The National Weather Service has posted a red-flag warning for the metro area for today, meaning the risk of wildfires is high and residents are urged to take extra care with anything that might start a fire outdoors.

Today is not only hot – with an expected high of about 102 and an excessive heat warning through 7 p.m. – but dry, with humidity this afternoon expected to be just 20 to 25 percent. And it’s windy. The southwest breeze of 10 to 20 mph was expected to start gusting to 30 mph at mid-morning.

That adds up to what the Weather Service calls “explosive fire growth potential.” The red flag warning is up from noon to 7 p.m. for the Kansas City area as well as all of Missouri north and east of the arc from Clinton to Sedalia to Boonville. It also includes northeast Kansas.

Specifically, the Weather Service says outdoor burning should be avoided. Don’t leave grills unattended. Don’t drive or park in grassy areas.

A little bit of relief could be on the way. Tonight brings a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms, and a 20 percent chance lingers through about 1 p.m. Thursday. The Weather Service anticipates scattered thunderstorms along a line from Kansas City to Chillicothe, Mo., late this afternoon and early this evening. Storms could contain damaging winds. The storms are expected to spread south this evening.

National Weather Service, Pleasant Hill: