- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Unseasonably hot temperatures and strong winds have descended across much of the southern Plains, sparking grass fires in some areas.

National Weather Service reported the heat Thursday was most intense in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and eastern New Mexico after several days of record-high temperatures in the West.

In Great Bend, Kansas, temperatures hit 90 degrees. Gage, Oklahoma, was just a degree cooler. Temperatures across all of Kansas were mostly running between 30 and 35 degrees above normal for this time of year.

The strong winds are whipping up grass fires in southern Kansas as well as parts of Oklahoma and Missouri.

NWS meteorologist Eric Schminke says spring isn’t here yet - this is just a warm spell.

Temperatures are expected to ease up Friday but will remain warmer than normal.

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