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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/ 3/2009

InaugurationCast: Dueling Predictions

By Jason Samenow

What's better than one Inauguration forecast? How 'bout two? Through January 13, CWG's chief and lead meteorologists -- Jason Samenow and Dan Stillman, respectively -- will provide dueling forecasts for Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. Starting Jan. 14, we'll shift to a single CWG team forecast, in hopes of more confidently honing in on the forecast details. Check back daily for our latest thinking, a look at past inaugural weather, and a sampling of what you, our readers, are predicting.

Keep reading for Jason and Dan's initial predictions, a reader prediction, and some inauguration weather history...


(No changes from yesterday)

Forecasting 18-days out is a bit of a crap shoot, but you can look at some of the large scale patterns and consider how they might evolve to help in developing a forecast. You can also review past years that featured similar weather patterns and examine what the weather was like around January 20th in those years. So I did all of that and drew the following conclusions:

*Chances are good there will be ridge of high pressure over the West coast of the U.S. that will cause most of our weather to come from Canada where it is cold.

*There probably won't be a strong blocking pattern over the Atlantic to hold cold air in place for long periods of time.

*There may be a ridge of high pressure off the Southeast coast that tries to steer some mild air towards our area.

Taking these factors together, I don't think it will be unusually cold or warm. I do think there will be a better than average chance of storminess either just before or sometime during Inauguration Day and precipitation could come in several types.

The Bottom Line...
* Morning low: 28-33
* Swearing In (noon): 32-37
* Daytime high: 36-41
* Weather: Cloudy
* Confidence: Low

(No changes from yesterday)

Let me start by saying how much I cringe at the misleading implication of forecasts beyond a week that us meteorologists can reliably predict a specific day's weather that far in advance. So you can only imagine how I feel about trying to forecast more than two weeks in advance. That said, I'm game for throwing my forecast out there with the rest of them, as long as we understand this is mostly just for fun until we get a lot closer to the event.

My forecast is based on several pieces of data I studied, a look at the weather in Januarys past, and a bit of gut instinct. With the Climate Prediction Center forecasting below-normal temperatures Jan. 9-15, I'm thinking that by the 20th we'll have veered in the other direction -- above normal. But I also don't see a January thaw happening that late in the month, so I won't go too much above normal.

As for precipitation, I'll start the bidding at a 30% chance of rain, with the threat of frozen precipitation staying north and west of D.C. I'm not gonna call for a big winter storm, mostly based on my hunch that an atmospheric index called the NAO may be in the positive range, after rising from negative toward neutral several days earlier.

The Bottom Line...
* Morning low: 31-36
* Swearing In (noon): 39-44
* Daytime high: 46-51
* Weather: 30% chance of rain.
* Confidence: Low


grobinette: I think snow and lots of it is the order of the day.

Note: If you want your Inauguration forecast featured here in one of the coming days, summarize your prediction in a comment below.


Roosevelt, 1941: Noon Temp: 29F. Sunny, but cold with a brisk wind. Wind chill 10F. - National Weather Service

By Jason Samenow  | January 3, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Inauguration, Inauguration Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Unsettled Weather Returns


well channel 7's Steve Rudin put some hope in for tuesday by saying snow/sleet/fr tues/tues night. and even went as far by saying an advisory or watch may be issued late tonight or tomorrow. The first wsw is always exciting! Maybe we'll get lucky!

It seems to me that and ice storm may be brewing for parts of the area (outside the beltway) I think everybody should be paying attention to this b/c i have seen many of storms that look to be rain, turn out to be ice so time will tell. I think tonights 00z run will give us a good idea of what will happen.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 3, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Rain, turning to freezing rain, and then snow. Driving will be trecherous as snow will accumulate on top of 3/8ths of an inch of ice on major roadways. Freezing rain collecting on power lines is expected to cause widespread electrical outages throughout the regions. Temperatures will drop into the low teens after nightfall and winds from the northwest will cause deadly wind chills. Make progress every day.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 4, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

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