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A Windy Reminder of Winter

Dan Stillman @ 1:10 AM

In most any other January, today's high winds and cold blast of air would often bring an arctic chill and the possibility of wintry excitement. This, however, is the underwhelming winter of 2006. And so it is that near-normal temperatures and a chance of a few snow showers is the closest we can get to winter today.


Today: Whipping winds from the northwest will be sustained at 20-30 mph, with some gusts up to 50 mph. Temperatures steady around 40 and wind chills near 30. A stray snow flurry or snow shower is not out of the question. Tonight and Tomorrow: Continued windy and cold with lows tonight in the 20s and highs tomorrow in the low 40s.

Friday and The Weekend: The cold and wind are history. Warming up to around 50 on Friday and into the mid-to-upper 50s on Saturday. Looks like we'll approach 50 again on Sunday, but a juicy low-pressure area approaching from the west could bring us rain.

Pictured: The Washington Monument last night, as a line of thunderstorms passed through the area. By Kevin Ambrose.

Surprise Thunderstorms

I didn't have time to confirm this myself, but according to Bob Ryan on last night's Channel 4 news at 11 o'clock, thunderstorms occur in January only once every five years. They are rare this time of year because their development requires relatively warm air to mix with cooler air. Not a problem this winter -- relatively warm air has been in ample supply. And when it was stirred up by a cold front that barreled through the area last night -- poof! -- we had ourselves a quick-moving line of January thunderstorms that were, admittedly, not in our forecast.

Storm totals from last night were .02 inches at Reagan National, .02 inches at Dulles, and .07 inches at BWI. A quick scan of unofficial reporting stations across the metro area revealed totals ranging from zero to .10 inches.

Radar image of last night's thunderstorms is courtesy the National Weather Service.

Summer Bummer?

As if the lack of snow days this winter isn't bad enough, D.C. students may have to start school while summer is in full swing. School administrators are considering what I consider to be a ridiculous idea -- starting the next school year on Aug. 14. Not surprisingly, parents are complaining that such a schedule would interfere with summer camp, vacations and other activities.

Stealing students' summers is becoming a trend around the country according to this recent Washington Post story. As noted in the story, I think columnist Dave Barry puts it best when he says, "Here's a multiple-choice test: When should the school year start? A. Sometime around Sept. 1, when most of the United States of America has started school for many decades. B. On Aug. 8 -- also known as "smack dab in the middle of summer'' -- when the average Florida classroom is roughly the same temperature as a pizza oven."

It Can Only Get Better From Here

For those of you depressed by winter's short days and long nights, by the lack of snow potential in the foreseeable future, or by life in general -- cheer up! According to a British psychologist, yesterday was the most depressing day of the year. In other words, there's nowhere to go but up.

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