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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/22/2009

Forecast: Mild(er) Over The Next 72 Hours

By Josh Larson

Turning blustery & quite cold again by Sunday


Today: Mostly sunny. Low 40s. | Tonight: Not nearly as cold. Near 30. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny; much milder. Near 50. | Tomorrow Night: Mostly cloudy. Mid-30s. | A Look Ahead


Today marks the day we finally come out of the deep freeze; temperatures 10 degrees warmer than yesterday's highs will finally be considered "normal" for this time of year. Increasing southwesterly flow Friday will pop temperatures to above normal levels for the first time in nearly two weeks -- do you even remember what 50 feels like? But don't get used to it, as a cold front will swing through the area early Saturday dropping temperatures back to below normal levels again by Sunday into the start of next week.

Today (Thursday): After a decidedly chilly start in the low 20s, abundant sunshine, under high pressure, will finally push temperatures back to normal levels. I'm thinking afternoon highs in the low 40s, but some spots may make it into the mid 40s. Confidence: High

Tonight: A mostly clear night will produce starry skies, but the air mass won't be nearly as cold as in days' past so temperatures will bottom out at much less harsh levels: upper 20s in the coolest spots to the low 30s downtown. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the beginning of next week.

Tomorrow (Friday): A more southerly flow along with mostly sunny skies will push temperatures to the highest levels we've seen since the start of the year, with highs generally around 50. I wouldn't be shocked if a few (especially southern) locations hit 55. Clouds may roll in during the second half of the day. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Mostly cloudy skies -- acting as a blanket over the region -- will keep temperatures above freezing for the first time in quite a while; quite a far cry from the single digits we saw only a few days ago. Most areas will drop to the mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High


I warned you not to get used to this milder weather. A cold front will pass through the region during the early morning hours Saturday. Behind it, we can expect a blend of puffy cumulus clouds and sun with high temperatures back to the low 40s across the area. It will also be noticeably colder Saturday night, with lows dropping to near 20 in the outlying suburbs to the mid 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Time to put back on the heavy coats, scarves, gloves, etc. on Sunday since a northwesterly flow will prevent temperatures from making it much above the freezing mark. Breezy conditions will probably produce wind chills in the 20s despite a good deal of sunshine. Partly cloudy and cold Sunday night, with lows mostly in the low 20s. Confidence: Medium

The outlook for Monday is less certain due to some model disagreement. The atmospheric pattern suggests that a storm system may approach from the south and west late in the day into Tuesday. I'll call for mostly cloudy skies with highs in the low to mid 30s and a very slight chance of some form of frozen precipitation late in the day. However, it's possible precipitation will hold off until Tuesday or Wednesday, or even miss us all together. We'll keep an eye on it. Confidence: Low

By Josh Larson  | January 22, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: A Welcome Warming to Begin
Next: Are Scientists Overselling Climate Models?


C'mon, snow on Tues/Wed!

Posted by: MKoehl | January 22, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

*doing a quiet, but vigorous snow dance*

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 22, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

So far the wintry weather does not have great chance of materializing next week. Hope you don't mind me keeping expectations realistic?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: manassasmissy | January 22, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Next week did look interesting back on Tuesday of this week. Now the GFS shows a GLC late next week with rain then cold behind it. It also showed a coastal storm for groundhog day lol. Probably won't happen but its there. I know its still a little early but should we really be considering a snowless winter for our area??

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 22, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Next Wednesday still looks interesting, but the low has retreated from yesterday's position near Hickory, NC to a new position to the south, near Anderson, SC or Greenville, SC. Next Thursday, one of the warm fronts sets up well to our N, and the cold high north of us mysteriously "disappears"; this setup threatens us with the much-dreaded "plain ol' rain", though it should start Wednesday with something of more interest.

What we really need is a huge, persistent Arctic high centered over Montreal and Quebec City, and an equally persistent stationary boundary with small to intense shortwaves training along it roughly from ca. New Orleans to ca. Cape Hatteras. That way we get ample supplies of subfreezing air feeding in from the north and east, Atlantic moisture overrunning from the southeast, and Gulf moisture overrunning from the southwest, all over an extended term. [I bet this or a similar setup is what produced the Washington & Jefferson snowstorm of Jan. 28, 1772!]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 22, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I do believe that we will get at least one or two significant snow events before the end of the winter. My guess is that this will be in mid-late February and another in March. I just can't believe that we will go snowless this winter.

On a seems so mild with temps in the high 30's to low 40's!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 22, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"So far the wintry weather does not have great chance of materializing next week. Hope you don't mind me keeping expectations realistic?"

Not at all. After getting burned by Accuweather (Accuhype) so many times, by snow forecasts that fizzled out, I decided I will check with you guys first before I get too excited. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: fishman1 | January 22, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Have we ever had a winter where we didn't get any snow ? Just curious....

Posted by: photojenn | January 22, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse


Yes-- in the winters of 1972-1973 and in 1997-1998 just a trace fell at Reagan National Airport.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Not quite true:
Feb. 1973 and Dec. 1997 each had 0.1".
Besides '72-'73, only 3 other winters have had just a trace through Jan.:
The last 2 had 28.6" and 24.3", respectively, in Feb. and March.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | January 23, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

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