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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 03/ 6/2009

Forecast: Warm, Warmer, Then Warmer Still

By Camden Walker

60s & 70s over the next few days

* Bob Ryan on Climate Change | Wx Checker Grades Snow Forecast *


Today: Mostly cloudy to partly sunny. Breezy. Low 60s. | Tonight: Partly cloudy, breezy. Mid-to-upper 40s. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny. Mild. Around 70. | Sunday: Partly cloudy. Milder! Mid-70s. | A Look Ahead


My goodness has the weather taken quite a turn. From snow and temperatures near 20 degrees below average early in the week, the pendulum is now swinging in the other direction. Expect highs about 20 degrees above average this weekend. Short of a stray sprinkle or brief shower, I think we're looking at a generally dry weekend. So, get ready to get out and enjoy some spring fever.

Webcam: Latest view of D.C. from the Netherlands Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy National Park Service. Refresh page to update. See this image bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Friday): Mild but not too much sun in the morning. More sun will shine in the afternoon, though clouds could still be in and out, as highs head for the low 60s. It will be a little breezy, too, as 10-15 mph winds from the southwest pump in an increasingly warm air mass. Confidence: High

Tonight: We'll stay partly cloudy and continued breezy. Comfortable evening temperatures in the 50s should level off in a pretty uniform manner thanks to the breeze: expect mid-to-upper 40s by sunrise. No rain threat, though the air will be moistening with flow coming from the south/southwest off the Gulf of Mexico. Confidence: High

How warm will it get this weekend? Keep reading for our forecast, and give your prediction in the comments section below.

Tomorrow (Saturday): What a day! Partly sunny skies prevail and high temperatures hit a big mark -- near 70! Winds from the south will lighten a bit at 5-10 mph. Simply GET OUT AND ENJOY today. South of the District will likely nudge above 70, while north toward the Mason-Dixon line it may stay in the 60s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Temperatures stay mild as you turn your clocks ahead one hour. Everyone -- city and suburbs -- should stay above 50 under partly cloudy skies, and with a bit of a breeze at around 10 mph from the southwest. Confidence: High

Sunday: Skies may cloud up quite a bit on Sunday. Regardless, we should catapult into the mid-70s. Spots to the south toward Richmond could hit the big 8-0. Not unprecedented for March. But quite a change from the snow and bitter cold of just a few days ago. Confidence: Medium-High


Sunday night, we could see a shower or sprinkle during the evening or overnight. And again we'll be quite mild -- lows probably around 50 or a few degrees higher. Confidence: Medium

We cool down a bit on Monday but still we'll likely manage highs in the 60s. Not bad, eh? Maybe a morning shower or sprinkle. Otherwise, becoming partly to possibly mostly sunny. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday we cool down some more, to highs in the mid-50s to near 60. We might see a a chance of showers enter the picture, especially during the latter part of the day. More on that as we get closer. Confidence: Medium-Low

Looks like the cool down continues during the mid-to-late part of next week -- but not super cold -- with highs in the 40s and 50s. That's March for you; warm spells don't usually last too long.

By Camden Walker  | March 6, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Warm Weekend is Perfect Time to Save Daylight


Current temp. in Burke: 41 exactly with mostly cloudy skies!

It's been so cold this winter, I forgot what 70 degree weather feels like. Bring on the warmth!

Thanks Ian for answering my question yesterday, but what's the difference between meteorological ans astronomical spring? Why are there two springs instead of one? Thanks!

Posted by: Yellowboy | March 6, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Yellowboy, I think astronomical spring has to do with the amount of daylight: it is equal with the amount of nite on March 21, as it is on Sept. 21, the first day of fall. Met spring starts in March because meteorlogically speaking March often has more characteristics of spring than winter.

Posted by: steske | March 6, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

I like steske's response. I would further it with one is based on solar science (more recent climate studies of how solar energy affects the lower atmosphere) and one is based on lunar calendar, as established by astronomical science centuries ago.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

a better "lunar" calender would have 13 28-day months (with an occasional leap day). probably avoided that formulation for superstitious reasons, and maybe because 12 is such a nice divisible number...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 6, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Alright, I have a CWG question that has the potential to unravel the fabric of the space time continuum. What do you all possibly talk about in the Spring? I am a relative newcomer to this blog (late last summer) and it would seem you guys get pretty hyped about weather events. What are potential hot topics for Spring?

