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Warmth, Wilma and Winter

Matt Ross @ 12:00 AM


Today will start out partly cloudy as a dry cold front moves through the area. However, there will be little in the way of cold air behind the front. Skies will clear in the afternoon as highs hit the mid and upper 70s. Expect very gusty, downsloping westerly winds to usher in the warm afternoon air. Wednesday should continue the warm daytime temps of about 5 to 10 degrees above normal.


At press time, Wilma is a strong Tropical Storm and should become a Hurricane sometime today if not one already. In the still warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, Wilma should have little in the way of shear and as such is likely to reach Category 3 status over the next several days. Effects on the resort areas of the Yucatan Peninsula are possible during this time. It is sometime over the weekend when Wilma will potentially affect the west coast of Florida. As potential US landfall is still several days away, stay tuned for updates on Wilma's path, and then her possible effects on our weather next week.

Cold February and Big Snow Years

As we get close to our winter outlook release date, I figured I would add another teaser of sorts, or at least something to whet your appetite. If there is one commonality among the snowiest winters at National Airport(DCA), it is the lack of a warm February. Our average February temperature over the 64 measuring seasons at DCA is 38.3 degrees. There have been 19 winters in which February averaged over 40 degrees in that period, or what I would consider somewhat to well above average. Average snowfall for these winter seasons was 9.5" or almost 7" below our DCA average of 16.2". In fact, only one of these 19 winters surpassed the 16.2" average. 1953-54 saw 18", or slightly above the average despite an average February temperature of 43.5 degrees, or well above average. However the other 18 warm February winters saw below average snowfall. So, in stark contradiction, of the 20 winters that saw 20" of snow during this time period, not a single one saw a February above 40 degrees. Of the 11 that saw 25" of snow only one even saw a February temperature above the normal of 38.3. February 1983, despite its huge storm, saw an average temperature of 38.7 degrees or just a nod above normal. The average February temperature for these 11 big snow years was 35.4 degrees or about 3 degrees below average. The conclusion should be quite clear. If we hope to achieve well above average snow totals, February cannot be warm.

Image Courtesy of Accuweather

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