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Near Record Warm January Comes to a Close

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM


Look for rain and some fog this morning, tapering to showers by early afternoon. Skies will clear late in the day and winds will be very gusty with temperatures holding steady in the low to mid 40s as a coastal storm moves well North and East of the area. After sunset, temps will fall into the 30s quickly, and then below freezing everywhere overnight. Like a broken record, the cold will not hold, and temps will rebound to above normal on Wednesday through the end of the week. Look for a return to seasonable temps this weekend.

Sun Penetrates the Fog Monday Morning in Fairfax County, Courtesy of Photographer Kevin Ambrose

January Wrap-up and a Peek at February

After today, January will finish right around 43F or about 8 degrees above normal. It is certain to be a top 5 warm January of all time at National Airport(DCA), and has a chance to be number 2 all time behind 1950(48.0). Not only will January beat this past December by almost 7 degrees, it will also finish near or ahead of 8 March averages at DCA, including finishing very close to March of 2005(43.1). As far as snow, this January will tie 5 others at DCA with just a trace of snow. With 4.8" falling all early in the season(we haven't seen measurable snow in 46 days), we are well behind our normal pace for snow, about 8.5" through January. Of course, this can easily be erased with one decent storm. Additionally interesting about our very warm January was that we reached 60 degrees 9 times, while only dipping below freezing 7 times, even though we average a low below freezing for every day of the month. Despite being an unapologetic snowlover, I still managed to enjoy the warmth on occasion. Living in DC, sometimes you just have to accept reality, even when for snowlovers, reality bites.

In our Winter Outlook issued back in October, we called for January to be the warmest month of the winter at +1.5F above normal. While we fell well below actuality, which will be close to 8 degrees above normal, we did state, "If any month is a good candidate for much above average temperatures, it would be January". Our "miss" is tempered by the fact that almost nobody foresaw the blowtorch conditions in January, and that it is unrealistic to go much above +3 to +4 or below -3 to -4 in a long range outlook put out in the Fall. Overall, I would grade us a B-/C+ for January based on recognition that it had the possibility to be very warm, that we called for it to be our warmest month, and that we correctly predicted it to be above average, albeit underestimating it by a mile. There is no reason to abandon ship heading into February. There continues to be growing indication of a pattern change in the next week to 10 days. What effect this has on our sensible weather is uncertain. Last week I was on the fence about winter returning. I have increasing confidence that over a 4-6 week period starting next week, we will see multiple cold shots and several snow events before another spring pattern emerges. Stay tuned.

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Snow: Never
Probability: 0%
Potential Impact: None
Commentary: Actually, a storm this weekend that cuts to our West may be the impetus for a resultant pattern change and increasing snow chances starting mid to late next week. But until we see tangible potential in the short term, I am throwing the crystal ball away. Hopefully(for snowlovers, of course!), I can take it out of the trash next week.

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