Posted by: authorofpoetry | March 6, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Soooo looking forward to this weekend. Going for a run outside this afternoon. Then, I'll be exploring my new neighborhood on foot Sat./Sun. It's beautiful out here. We moved in on 11/20/08 and snow flurries were falling that day, so I feel as though I've been cooped up forever. Can't wait to see what's around me. And, hopefully saying goodbye to the snow for the season. :)

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 6, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Author, while not particularly prominent in this neck of the woods this time of year, Springtime is severe weather season. Which, at least for myself, is quite exciting!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Brian. I look forward to reading about these events (hopefully occurring many miles from us).

Posted by: authorofpoetry | March 6, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Last yr there was lots of good t-storm weather April-June. With a La Nina pattern still in place I think we may see something similar -- though maybe not as intense -- this season. The real tough time to "talk weather" comes in the heart of summer when every day is sunny with lows around 70 and highs around 90.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Arent we expected to move into a El Nino pattern as we head towards summer? and possibly moderate to strong by next winter?

Posted by: clintonportis17 | March 6, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

At's FINALLY feeling like the break of winter! Feels good to rock my CK leather and jeans without being scared to go buy a scarf because the temps dropped 20 degrees lower. O_o

Posted by: cbmuzik | March 6, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

sorry to interrupt your spring reverie, but what is happening with that "winter storm" possibility for maybe next weekend?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 6, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When is the sun coming out?

Posted by: steske | March 6, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: clintonportis17 | March 6, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

meaning? storm south and moves off coast?

Posted by: manassasmissy | March 6, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

steske, there are some breaks in the clouds out near the Blue Ridge that should work their way east over the next few hours.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse


Slides of the coast after 192hrs. Seems it might be an over running type of event. Key here is its 192hrs away. Lots can change and will change.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | March 6, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I sure hope that we don't have all the "tree losing" events like last spring. The good news was that the big oak over the bedroom acutally got caught in a microburst so it twisted to fall on the fence and deck instead of my bed. And also on a positive note, the back surgery this fall reminds me not to try to move large branches myself this spring. The bad news is, there's actually still quite a few fallen trees and branches laying around from last year.

Posted by: manassasmissy | March 6, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

i LOVE those charts. i love seeing pictures of numbers if you will, but i'm a layman. i see how on that green (precip) one the greenest area moves past us too far south. what could "move" it north? what's "over running"?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 6, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Cloud type mainly altocumulus perlucidus--small but discrete breaks between cloud elements in nearly continuous sheet. SSW wind indicates generally overcast conditions acc. to my cloud forecasting manuals, but little or no near-term precipitation.

Notes: To authorofpoetry; Spring here is a period when our hot topics generally involve severe weather outbreaks. If you're from the Central Plains you probably know this, but if you are from California severe weather there is very rare, except every 2 to 5 years when you have an El Nino winter pattern.[Could this happen next winter? See my note to clintonportis17, below.]

walter-in-falls-church, there is still some indication of a cold, wintry pattern as early as next weekend. I'm not sure if it gets cold enough for more snow.

clintonportis17, currently we're still in La Nina. We could break out of it this summer, but I'm not sure if we're going to La Nada or all the way to a moderate-strong El Nino. If we do, next winter could be a rather rainy "bust". My preference would be for the neutral La Nada to weak El Nino, which could give us a snow bonanza next winter. Frankly I would have preferred Monday's snowstorm as a Christmas gift. We never seem to get a white Christmas around here, even when Brownsville and New Orleans get one.

Yellowboy, astronomical spring occurs at the vernal equinox when the Sun's apparent path across the sky moves north of the Equator. This generally occurs Mar. 20-22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Australia and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere experience the autumnal equinox, and astronomical fall.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 6, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

walter-in-fallschurch, overrunning is when warm air off the surface rides up and "over" colder air at the surface. The warm air cools as it rises and condenses. It can often produce precipitation in the form of snow or mixed precip during the winter. Some good storms around here are primarily overruning, like the Presidents Day storm in 2003. I would take any maps 180 hours out with a grain of salt... though several models are hinting at something of interest next weekend into the week after. Once we get to Mar 15 it's pretty darn tough to get a good snowstorm though.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

so what has to happen meteorologically speaking to make it over run further north (i.e., above us)? and what can i do personally to help make that happen?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 6, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think on the maps posted above you'd mainly want to see the shortwave -- orange area on 500 mb vort charts -- a bit further north instead of in the deep south. OR you would want to see some more ridging out in the Atlantic to help it climb the coast better. It's so far out it's not really worth thinking about too much with regard to details. Many times models trend north with time anyway, so perhaps that's not a bad spot to see it at the moment -- though it could still end up too far north! (if it happens at all)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 6, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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