Chilly breezes aside, we're staring down our 5th weekend in a row with pretty benign weather -- it hasn't rained during the weekend since October 3. Of course, this one is much cooler than any of the previous, but we can only battle the calendar so long. While daytime temperatures today through tomorrow are more reminiscent of early December, there is warmer air around the bend for those hoping for another taste.
Breezes from the NW provide a wind chill today
Express Forecast Today: Partly sunny & breezy. Mid-50s. | Tonight: Variably cloudy & breezy. Mid-30s to near 40. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny. Near 50 to low 50s.
Forecast in Detail Blustery, chilly and gray at times through this end-of-daylight-saving-time weekend. Eesh! There will be some cracks of sun though. And could a warming trend be in store next week? Full Forecast
Tomas has been steadily intensifying since yesterday morning and reached hurricane status overnight. Its maximum sustained winds are 85 mph as the storm heads north/northeast at 12 mph through Windward Channel connecting the Caribbean and Atlantic between eastern Cuba and western Haiti. Some additional strengthening is possible in the next day as the storm sets its eyes on the southeastern Bahamas where it could peak at Category 2 intensity.
No sooner than a day after the release of our winter outlook does the first accumulating snow event arrive in the mid-Atlantic region. A winter weather advisory is in effect for Garrett County in western Maryland, which includes Deep Creek Lake. A second winter weather advisory covers the highlands of northeast West Virginia, including extreme western Allegany, Highland, Pendleton, and western Grant and Mineral counties.
Express Forecast » Today: Partly to mostly cloudy & breezy. Mid-50s. | Tonight: Variably cloudy & breezy. Mid-30s to near 40. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny. Near 50 to low 50s. | Sunday: Mostly sunny. Low-to-mid 50s.
Could a warming trend be in store next week? Our Full Forecast
Light to moderate rain has fallen almost continuously today with amounts generally around 0.75". Overcast skies have held temperatures in the upper 40s to low 50s. For the next several hours, it's more of the same before the rain finally starts to relent mid-evening.
Disaster-stricken Haiti faces an unwelcome challenge as Tropical Storm Tomas makes its approach. Already, the outer bands of Tomas are moving ashore the country's southwest coast.
So after considerable build-up, our winter outlook is finally out. How does it make you feel? Vote below...
After last year winter's historic snows, there is both excitement and dread as the new winter approaches, depending on one's perspective. Snow lovers would like nothing more than a repeat of Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, and Snoverkill. And there are certainly those (the silent majority?) who would like as little of the white stuff as possible. As long as both groups keep their expectations reasonable, we think this winter will have something for everyone. First things first: we aren't getting as much snow as last winter. Probably not even close. We're in a La Nina and that does not usually favor big snows around here (though there have been exceptions, like 1995-1996). But we do think this winter will be snowier than our typical La Nina winter (see more on La Nina below), and very likely to be snowier than the back-to-back La Nina winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 when just 5 and 8 inches of snow fell.
This is an old-fashioned rainy day. At least we get the wet stuff out of the way before the weekend. However, the unseasonably cool air can't be shaken and even downtown D.C. could see its first freeze Saturday night. That would be about on schedule. I do like the extra hour to sleep away Saturday night's chill but boy is it going to get dark early Sunday evening.
Morning sun has given way to increasing and lowering clouds this afternoon as the first effects of tomorrow's rain producer are felt across the area. Highs have reached the low-and-mid 50s, with a light south wind making up for lack of afternoon sun by transporting in slightly warmer air. Low pressure beginning to gather to our south will send rain this way late tonight, but the evening looks to go off without a hitch.
The 2009-2010 winter in the DC metro area, and more generally the Southeast, was cold. To accompany our record-breaking snowfall, we experienced a relatively chilly winter, a rarity during the last few decades. However, some recent research suggests that our region, and the Northern Hemisphere as a whole, was actually "lucky" - it could have been substantially colder.
It started simply enough. Kevin Ambrose and I were discussing the range for winter 2009-2010 snowfall totals across the region. But we wanted numbers more expansive than just official NWS totals. So, I sent out a query to the weather boards and got numerous answers. More importantly, I found a volunteer to create the map -- Katie Wheatley, a geographic information system (GIS) analyst based in Maryland who also happens to love snow.
Admit it... Some of you thought maybe, just maybe, last year's ridiculous winter meant we'd get this winter off. Alas, only a few days into November it's become quite clear that winter will settle in sooner or later, just as it always does. In fact, highs over the next several days, especially this weekend, aren't that unlike what we'd see on the milder of winter days. The good news for those not ready to give up on fall is that after rain chances late tonight and tomorrow, and a pretty chilly weekend, a warming trend looks likely for next week.
