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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 01/12/2010

Forecast: January thaw on the way

By Matt Rogers

But unsettled holiday weekend looming

* A virtual tour of the cold (and not so cold) *
* Outside now? Temps, winds & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
5A seasonably cool day like yesterday with afternoon sunshine.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Morning clouds; afternoon sunshine. 35-39. | Tonight: Mostly clear. 18-23. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. 38-43. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


We have been blogging a lot about the impressive Arctic Oscillation pattern that drove cold air into North America, Europe and Asia over the past month. That feature is finally fading in the next two weeks so that a warmer pattern (enhanced by El Niño in the tropical Pacific) can take hold of much of North America. There are indications, though, that the cold Arctic Oscillation pattern could rebuild by late January into early February, so winter is definitely not over yet. Think of this warming as more of an intermission instead.

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 (Tuesday): Morning clouds and maybe some early morning flurries, but otherwise, we should see the sun again by midday (or even sooner). Highs will be warmer than yesterday with mid-to-upper 30s. Winds will blow from the northwest at around 10-15 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clear skies and some calming of the winds will allow temperatures to drop lower again with teens in the suburbs and low 20s in the city. Look for breezes from the northwest only around 5 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the holiday weekend....

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Mostly sunny skies will work together with warming winds from the west to lift temperatures up to levels we have not seen in a little while. Look for upper 30s to low 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Mostly clear skies with winds light from the west and lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High


Thursday and Friday will feel practically spring-like (relatively speaking) as we should see mostly sunny skies and above-average temperatures for January. Look for highs in the middle 40s Thursday with upper 40s to even low 50s on Friday! Lows will be in the upper 20s to maybe low 30s in the city. Confidence: Medium-High

The holiday weekend should start ok with partly sunny skies on Saturday and highs in the low-to-mid 40s. But Sunday into MLK Monday are poised to be impacted from a storm arriving from the south. Often this storm track would favor snowy weather for the area, but the latest computer models suggest the supply of cold air may be limited. So we could see rain or mixed precipitation (confidence is low at this time). The storm could even miss us to the south! Highs should be in the 30s to low 40s with lows in the upper 20s or 30s. Confidence: Low

By Matt Rogers  | January 12, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Chance of snow showers tonight
Next: Canaan Valley's incredible snow cover


Bring on the thaw!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 12, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Ditto Think Spring! I can't wait for the rest of the pesky snow to melt away.

Posted by: rumbly45 | January 12, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I hope that we won't be hearing as much complaining in the future from cold/snow lovers as we have before this winter. You snow-worshippers now see what a PITA too much cold and snow can be.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 12, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me..."too much cold and snow", what's that? Quoi?

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Too much cold & snow???

Come on now!!! We're only HALF-THROUGH meteorological winter!!!

Betcha we get another big storm some time during the Valentines Day/Mardi Gras/Presidents' Day time frame. Generally mid-February is the time of year we get the Big One around here. This is due to northward-advancing warmth and moisture fighting to overcome Old Man Winter's grip on the continent.

BTW advance forecasts through March are tending to favor cold, dry weather for the rest of the winter. This is an interlude, the January thaw. The El Nino will probably have an influence what happens through March.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 12, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

manassasmissy, re MMCarhelp's incomprehensible "too much cold and snow":

yeah...does not compute... it must not be english. maybe it's some kind of fancy foreign expression or something.

i was looking at those canaan valley picks and wondering what the average daytime highs are out there? i mean, is that snow "workable"?! i suspect it's generally too cold, but there must be certain days above say 40 and sunny there? CWG?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

walter, from the comment with the pic, and the fact that they're running snowier than we are, I suspect it's been too cold for sculptable snow. Too bad... I like your work.

Posted by: fsd50 | January 12, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse


Once the cold pattern breaks, and winds from the northwest are replaced by winds from the south, they'll get above 40, and the snow pack will erode some. They have a lot of snow to get through though. It will be interesting how much of it survives before the pattern potentially reverses back to cold in late Jan or early Feb.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo -

There are actually some who are predicting an early spring so the jury is still out on March.

You know which one I'm hoping for. :)

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 12, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Soooo...for Sunday, are we talking just rain, ice, snow, toss a coin and guess?

Just debating going to Charlottesville for the weekend, but if there is ice or snow in the forecast, I'll just stay home and relax. :-)

Kim in Manassas

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | January 12, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse


Bottom line is we don't know yet. But leaning towards a wetter outlook, rather than ice/snow. And still the possibility storm misses us.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 12, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

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