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Warming Up on Monday but Uncertainty Comes Mid-Next Week

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:33:00 EST
Lauryn Ricketts

Get ready for a warm up-and I believe that is something we can all latch on to given the bitterly cold air more normal for January that moved into our area of the last week. However, after some evening rain on Sunday, we will warm up nicely on Monday – into the lower 70s in some spots!

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Caption: Temperatures warm to around 70 degrees on Monday

However, a cold front will sweep on through on Monday night into Tuesday morning and that will gradually bring an end to our mini warm up. Tuesday should be a fairly quiet day as temperatures will still top out in the mid to upper 50s with sunshine however, as we head into Wednesday, we could see some changes.
Since this is several days away, the forecast confidence is low for mid next week but given it is one of the busiest travel days of the year, I want to go ahead and tell you what we’re looking it. Temperatures will continue to fall below normal on Wednesday and Thursday (Thanksgiving)-most likely topping out in the mid to upper 40s.
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The frontal system that passes through the area on Tuesday morning will stall out off the eastern seaboard. The models are hinting at an area of low pressure forming along the stalled frontal boundary and moving north along it. The question will remain: how close to the coast can that area of low pressure get? If we see a shift westward, then we could have some rain/snow along the eastern seaboard on Wednesday (D.C. area included). However, if it keeps veering out to sea, there is a good chance of not seeing anything expect a dry day here. Obviously this will be something we continue to watch as we head into next week.

As far as the rest of the U.S. is concerned for travel, there are no major storms across the region mid-next week. There could be a clipper system that dives southeast out of northwestern Canada that could bring some light snow showers to the Great Lakes region and Upper Plains (this could include any Chicago airports) – however, any snow associated with that looks to be light.

Until then, just enjoy the weekend and we’ll keep an eye on the weather!


Voracious sunspot could impact us on Earth

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:22:00 EST
Brian van de Graaff

When the sunspot faced Earth last month it was the largest one on record in nearly a quarter century. What impacts could it have on us and is there anything we can do to prepare for it? Check out my one-on-one interview with NASA Solar Astrophysicist Dr. Alex Young.



Record cold across the D.C. area Wednesday morning

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:07:00 EST
Alex Liggitt

Record lows were broken at both Dulles and BWI Marshall last night. Dulles broke the record of 20F set back in 1990 by 7 degrees as the location plunged to 13F this morning. BWI Marshall broke its record of 20F set in 1936 as they dropped to 19F this morning. Reagan National, which hasn't broken any record lows between November and March since 1996 was close, but still failed to break the record of 18F this morning as it only fell to 22F.

Record Lows at Dulles and BWI Marshall Wednesday morning

 A number of other records were broken across the country this morning as well. Here are a few cities that also broke or tied low temperature records. You can find a bigger list of all kinds of records from the NWS here.

Elkins, WV: 12F (Old record 14F-1990)

Richmond, VA: 18F (Tied 1936)

Philadelphia, PA: 20F (Tied 1936)

Morgantown, WV: 16F (Old record 19F-1989)

Charleston, SC: 23F (Old record 27F-1949)

Savannah, GA: 26F (Old record 27F-2008)

Jacksonville, FL: 27F (Old record 28F-2008)

New Orleans, LA: 31F (Tied-1946)

While it was freezing in the central and eastern U.S., the opposite is happening in parts of Alaska, with record highs broken in both Anchorage and Nome yesterday.

Temperatures will begin to moderate tomorrow as they settle back into the mid 40s, but another brief cold push is expected Friday before a milder weekend ahead. Just to put this cold in perspective, today will be the earliest day with highs below 40 degrees at Reagan National since 1996. Basically, this is the coldest it's been this early in the season in 18 years. I don't think anyone I've spoken to has missed the cold!


Dulles sees record low cold temperatures, Baltimore matches record

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:50:40 EST
The Associated Press, Horace Holmes

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington-Baltimore region hit record-low temperatures on Wednesday.

Dulles International Airport dipped down to 13 degrees Wednesday morning. That shattered the previous record low for Nov. 19 - 20 degrees in 1990.

The Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport also beat its previous record, set back in 1936. The temperature at the airport fell to 19 degrees Wednesday morning. That's 1 degree colder than the previous record of 20 degrees.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport remained shy of its record low, set back in the 1800s.

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray declared a cold-weather emergency on Tuesday. That allows the District to implement additional measures beyond traditional shelters for the city's homeless, such as warming sites.

More seasonable temperatures are forecast for the rest of the week.


