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Cold Air on the Doorstep

Dan Stillman @ 9:50 AM

Like yesterday, we'll see near-normal temperatures today with highs near 40. Then the bottom drops out as cold air filters in tomorrow and tightens its grip on Friday. Temperatures return to more seasonal readings for the weekend, but another cold shot is close behind.


Forecast Confidence: HighSeasonal. Flurries or a snow shower are possible under overcast skies through midday, especially west and southwest of town. Then, partly cloudy during the afternoon with highs near 40. Tonight, partly cloudy with a chance of flurries, especially north of town, lows 25-30.


Forecast Confidence: HighCold air rushes in. Becoming breezy as a cold front ushers in chilly, dry air. Don't be surprised by flurries and a snow shower or two. Otherwise, partly to mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 30s around noontime, then steady or falling temperatures in the afternoon. Overnight, windy and frigid with a chance of a flurry or snow shower early, then clearing skies. Lows in the mid teens and wind chills in the single digits.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighReally cold. Partly to mostly sunny skies will be of little help to temperatures, which probably won't make it past the mid 20s for highs -- that's about 15 degrees below normal. The only good news is that after a blustery start to the day, winds should diminish by afternoon. Overnight, partly cloudy with light winds and lows in the teens.

The Weekend

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighModerating temperatures. The outlook for Saturday is partly to mostly sunny and not as cold, highs in the low 40s. Saturday night, partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of a rain or snow shower as a cold front comes through (not as cold as the last one) and lows dip to near 30. Sunday, chance of a morning flurry, then partly sunny and breezy, highs near 40.

Winter Alive and Well

It took forever to get here, but winter has quickly gone from nonexistent to full swing. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) highlights the upcoming winter conditions that may impact our area:
  • Much below normal temperatures are forecast for the Middle Atlantic States and New England Jan 26 [Friday].
  • Several extensive Arctic outbreaks are forecast to move from the northern Plains southward and eastward over much of the central and eastern part of the Nation Jan 27 through Feb 6.
  • A storm is likely to produce a dangerous wintry mix of precipitation across interior sections of the Gulf and South Atlantic States, possibly extending northward as heavy snow from the mid-Atlantic States to New England Jan 31 - Feb 3.
Please note this is CPC's outlook (not's) and while there are strong indicators it will be cold in the outlook period, forecasting the development of a specific storm is risky business with a low likelihood of being correct.

One Fine Inch

Dusting of snow in Mt. PleasantThis was a good inch. To be exact, the official Sunday total at Reagan National was 1.2 inches of snow. Some places got a little more, some a little less.

Normally, a one-inch storm is welcomed by snow lovers with moans and groans, seen as nothing more than a cruel tease. Not this time. Around town and on's comment board, you could sense this was one satisfying inch. Maybe low expectations had something to do with it -- after a snowless and mostly mild December and first 20 days of January, even an inch was enough to quench the snow lover's thirst.

Another factor was probably the generally accurate forecasting. All too often, one inch is the end result of an underperforming storm, one that was initially predicted to be more significant. This time, everyone pretty much got what they expected.

Temperature may have played a role as well. With the mercury several degrees below freezing throughout the storm, the snow stuck early and often, sending cars skidding on roads that, in some jurisdictions, were not treated early enough. It's not that the snow lover enjoys seeing people get into accidents, but rather it's the excitement of seeing that Mother Nature can still wreak havoc despite the tools and technology of modern society.

For one day, one inch of snow was enough to satisfy a month-and-a-half's worth of frustration. Somehow I get the feeling that next time, one inch won't be as well received.

Pictured: Snow begins to accumulate Sunday in Mt. Pleasant, by photographer Ian Livingston.

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