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Riding the February Roller Coaster

Steve Scolnik @ 5:10 PM

February is a month of tremendous temperature variability in Washington DC. There is a nearly 100 degree range between the all-time record monthly high and low. (The low of -15 is the all-time record low for Washington, and the monthly high is 84.) Today is one of only 2 days in February with record highs of 65 or lower. The other is the 7th, whose record of 64 has stood since 1887. We've now reached the point on the average temperature curve where it increases by 1 degree every 3 to 5 days, reaching a range of 33 to 50 by the end of this month. chart from NWS data, photo by Kevin Ambrose

Although the anomalous airport was hindered by its riverside location, many other places were within shouting distance of the daily record by mid afternoon today. Dulles was within 3 degrees of its 1991 record of 66. In central and southeastern Virginia, several locations reached 70.

The next weather system moving in by tomorrow has a lot of moisture and energy to draw on. Rain as heavy as 10" caused the collapse of the roof on a Bed Bath and Beyond store in St. Petersburg FL this morning. I would modify Camden's time line below for tomorrow based on the current model forecasts. It appears that as the low pressure area deepens and becomes "cut off" in western Pennsylvania and New York, the precipitation could wrap around it with the cold air moving in from the northwest. That would bring some snow as far east as the Blue Ridge into Saturday night, and some flurries could easily make it into our local region. Skies will be slow to clear as a very strong area of upper-level energy moves over the area through midnight tomorrow night.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Tonight's lows in the mid 40s under increasing cloudiness will be above the long-term average high for the date. Rain becoming showers and possibly some thunderstorms tomorrow will be accompanied by highs in the low to mid 50s, but becoming windy and colder tomorrow night.

It Could Happen Sunday

The Weather Channel's what-if disaster of the week continues this Sunday night at 9:30 with a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in San Francisco.

After a week of preemption by soccer, Tony and Justin are back on Weather Talk radio Sunday afternoon at 3:00 on 680-AM with Larry Cosgrove and a review of the winter outlook. Congratulations to Justin on the new addition to his family.

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