top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

From spring to winter and back again?

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM

Today's roller coaster temps
March is known for quickly changing conditions, but today's cold front is an impressive one, even for March. Look for temperatures to fall throughout the day, with very gusty winds. The difference between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon is as stark a contrast as one will usually see in DC. We should see temps fall through the 40's and 30's during the day and nearing the freezing mark by dusk. We will likely see a 30-40 degree change between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon. Typically we only see a brief changeover to snow with these frontal passages if at all. This is primarily due to the precipitation shield being past our area once conditions are cold enough to support snow. But this time may be an exception as we should see a changeover to snow during the day today, although it will have trouble sticking to anything but grassy surfaces, except perhaps in elevated and far North and West locales. It could, however, be another decent storm for New England as low pressure develops off the coast along the front and deepens as it moves north. The precipitation should mostly be out of here during the afternoon, although some snowshowers or flurries as we head into the evening are a possibility.

Cold, unsettled pattern to persist?
There are several more possible snow events over the next week to 10 days. The best possibility for something meaningful is this Friday into Saturday which looks like another New England special, but may just dig far enough south to affect us. Stay tuned for the latest.

In the long range, the pattern may turn more springlike as we get through next week. In many years, given that it is mid-March, a turn to persistent springlike weather indicates the onset of spring. But if we look back fifteen years to March and April 1990 we see an extreme example of a false signal. Summer "apparently" came early with highs nearing 90 degrees in Mid March. In fact Dulles Airport's (IAD) high temps for the period from March 10th to March 17th were, 72, 77, 89, 87, 88, 82, 82, 71 respectively. Yet IAD saw an astonishing 10.4" of snow after this heat wave, in three separate storms during a period from March 20th through April 7th. I am not suggesting a repeat. But beware of the false signal. I will leave you with IAD's top 10 snowfalls after March 15th, since they started keeping records there in the winter of 1962-63. You can see we are running out of time for anything significant, even in the north and west suburbs.

1) 3/30-4/1/1964: 7.6"
2) 3/29/1984: 4.3"
3) 3/24-25/1990: 4.2"
4) 4/6-7/1990: 3.8"
5) 4/9/1982: 2.6"
6) 4/9/1996: 2.5"
7) 3/21/1964: 2.3"
8) 3/20/1990: 2.2"
9) 3/17/1965: 1.9"
10) 3/30/2003: 1.8"

Pictured Above: Taft and Roosevelt head to the Capitol on a snowy Inauguration day, March 4, 1909. Courtesy of Don Sutherland and the Library of Congress

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post