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Fanning the Flame

Jason Samenow @ 12:11 AM

FIRE. FIRE. (Settle down Beavis.) Not wet, not white but windy conditions top weather headlines this weekend. Indeed, the strong winds coupled with unusually dry conditions, have prompted officials at the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a Fire Weather Watch. I quote the NWS: "FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR SMALL FIRES TO GET OUT OF CONTROL EASILY AND THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR." Keep the flames to a minimum.

Weekend Forecast

Strong high pressure building southeastward in central Canada coupled with a large area of low pressure over the Canadian Maritimes will direct strong northwesterly flow over the area all weekend. What does this mean for us? Cooler than average temperatures and gusty winds in spite of plentiful sunshine.

Today, winds will be sustained at 20-30mph with high temperatures reaching 45-49. The March sun will feel nice during momentary lulls in the wind, but when you're standing in the shade and/or the wind blows, it will feel downright cold and wintry. Overnight, temperatures drop off into mid to upper 20s and windy conditions persist -- so bundle up this evening.

Tomorrow, the winds will relax a bit and temperature also moderate some, so it will feel a little nicer but still brisk. Expect mostly sunny skies with high temperatures from 48-52 and winds from 15-25mph.

Pictured: Brilliant blue skies at Great Falls on the Potomac yesterday. By Photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Lack of Snow Cover

While National Airport has received over 13" of snow this season, the number of days with snow cover has been limited. Here are the snow cover (and total snowfall) stats for the past five years (I'm stealing the snow cover info from a post I read at

Winter 05/06 - 6 days (13.3")
Winter 04/05 - 11 days (12.5")
Winter 03/04 - 15 days (12.4")
Winter 02/03 - 29 days (40.4")
Winter 01/02 - 1 day (3.2")

So in spite of more snow this winter compared to the past two, we've had about half as many days with snow on the ground. This is just one more observation for DC snow lovers to be depressed about this season.

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball
Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Monday night, March 6
Probability: 25%
Potential Impact:
Commentary: A weak area of low pressure will move through the region on Monday, bringing some light rain or a mix of light rain and snow. The low looks to strengthen offshore Monday night, but probably too far offshore to throw back a lot of moisture. However, the trailing upper level low may support a period of snow overnight, squeezing out any lingering moisture--but the snowfall potential from this feature is limited.

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