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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 01/23/2009

Forecast: My, It's Mild... But Only for a Day

By Camden Walker

Cold & wind return tomorrow; chance of snow next week

* Are Scientists Overselling Climate Models? | Later: Inauguration Contrails *


Today: Sunny. Kinda warm. Low-to-mid 50s. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Mid 30s. | Tomorrow: Clearing skies. Windy. Near 40, then falling. | Sunday: Mostly sunny. Low-to-mid 30s. | A Look Ahead


What a way to finish the work week! It's been over two weeks since we last felt 50 degrees (Jan. 5 to be exact). But we're likely to get there today, maybe with room to spare. And it'll probably feel warmer than the last time now that our bodies are acclimated to highs near freezing and below. Enjoy it while it lasts. Our reality check arrives tomorrow.

Temperatures: Current area temperatures. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Refresh page to update. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Friday): will be a surprise to our bodies. Highs probably reach the low-to-mid 50s with mostly sunny skies. A light breeze from the south could keep a slight chill in the air along the north banks of the chilly Potomac and around Reagan National Airport. Confidence: High

Tonight: Not too cold for a change. Evening temperatures should be in the 40s, only falling to lows in the mid 30s. Yup. We may actually stay above freezing, even outside the Beltway. You can thank the light evening breeze from the southwest and the blanketing effect of mostly cloudy skies for the slight break in heating costs. Confidence: High

Will the mild air stick around? Keep reading for the forecast into next week...

Tomorrow (Saturday): I recommend the "dress in layers" methodology. Morning temperatures could rise a bit, to near 40, as skies begin to clear. Then, cold air rushing in behind a cold front (which will have passed through early in the morning) will likely drop afternoon temperatures into the 30s and increase winds to around 20 mph (with higher gusts) from the northwest. Winter again, definitely! Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: During the evening, we'll still have a little bit of wind to contend with out of the northwest, so bundle up. Under mostly clear skies, overnight lows should dip to the upper teens to near 20 as winds diminish. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday: I expect a mostly sunny day, but cold with highs in the low-to-mid 30s. Yes, this may be below our average high for this time of year (low 40s), but at least it's not the 20s and teens we've seen some of the days this January. Agreed? Confidence: Medium

Sunday night: Partly cloudy with lows in the low 20s. Temperatures could dip into the upper teens outside the Beltway if skies don't cloud up too much. Confidence: Medium


Monday, we're looking at a mix of sun and clouds and highs in the low-to-mid 30s again. Yes, some of you might want it warmer. And some of you might want wintry precipitation. Looks like Monday won't satisfy either camp. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday could bring a chance of snow. Highs should be in the 30s -- seems like "par for the course" lately. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Camden Walker  | January 23, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Inauguration Weather: How Cold Was It?


10 degree rise in temperature the last hour.. has anyone else experienced this morning's quick warm-up??

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What's been our average high for the month? No kidding, it's been a cold January, but how cold and when was the last time we had a January this cold?

Posted by: MKoehl | January 23, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Good questions MKoehl -- I've also been thinking this must be the coldest January (so far at least) in a while. At Reagan National, the average temperature for the month to date (avg daily high + avg daily low divided by 2) is 31.4F, which is 3.5F below the long-term average. The last time January finished below the long-term average was 2003 and 2004, when the monthly averages were 31.1F and 30.6F, respectively.

Posted by: stillmand | January 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The CPC preliminary extended forecast is now "melting" next week's precipitation into more of that boring ol' plain ol' rain!

The problem: The Arctic high pressure is now progged to track to our SOUTH!!! Such a track will NEVER work for snow. You need the Arctic high to anchor itself to our north in order to get a good shot at accumulating snow around here.

Bob Ryan continues to be stuck with the 2008-09 Golden Snow Shovel!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 23, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

In addition, the sun is now beginning to rise over Barrow, AK, a sure harbinger of the eventual demise of meteorological winter.

Unfortunately, Sarah Palin cannot, as Governor of Alaska, command the sun to stand still; she's no Joshua.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 23, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

You can really see the river effect at Reagan National today. With a light breeze from the south, the airport observing station is getting chilled air off the cold river -- only 42 degrees at noon. Meanwhile, Dulles is at 47. Camp Springs is at 50, and BWI is at 49.

Posted by: stillmand | January 23, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately, Sarah Palin cannot, as Governor of Alaska, command the sun to stand still; she's no Joshua."

But she CAN see it from her house!

Posted by: lilymama | January 23, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

At least the cold has brought some stripers to the Morgantown Power Plant at the 301 bridge, caught 20 2day 8 of them between 20-33 lbs. Hopefully they will be in there the rest of the winter. Planning fishing there on Tue & Thur. next week.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 23, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

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