Today has been the chilliest fall day of 2010 with temperatures barely crossing the 50-degree threshold. This morning's brisk wind has thankfully relented so it's not at all unpleasant especially if you're standing in the sun. But as the sun sets this evening (around 6:07 p.m.), temperatures quickly fall into the 40s - so be sure to dress warmly if you're headed to the polls late.
Tropical storm Tomas - which came perilously close to being sheared apart yesterday - is once again showing signs of life. The hostile upper level winds are relaxing, the storm is over near-record warm water, and it is moving into a moist atmosphere favorable for intensification. The majority of computer models track Tomas on a collision course with Haiti three to four days from now (Friday and Saturday).
Yesterday, I discussed how El Nino played a key role in establishing a storm track and moisture feed for generating last winter's historic snows in the mid-Atlantic. But I concluded by emphasizing El Nino did not lead to the epic snow totals by itself. The help from the north last year came from the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and its cousin the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Both these fluctuations have two phases and they are predicated by the differences in the pressure between the polar vortex and the pressures farther south in the mid-latitudes.
Most of today's marquee election matchups, including the Harry Reid-Sharon Angle Senate showdown in Nevada and the three-way Senate race in Florida, won't have any weather issues to deal with. Bad weather does, however, have the potential to play a role in a few races of interest.
With daytime temperatures around 8-10 degrees colder than normal yesterday, many of us went diving into our closets, trunks, and drawers in search of heavier clothing and especially those sweaters. Well, wherever you found them, you'll need them more in the days ahead as a cooler-than-normal pattern persists despite super-sunny skies. Clouds slowly return tomorrow before delivering showers on Wednesday night and Thursday. The upcoming weekend is looking sweater-weather cold too, but at least it should be dry.
If you're off to the polls early, you may need an ice-scraper and a little extra time to clean off your windows. But after about 8 a.m or 9 a.m., the sun goes to work and temperatures steadily progress well into the 40s by around lunch time. The most pleasant time to vote will be in the afternoon, when highs reach the low 50s under mostly clear skies. All-in-all, it's quite a chilly election day with high temperatures about 8-10 degrees below average.
Despite plenty of sunshine, temperatures have only risen into the low-and-mid 50s this afternoon and a sometimes gusty north wind is adding an extra chill. As Jason alluded to this morning, it's feeling like the extended warm season of 2010 is finally coming to a close. Sure, we could see a mild day or two in the future, but days like this and nights like the one ahead are a good reminder winter is around the corner.
Tomas is now a weak tropical storm with maximum winds estimated near 45 mph. Located in the central Caribbean, several hundred miles southeast of Haiti, Tomas is moving basically westward at 14 mph. Hardly distinguishable on the infrared satellite pictures amidst a seemingly disorganized arrangement of thunderstorm complexes, Tomas has been battling a strong headwind for the last couple of days that has effectively torn the structure apart. Neither of the two large clusters of thunderstorms on the right half of the image sit atop the low-level vortex. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the gap between the nearest storms and the near-surface swirl is over 100 miles. A vertical structure like this, where there's a strong tilt to -or even a complete dismantling of- the vortex tube, is potentially devastating to the system as a whole.
In recent years the southeastern U.S. has had a string of summers with unusual amounts of rainfall. There was the withering drought in 2007, during which Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue famously held a prayer service for rain. This eventually worked -- albeit too well. Late last summer the drought-stricken region was hard hit by record flooding. A new analysis of six decades of weather and climate data finds that such extreme summers are becoming more common in the region, due to shifting atmospheric steering currents that appear to be related to manmade global warming.
Last winter was the snowiest on record for much of the mid-Atlantic region from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, Pa. Baltimore shattered its old record with 77" compared to the 62.5" from the 1995-1996 season. Washington received 56.1" of snow which broke the snowfall record of 54.4" that was previously set in 1899. Three of the heaviest 10 snowstorms on record for Baltimore and two of the top 10 for Washington DC occurred last winter. In retrospect, a few readers probably have wondered why last year was so snowy compared to other recent years.
Temperatures inside the beltway and east toward the Bay will flirt with freezing tonight, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a freeze watch for these areas. The following locations are included in the watch: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-CHARLES-ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...BALTIMORE...ANNAPOLIS...WALDORF...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH
Some of the recent starts to the week haven't really felt like fall -- with almost summer-like temperatures in 70s and 80s. But today, there's no mistaking the season - with a frosty morning in many spots and high temperatures struggling to 55. Then, after mid-to-late week rains, it turns practically winter-like by late Friday into the weekend with highs temps struggling to reach 50.
Happy Halloween everyone! Lucky for us, our weather is anything but ghoulish. A beautiful, cool fall day leads into a crisp evening for any trick-or-treaters out there. Following a dry cold frontal passage, our daytime highs take a dip into the week, but skies stay bright for several days.