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10-Day Outlook: The Last Week of Winter?

Josh Larson @ 12:00 AM

Today's Forecast

As the team has alluded to for several days now, today's forecast still remains a challenging one, as an area of low pressure will travel almost directly overhead today and a warm front will also set up shop over the DC metro area.

  • The morning will feature overcast skies and cool temperatures in the mid to upper 30s as showers overspread the area. There is a slight (less than 30%) chance that precipitation may begin as a brief period of light freezing rain in some locations north of a line extending southwest to northeast from Petersburg, WV to Winchester, VA to Westminster, MD to Havre de Grace,MD).
  • As the day wears on, scattered showers will linger, with winds increasing to 10-20mph and breezy.
  • By early afternoon, we're likely to see a wide range in temperatures: low 40s over the aforementioned areas in northern and northeastern Maryland; 45-50 across the immediate metro area; 50-55 across central Virginia. Occasional showers will persist.
  • By mid to late afternoon, it will become quite breezy, with showers beginning to taper off. Temperatures will fall through the late afternoon, with all precipitation having exited the area by about 6pm.

Pattern Overview

As alluded to in last week's post, the atmospheric conditions most impacting the weather over our region over the next week will be the continued negative, but weakening, NAO pattern. Over the next 7 days, we will hold onto some semblance of positive height anomalies over Greenland -- "blocking" -- and negative height anomalies over the Northeast. More specifically, the jet-stream over the US this week will feature a strong trough over the West Coast, ridging over the central US, and a trough over the Northeast US.

As a result of this atmospheric setup, we will consistently hold on to temperatures some 5-10 degrees below normal for about the next week. Thereafter, it appears that a much milder pattern -- perhaps much milder than average? -- will develop by mid month. Is it then one more week of winter and then on to spring?

Pictured above: Troughs over both coasts with a ridge over the central US, as depicted at the 300mb level by the GFS model; courtesy

The next 5 days (Mar 2-6)

Forecast highs/lows: 47/27 (normal = 52/34)
Forecast precip: near normal

After today's cloudy, wet weather, Friday's conditions will be significantly improved, though cooler, as the departing area of low pressure pulls in colder air from the north as it moves off the Eastern Seaboard. Expect mostly sunny and blustery conditions, with highs in the low 40s and cold overnight lows from the upper teens to mid 20s. Saturday and Sunday feature pleasant, but chilly conditions, with highs in the mid 40s on Saturday and the upper 40s on Sunday; overnight lows will be in the 20s. Monday is a tough call, as an area of low pressure will likely be approaching from the west. At this point, I expect a mostly cloudy day with a slight chance of a little light snow or flurries; chilly highs will be near 40, with lows in the mid 20s.

The following 5 days (Mar 7-11)

Forecast highs/lows: 54/37 (normal = 54/35)
Forecast precip: near normal

It's likely that during the following five days we'll see temperatures go from still below-normal levels (on Tuesday and Wednesday) to possibly above-normal levels by the weekend. Tuesday, however, will still feel like winter, with partly sunny skies, a slight chance for showers of rain or wet snow, and highs in the low to mid 40s. Wednesday should feature fair, dry weather, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the low 30s. By Thursday, however, much milder weather should push in from the south and west, pushing high temperatures well into the 50s. Friday and Saturday appear dry from this far vantage point, with a good chance of temperatures eclipsing the 60 degree mark.

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Mon-Tue, March 6-7
Probability: 20%
Potential Impact:

Commentary: In what may very well be the last chance for accumulating snow of the 2005-2006 winter season, models still hint at the potential for an area of low pressure to approach from the west or northwest, which may or may not develop a secondary coastal low. Light snow is possible during this period, but no modeling yet suggests a major snowfall for our area...

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