soared to 90 on March 20, according to the weather service.
On average, the region’s first 90-degree day of the year is April 19, according to the weather service. Sunday’s temperature was 2 degrees shy of a record and the hottest the region has been this early in the year since 1996, when 95-degree temperatures were recorded in late February.
Highs in the mid- to upper 90s are about 30 degrees warmer than normal, with 61 degrees being the average temperature at DFW on March 27, according to the weather service.
The high temperatures also made the spread of wildfires more likely, prompting a red flag warning for more than 20 North Texas counties along and west of Interstate 35. The warning was in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday, the weather service said.
The affected areas include Wise, Parker, Hood, Johnson, Jack, Palo Pinto, Erath, Somervell, Bosque, Hill, Young, Comanche and Eastland counties.
Dry conditions, coupled with strong winds up to 20 mph and warming temperatures, may allow grass fires to develop and spread rapidly, the weather service said.
About 4 p.m. Sunday, fire crews reported a 10,000-acre blaze in Coryell County on the property of Fort Hood that was not contained. The blaze, dubbed the Crittenburg Fire, was burning in an uninhabited area, but was moving northeast toward State Highway 36 where it may threaten buildings, according to the weather service.
People were advised to monitor local burn bans and avoid outdoor activities that could spark flames, such as unattended campfires, throwing burning cigarettes on the ground, outdoor welding or burning trash, the weather service advised.
Fire crews in Parker County were battling three blazes simultaneously on Sunday. One fire that was first reported in the county Friday was 100% contained Sunday morning, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Another, 4-acre fire was about 50% contained, according to a Facebook post from Parker County Emergency Services.
A new, 2-acre grass fire was also reported in Parker County on Sunday. That blaze was 0% contained as of 4 p.m., and some buildings were threatened.
Communities to the west of Fort Worth have been ravaged by the Eastland Complex fire, which has destroyed dozens of homes and killed an Eastland County sheriff’s deputy. Wildfires last weekend forced residents in Eastland, Hood and Erath counties to evacuate.
The Texas A&M Forest Service said the Eastland Complex fire was 90% contained Saturday and had burned 54,513 acres.
Some of those communities were also ravaged by a day of severe weather last week that produced damaging tornadoes.
The heightened risk of wildfires was expected to continue into Monday before stormy weather Tuesday night, Houx said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also issued an air quality alert for Dallas-Fort Worth. High levels of ozone air pollution are possible Sunday, the commission said in a bulletin posted by the weather service.
“Be very mindful of the [air quality] sensitive groups — kids and seniors that are dealing with any of those air issues,” Houx said.
Latest NBC5 forecast
Sunday: 90. Sunny, breezy, and very warm. High fire danger.
Monday: 87/58. Mostly sunny, windy, and very warm. High fire danger.
Tuesday: 81/64. Mostly cloudy, warm and windy. A 20% chance for thunderstorms in the late evening. By Tuesday night, cloudy and windy, with a near 100% chance for showers and thunderstorms. Some storms may become severe.
Wednesday: 73/60. Showers and thunderstorms ending soon after sunrise. Then decreasing clouds, windy and cooler.
Thursday: 70/46. Mostly sunny and mild.
Friday: 75/58. Partly cloudy and a little cooler.
Saturday: 71/58. Partly cloudy and a little cooler.
Sunday: 67/45. Partly cloudy and cooler.