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Mild Pattern in Place

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM

Boring, seasonably warm weather is the story for the next several days. We will experience conditions 5-10 degrees above normal, more like mid November or even late March.


Forecast Confidence: HighPartly Cloudy, Mild. Today will be partly cloudy with a light easterly breeze. Afternoon highs will be in the mid 50s after a cool morning start in the low to mid 30s for most folks.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Forecast Confidence: HighCloudy, Light Rain. Tonight will be partly to mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers late as lows only sink to around 40 degrees. Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of rain during the morning. Showers will diminish by afternoon with highs in the low to mid 50s. See Dan's forecast for the rest of the week and weekend.

Image courtesy of Accuweather

December Climo

Of the three classic winter months, December has the most temperature variability from start to finish in the means. The change from beginning to end is almost the same as March, but December usually lacks the stormy early spring pattern that typically makes March a more interesting month weather wise. So far this December is true to its usual form, if not a bit more boring in the DC area than normal. While we have seen some significant temperature oscillations and a pretty formidable cold snap at the end of last week, the weather has been dry and stormless in the mid Atlantic.

Currently December is running about 2 degrees below normal. However with mild conditions all week, we should be slightly above normal by the end of the weekend. In our 2006-07 Winter Outlook we called for December to be our warmest winter month of the three with normal temps, leaning slightly above. I still think we have a good chance of verifying. This is not only because of the expected pattern evolution, but also because of climatology.

Our warmest El Nino Decembers, such as 1994 and 1982, had very warm starts as opposed to this cold one. Typically, big departures in either direction are much more common in the transition period at the beginning of the month, than the less variable end. This is more true for warm regimes which are harder to come by in a sustained manner after mid month. I think part of it is the typical pattern trends of El Nino winters, and partly because as we head toward the Winter Solstice, the sun angle doesn't allow extreme positive departures to be as common or long lasting as negative ones. As a result, while our warmest Decembers on record are only 6 degrees above normal, there are a bunch of December's including 2 more recent ones(1989: -11.6, 2000: -7.7), that were more than 6 degrees below normal. So what is my point?

While a very warm day or 2 is possible, especially early next week, be skeptical of any forecasts that get us too warm for too long after mid month.

While any real snow threat is unlikely for 10 days or more from now, I am optimistic that we will at least have something to talk about next week. Hopefully the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball will make a comeback.

Interview With Brian van de Graaff

Today at approximately 3 p.m., look for a exclusive interview with WJLA's (ABC7) morning meteorologist Brian van de Graaff.

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