InaugurationCast: Let the Forecasts Begin
Testing the limits of long-range predictions
What's better than one Inauguration forecast? How 'bout two? Jan. 2-13, 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.
|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...
|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 Januray 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 atmosphereic index called the NAO may be in the positive range, after rising from negative toward neutral several days earlier.
The Bottom Line...
toweringqs: 500 mb climo depicts ridge-W...trof-E signature...favorable for 'clipper' systems and / or intrusions of migratory arctic air masses. Closest analog year with this flow regime...as seen on 'Daily Wx Map' archives...is '05.
Event probabilities based on inaugurations past suggest 67% chance for a cloudy sky with noon temp L-M30s.
Chance of precipitation: 10%.
Chance of snow: 5%.
Wind: NW 10.
WEATHER OF INAUGURATIONS PAST
Roosevelt, 1937: Noon Temp: 33F. Cold with heavy rainy. Between 11 am and 1 pm, 0.69 inches of rain fell. Some sleet and freezing rain fell in the morning.
-National Weather Service
Capital Weather Gang
| January 2, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Inauguration, Inauguration Forecasts | Tags: dc weather inauguration, inaugural weather, inauguration forecast, inauguration weather, inauguration weather forecast, weather inauguration
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