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Enjoy the warmth while it lasts

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM

In last week's post I discussed the warm/cold oscillation we seem to be in this winter. Clearly the warm period for February has arrived the last few days. While I do expect temperatures to continue to average above normal for the next week or so, it will be a bit more up and down rather than continuous sunny days in the 50's. Also it does not look like we will see the level of warmth we saw in the beginning of January. We may in fact currently be in the warmest period of this warmup as I type. Indications are strong that this will change in a week or so. See inset below(Also see Jason's post from yesterday that shows the stepdown to cold as the week progresses which may be a portent to winter's return despite a possible slight warmup this weekend or early next week)

Forecasting beyond several days is always a tricky thing and confidence decreases the further out you go, but it looks good for winter to return. The above map is the 8-10 Day ECMWF, which is a reasonably reliable European Model. It depicts a strong ridge near Alaska, a decent trough moving East, some ridging East of Greenland hopefully moving west as desired, and a split Jet Stream flow. These are some of the ingredients that are indicative of a cold and snowy pattern in DC.

Moving from the medium range to the short range, Today and Wednesday will be in the low to mid 50's with a chance of some rain showers. Regarding the system this Wednesday night into Thursday, it looks like another coastal storm that will largely miss us. We should see mostly rain. By the time the cold air gets here, the moisture will be to our North. This looks to be another decent storm for New England(Boston has already seen 54.4" of snow this winter which is 12" above their seasonal average). I cannot rule out some wet snow toward the end of the main system and perhaps some snowshowers on Thursday as the low deepens to our North, so it is a situation that bears watching over the next 48-72 hours or so.

Although we are still three weeks away, I thought I would mention March. Over the past 10 years or so, March has not been a snowy month for DC, except for a fluke storm in March of 1999. However, historically 44% of DC winters have had 1" or more snow in March and 31% have seen 4" or more. I believe that this upcoming March is a good candidate for accumulating snowfall in DC. Stay tuned for more on this topic as February progresses.

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