Arctic Blast Brings Record Challenging Temperatures Tonight and Wednesday

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:49:00 EST
Jacqui Jeras

Today's bitter arctic blast brought us the coldest air of the season so far and beats last week's cold by about ten degrees. D.C. dropped down into the 20s for the first time and wind chill temperatures were down in the the teens and even single digits in a few spots.

Lows this Morning

Believe it or not, our high temperature actually happened at midnight with 42 degrees and then plummeting temperatures through sunrise. This afternoon will recover a bit, but temperatures only warm a few notches in the low to mid 30s. That is more typical of January temperatures! And it isn't just the temperatures making it feel unreasonably cold. Gusty winds will keep our wind chill factor in the 20s all day long. Wind gusts will reach 25 to 30mph at times. Here's a look at ABC7's computer model forecast wind chill temperatures this afternoon.

Forecast Wind Chill this Afternoon

The wind will diminish after sunset, so that will help, but clear skies means a cold night ahead. Record lows are in jeopardy tonight. The record low for Dulles is 20. I'm expecting to meet or just break that record. Reagan National's record low is 18, and I think we'll miss that by just a few.

Lows Wednesday Morning

Additional records may be set Wednesday afternoon. Highs will only reach the low to mid 30s. We could have the coldest high temperature on record for the date. Here at the stats for that.

Record Cold Highs Wednesday?

By Thursday, we start a slow recovery with temperatures back in the 40s. A dry cold front will pass our area, but won't bring the temperatures down too much more on Friday. For those of you hating on the cold, we'll reach near average temps in the mid 50s late this weekend and should easily top 60 on Monday. The warmer temperatures won't stop there.

 

6-10 Day Temperature Probability

The 6-10 day outlook has much above average temperatures for the Mid-Atlantic and that should last into the first part of December. Hang in there!



Bundle up! Near record cold temps for Wednesday morning in region

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:18:06 EST



Chilly Rain Monday Then Bitter Blast Tuesday

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 16:47:00 EST


Grab the umbrella and rain coat Monday morning and allow for some extra time for the AM commute.  Rain, and even some sleet, started falling Sunday evening and rain will continue, on and off, through late Monday afternoon.  Even though there were reports of sleet at the onset of precipitation, temperatures will remain above freezing for the duration of the wet weather, so it will be an all rain event.

Here's a radar simulation at 7 AM Monday.  Notice the wide shield of rain overhead.  Expect extra delays for the morning rush, so be prepared.

The rain is coming from an area of low pressure currently over the deep south.  This low will track northeastward overnight and tomorrow bringing ample moisture.  Between .75-1.00" of rain is expected.  Here's a larger view of our weather story.

The bulk of the moisture should be out of the region by the evening commute.  Winds will begin to shift out of the NW drawing in another very cold airmass.  Temperatures will tumble quickly Monday night into the lower 30s.  The gusty winds should help dry the roads, but icy spots are possible Tuesday morning.  Even during the afternoon, highs will struggle to reach the freezing marks in spots.

Temperatures will be nearly 20° colder than average for this time of year.  And it's not just us dealing with the bitter cold.  The map below shows the temperature departure from average.  The blue and purple colors indicate temperatures 20-30° below average. 

WxBell GFS Output

If the cold wasn't enough, winds will be howling between 25-35 mph Tuesday.  That means wind chills will be in teens and 20s during the day.  Here's an hourly forecast of the "feels like" temperature on Tuesday.

Winds will gradually diminish late Tuesday night, but the cold air sticks around Wednesday with highs, again, in the mid 30s.  Temperatures will rebound slightly by the end of the week and into next week, but will still be well below our average of 58°.


Fun Weather Facts: Just How Cold & Snowy Has It Been?

Sat, 15 Nov 2014 18:35:00 EST


*A total of 28.5% of the U.S. is currently covered by snow compared to 5.8% last year at this time.

Current Snow Depth
Current Snow Depth

*In the last 11 years, only November 2012 comes closest to snow coverage seen so far this month when 20.1% of the Lower 48 was covered by snow.

Current Snow Depth
Current Snow Depth
*Snowfall coverage (snow extent in thousands of square kilometers) across North America in September was the highest since records began in 1966 and eighth highest in October.
Current Snow Depth *Snowfall coverage(snow extent in thousands of square kilometers) in northern Asia (Eurasia) last month was the second highest since records began in 1966.
Current Snow Depth *In the last 24-hours, there was a 103 degree temperature spread across the U.S. The high Friday hit 84 at Death Valley, CA and today’s morning low was -19 in Jordan, MT & Dunn Center, ND..

