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10-Day Outlook: Hide and Seek with Winter

Josh Larson @ 9:00 AM

Today's Forecast

Today will again feel like winter. Expect breezy conditions (though not quite as windy as yesterday), with high temperatures struggling to eclipse the 40 degree mark in most locations, under partly to mostly sunny skies. Bundle up, as wind chills will remain in the 20s for much of the day. Tonight, expect clear skies and the coldest temperature readings since December: lows will range from the mid teens across the cooler suburbs to the low to mid 20s downtown.

Pattern Overview

Our "return to winter" is, admittedly, taking longer than I expected but it is still in the cards. Not just one model, but many of the forecast tools predict that by February 5, we have a high probability of below normal temperatures over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast; see also, CPC's 8-14 temperature outlook.

The Climate Prediction Center's Super-Ensemble (see image at right), which has multiple model members, predicts that a moderate to strong trough will return to eastern Canada/the Northeast US by the first week of February, and allow for much colder air for our region.

Thus, our return to below-normal temperatures will be about 5 days later than I predicted in last week's outlook, but it is still on the way! Until then, for the next five days we'll see temperatures average about 5-9 degrees above average; for the following five days we'll see temperatures average near-, to just a couple degrees above, normal. Thereafter, I seesignificant potential for cold.

The next 5 days (Jan 26-30)

Forecast highs/lows: 51/33 (normal = 43/27)
Forecast precip: Near normal

As has been the case for much of January, our cold shot -- which brought flakes and blustery winds to the area yesterday, and will make for another wintry day today -- will be quite short-lived. After tomorrow's highs in the low 40s and very cold overnight lows in the teens and 20s, temperatures will moderate significantly thereafter: Friday will feature partly to mostly sunny skies with temperatures near 50/32 in most spots. Saturday will feature a blend of clouds and sun with downright balmy temperatures near 58/36. Sunday will feature mostly cloudy skies with showers possible during the second half of the day and likely continuing overnight; expect temperatures near 51/39 in most spots. For Monday, expect clouds and stray showers during the first half of the day, with clearly likely during the second half; expect temperatures near 52/34.

The following 5 days (Jan 31 - Feb 4)

Forecast highs/lows: 46/31 (Normal = 44/28)
Forecast precip: Near normal

A cold front will push through the region late Monday into Tuesday, bringing much cooler temperatures once again after the weekend's warmth. Expect blustery conditions on Tuesday with widely scattered snow showers (much like yesterday) and highs struggling to rise above 40. Not quite as cold on Wednesday, with partly sunny skies and highs likely in the mid 40s. The period next Thursday through Saturday looks to feature relatively fair weather, with high temperatures probably in the mid 40s and overnight lows in the 20s to 30s. It looks increasingly likely that much colder air will arrive next weekend, with very early indications of a East Coast storm possible thereafter.

For Snow Lovers out there...

Those winter weather lovers who, like me, are somewhere between partially and completely despairing over, and disparaging, January's weather, let me make one "hopeful" observation: That is, DCA has recorded 4.8" of snow in December and trace in January, for a total of 4.8". However, the average amount to fall in December (1.5") and, through this point in January is 5", for a total of 6.5". Thus, the 4.8" that we've seen thus far is still nearly 75% of normal snowfall (6.5") which would be expected by this time in the winter. In addition, climatologically, 8.3" of snow falls in the rest of the winter (post Jan 26), which is approximately 30% more than what should have fallen prior to January 25.

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