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Fast Forward/Rewind

Steve Scolnik @ 4:50 PM

It's a fine March day here in the Washington DC metro area. After a wind shift in late morning to northwest cleared out the lingering haze and mist, temperatures climbed smartly to the low 50s by noon. Early afternoon readings were typical of the long-term average highs for the second week in March. It's the 14th day since we last had below normal temperatures 3 days before Christmas, and it's the 11th day without freezing temperatures. As Josh indicated earlier, the next cold shot will be brief as temperatures rebound again by late in the weekend.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Skies will be mostly cloudy tonight with lows around 36. Tomorrow should see a return to more seasonable temperatures in the low 40s with mostly cloudy skies.

Keep on Keepin' On

Zeta was declared tropically depressed at 4am, but it revived to minimum tropical storm strength of 40 mph at 10am, where it remains at 4pm.

Energy Watch

The warm weather will certainly be helpful for heating bills. Already down 16% for the week so far, natural gas prices were down as much as 7% this morning. Inventories increased slightly at a time when they would normally be decreasing. Prices at $9.50 per 1000 cubic feet are now back down to near the pre-Katrina level and 40% below the December peak, even though Gulf production is still not back to full capacity. Don't expect to see any savings on your January bill, however, since the "purchased gas charge" for this month was already set at a rate 17% higher than December's.

Gas meter from

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