*There have been more cold record highs set this month in the U.S. than warm record highs.

Current Snow Depth *Lake Superior (largest of the Great Lakes) and Lake Michigan’s water temperatures are below average; the remainder of the Great Lakes currently are seeing near average water temperatures.

Be sure to get the latest forecast for the Washington area by clicking here.


A Cold Wet Rain Could End as Snow on Monday

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:46:00 EST


If you didn’t think the cold weather was here with yesterday’s daytime high temperatures topping out in the 40s, I am sure you were reminded how winter has paid us an early visit with the first flakes of the season Thursday evening. Not everybody saw the light flurries; some people experienced some sleet as well! Any precipitation last night quickly changed to rain but it was a reminder that this forecast is more reminiscent of a December or January forecast as opposed to a mid-November forecast. Either way, we will have yet another reminder of winter paying us an early visit as we start off the next work week.

Winds will continue to die down through the evening so we are expecting light winds during the overnight. Light winds and clear skies means those temperatures are going to drop.

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Caption: Overnight lows Friday overnight

We will start off on the chilly side on Saturday as arctic high pressure builds right overhead. Temperatures will manage to make it into the low to mid 40s. So if you are headed to College Park on Saturday night, watch for temperatures falling through the lower 30s during the Maryland/Michigan State game. Clouds will increase on Sunday ahead of our next system with temperatures warming to around 50 degrees! That means we are looking good for the Redskins vs. Tampa Bay game at Fed Ex – just some clouds but remaining dry.

After midnight on Sunday, all bets are off. An area of low pressure will move out of the Gulf of Mexico and to the northeast along a cold front. It will gain some energy from a few disturbances moving out of the Great Lakes region as well as the Midwest.

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We could see a little wintry mix at the onset after midnight on Sunday well north and west of D.C. but this is mainly going to be a cold rain event for the WJLA viewing area all day on Monday with the influence of warm air at all levels of the atmosphere. And FYI, it will most likely rain both during the morning AND evening commutes.

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Caption: Monday afternoon, snow stays well west with rain (green) around the region.

As that low moves off the coast into the evening hours, there is a chance the rain could quickly change to some light snow as cold air surges in from the west. Not expecting any accumulation around the D.C. area as that low will quickly move to the north and east, taking the precipitation with it.
After the precip moves out Monday night, another arctic high pressure will move in advancing even colder air into the region. Daytime highs on Tuesday and Wednesday may not make it out of the 30s!

Good news is, the Climate Prediction Center has our temperatures moving back towards normal (mid to upper 50s) by Thanksgiving week so there is an end in sight!

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First freeze of the season in D.C. as temps plunge, plus chance of snow again in the forecast

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:46:45 EST



The 1987 Veterans Day Snowstorm remembered

Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:20:00 EST


Above is some footage from Fox 5 during the 1987 Veterans Day Snowstorm. Thanks to Capital Weather Gang for finding this and I hope you all enjoy watching my friend Sue Palka discuss the storm. Notice that it reached the 60s the day before and the forecast was for highs in the 50s with scattered light rain. Let's just go ahead and hope this scenario doesn't repeat itself any time this Winter!

The Veterans Day snowstorm in 1987 officially dropped 11.5 inches of snow at Reagan National Airport and many areas in Prince Georges County picked up 15" or more. It occurred before the time of weather radar and the lightning detection network so it caught forecasters off-guard.

Thundersnow was being reported in Fredericksburg as the system intensified and barreled up the I-95 corridor. By the time it reached the D.C. area it was too late to warn everyone. Numerous motorists were stuck on the Capitol Beltway and had to abandon their vehicles, hampering snow removal efforts.

1987 Veterans Day Snow Totals in D.C.

My best memory of the storm is the fact I did not work the day before the snow hit. I was off on November 10th and I clearly remember clicking around the dial to watch the weather on channels 4,5,7 and 9 that night ( I was working WUSA at the time). As I recall, no one called for snow the next day, let alone a major snowstorm. I don’t think the National Weather Service forecasted snow either. All is know is when it hit the fan the next day and weather folks were being lambasted, I went on TV that evening feeling pretty good…my hands were clean. Truth be told though, I have blown more than a couple forecasts since then. But it sure felt good, at the time, that I didn’t blow that one.


Brrrr! Near record cold for next two days as arctic plunge invades D.C.

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 19:12:59 EST




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