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Mild End to December

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM

Our mild pattern will continue this week. Expect windy conditions but above average temps over the next few days as we head toward 2007.


Forecast Confidence: HighWindy, Mild. Today will be partly to mostly cloudy and quite windy in the wake of the departing coastal storm. There is a 20% chance of a passing shower. Afternoon highs will be about 10 degrees above average at 55 degrees, with wind gusts of 25-30 mph.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Forecast Confidence: HighBreezy, Cooler. Tonight will be partly cloudy and crisp. Overnight lows will dip to 30-35 degrees. Wednesday will be partly sunny, breezy and cool. Afternoon highs will be slightly above average in the mid to upper 40s. See Jason's forecast for the rest of the week and weekend.

The dearth of snow in the east is quite evident on this map. Image courtesy of Accuweather.

December Notes

I will do a full recap when the month ends, but it is pretty certain that we will finish well above normal and our prediction of normal, leaning slightly above in our winter outlook will miss. Currently we are running over 4 degrees above normal for the month. There is a very good chance that we will finish December with 22 straight days of above average temps. These warm Decembers aren't uncommon in the last 30 years, and one shouldn't read too much into the current pattern as far as the rest of winter.

About 90% of our average snowfall occurs in January, February and March. Although the signs for a pattern change aren't evident in the next couple weeks, I am still confident that we will see a change to much colder and eventually snowier conditions as we head toward mid January. This is quite common in moderate El Nino events such as this one. Other similar years to this one that saw a later developing winter include 1957-58, 1965-66 and 1986-87. All 3 winters featured blockbuster snowstorms in late January through Mid February, despite very long stretches of dry and mild conditions in December through mid January.

I think for snow lovers we have been slightly spoiled by cold and snowy Decembers, 3 out of the last 4 years. Although the duration of the warmth has been noteworthy, the nature of the pattern this winter is not unusual in DC. I believe patience will be rewarded this year for snow lovers. This is not another near snowless winter like 1997-98 or 2001-02. I will recap December next week with honest and critical grading of our outlook and will peek ahead toward January.

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