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The Week Ahead: Winter Loosens Its Grip

Jason Samenow @ 10:30 AM

After one of the coldest starts to February on record along with episodes of ice and snow, winter will relax this week. The result will be a return to mild temperatures and melting snow/ice cover.


Forecast Confidence: HighMostly sunny, chilly. The cold pattern will grip the region for one final day. After starting off in the teens, temperatures should warm into the upper 30s by late this afternoon. Overnight, it will be clear and not as cold with lows 23-28 (suburbs-city).

The Upcoming Week at a Glance

Coldest Day: Today, High 38.
Warmest Day: Sunday, High 55.
Dry Days: Today, Thursday through Saturday.
Precipitation Chances: Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, late Sunday.
The Week's Wild Cards: How much rain will fall overnight Tuesday? How warm will it get Sunday and will it rain late in the day?
Climatological Average High/Low: 48-50/30-32

Pictured: Partly cloudy skies at Great Falls yesterday morning. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighIncreasing clouds, milder. Chance of rain at night. As the cold air mass lifts away, much more seasonable air will take its place. Expect increasing high clouds and relatively mild temperatures, with highs 45-50. Overnight, a low will form along a weak cold front passing through the area, with a 50% chance of rain showers (possibly mixed with snow towards the mountains) with lows 33-37 (suburbs-city).


Forecast Confidence: HighGradual clearing, not cold. Behind Tuesday night's front, weak high pressure will gradually build into the area. The cold front won't pack much punch, with highs similar to the previous day -- around 45-50. Overnight, expect clear skies with lows 25-30 (suburbs-city)


Forecast Confidence:HighMostly sunny, mild. Weak southwesterly flow from high pressure to the south will result in a relatively nice day. Look for mostly sunny skies with highs in the low 50s. Overnight, a few clouds are likely as a clipper passes by to the north, with lows 28-33 (suburbs-city)


Forecast Confidence: MediumPartly sunny, a little cooler. Behind Thursday night's clipper, somewhat cooler air will move in as the flow becomes northerly. There should be more sun than clouds with highs in the mid 40s. Overnight, expect mostly clear skies, with lows 25-30 (suburbs-city).

The weekend

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighPartly sunny, turning warmer. As low pressure begins developing in the Great Plains, we'll remain under the influence of (cool) high pressure to the north on Saturday. Expect a partly to mostly sunny day, with highs near 50. By Sunday, a warm front will approach as the low heads towards the Great Lakes. Winds will likely shift to more southerly resulting a mild day with a slight chance of showers late as the warm front nears. Highs will be probably be in the 50s.

Yesterday's Snow Squalls

Yesterday's brief bursts of heavy snow and strong winds were caused by an energetic wave in the atmosphere crashing down on us. The instability it generated helped spawn the intense snow squalls which resulted in brief bursts of heavy snow (reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile at times), gusty winds and falling temperatures (5-8 degrees in minutes). The dynamics involved were not unlike those associated with a spring thunderstorm.

Accumulations ranged from a dusting to half an inch -- although there were unconfirmed reports of over an inch around Silver Spring. Snowfall rates were as high as 3" an hour but were not sustained more than 10 minutes or so in most spots. See this video of the snow squalls in McLean shot by visitor Ned Burchfiel.

Pictured: Heavy snow falls on cars on 16th street (about 150ft away) from Park Rd in Mt Pleasant in Washington, DC early yesterday evening. By photographer Ian Livingston.

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