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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/31/2010

Forecast: Mild New Year, before cold returns

By Camden Walker
Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.


50s, lots of sun, and a very light breeze. No bad weather to interfere with plans. What a way to close out 2010!
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


New Year's Eve: Mostly sunny. Low-to-mid 50s. | Tonight: Partly cloudy. Near 40 at midnight, low-to-mid 30s lows. | New Year's Day: Increasing clouds. Late-day showers. Mid-to-upper 50s. | Sunday: Mostly cloudy, showers possible. Mid-to-upper 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Unless you are a lover of cold and wintry weather, I have some more enjoyable, milder weather on which to report! Your plans today through tomorrow morning shouldn't have any weather impact. Temperatures today and tomorrow hit the 50s with only a light southerly breeze. By late New Year's Day, we do have a chance of showers that could stay with us through Sunday. Going into next week, we again enter a dry regime with roughly average highs in the low-to-mid 40s. Enjoy the warmth while we have it, and don't worry about freezing outdoors while ringing in the New Year, for once!

Snow Potential Index: 1 (↑) - Maybe the smallest chance at the very end of next week for a few flakes. I'm partly just trying to give snow lovers a tiny bit of hope.

The SPI is a daily assessment of snow potential for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

New Year's Eve (Friday): High temperatures reach the low-and-mid 50s, under sunny skies, with a light breeze out of the south. I can't remember my last non-freezing New Year's Eve, so I'm looking forward to it. Hope you enjoy your evening plans! Confidence: High

Tonight: Clouds slowly creep into the region but nothing to worry about. Temperatures at midnight are in the range of upper 30s to lower 40s. Happy New Year! If staying out until about dawn, it will be chillier. Suburbs may hit 30 degrees, and downtown hovers in the mid-30s. Confidence: Medium-High

How long before I need my scarf and gloves again? Keep reading...

New Year's Day (Saturday): Sunshine should be visible in the morning but skies become mostly cloudy as the day goes. Showers even threaten (40% chance) by late afternoon. High temperatures are still quite mild though, in the mid-to-upper 50s. Some of our acclimated bodies might even feel uncomfortable with this rise in temperatures! South winds pick up just a bit, to around 5-10 mph in advance of the front. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Cloudy, mild, with a 50-60% chance of light rain showers. A steady breeze out of the south and southwest won't feel too bad -- temperatures only dip to the low-and-mid 40s by late night. Confidence: Medium

Sunday: Another batch of showers (50% chance) could threaten again for portions of the day. I don't believe it will be heavy or a wash-out, at least. High temperatures can't climb as well as Saturday, but still manage to shoot for the upper 40s, perhaps 50 south of town. I would bet you will still deem it comfortable after our fairly deep freeze as of late! Confidence: Low-Medium


On Sunday night we dry out behind the cold front after a potential evening sprinkle or flurry. Downtown re-freezes in the upper 20s, with lower 20s in more remote spots toward the Blue Ridge. Light northwesterly breezes are probable and they may increase a bit overnight. Bundle up again, be ready! Confidence: Medium

Monday looks clear, with sunshine again emerging! High temperatures are muted in the in the 40 to 45 degree range, as it appears now. We will keep you posted, but just be ready for winter's return! The air is again dry and crisp, and a stiff westerly breeze of at least 15 mph is possible as well. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday Breezes hopefully won't persist into Tuesday, but sunshine should! High temperatures in the 40s still feel okay. It's somewhere in between last week's chill and the "muggy" showery days over the weekend. Think you can cope? Confidence: Medium

By Camden Walker  | December 31, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Record cold December in Miami, Florida
Next: PM Update: Tranquil, cool New Year's Eve night


in addition to better temps than we've had in December, sunset makes it back to 5pm Monday at IAD, Tuesday at DCA

rule of thumb for January sunset times in the DC area - take the day of the month and add to 5pm, so sunset on the 15th is approx. 5:15, can do the same in Feb by adding to 5:30, Feb 15th is approx 5:45

Posted by: TGT11 | December 31, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

@TGT11: Didn't know that, thanks for a cool piece of info. Does it only hold for Jan and Feb, or can it be expanded to figure later sunsets in later months?

Posted by: --sg | December 31, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey Camden,

From one of the more "remote spots [right up against] the Blue Ridge"...woo hoo on this forecast...up to the Park with my fly rod (even though I may need to break some ice to fish)...

Posted by: NorthFork1 | December 31, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Found a video of Bastardi explaining why global warming is not a problem...

What struck me is the seeming nonsense he said about kinetic energy, that because the relationship between T and KE is exponential, a 15- to 20-degree rise in temps in polar regions can be offset by just a 1-degree drop in temps over the warm equatorial ocean.

1) Unless I am much mistaken, I thought that temperature and (average) kinetic energy ARE linearly related, i.e. K = (3/2)kT.

2) Considering that he was talking about wet bulb stuff, I went and did the calculation for saturated air, taking latent heat into account. It is still way off. The advertised 1-degree drop can only accomodate a 5-degree rise, not a 15- to 20-degree one.

Um, am I missing something here?

Posted by: cleombrota | December 31, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Thank U for your pity Camden.

It seems we're finally getting a short spell of consistent above freezing temps. I'm going to assist nature with the landscape watering duties; she has been negligent & it doesn't read as if this weekend shower stuff will amount to much.

Here's hoping to see some sunshine today.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 31, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

‎Is this the small chance you are talking about? -- 0z DEC 31 EURO-- has MAJOR Intense Low over eastern NC JAN 8 with large areas of HEAVY SNOW over much of NC into SE VA ..again!??...

Posted by: realclear | December 31, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I tallied up my snowfall measurements for 2010 and came up just shy of 50 inches. Since Snoverkill (2/10/10) was not a direct hit here, I would expect some other readers got more...

Currently 51.3F in the Blue Ridge Mtns east of Front Royal...

Posted by: spgass1 | December 31, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@sg, actually it works through the end of May in this area, also at others near our latitude including San Francisco

so March 1 is around 6pm, March 31 7:30 (with DST adjustment), April 1 7:30, April 30/May 1 8pm, May 31 8:30pm

in June sunset times slow down too much to hold

keeps you within 3-4 minutes, because daylight expansion accelerates to the equinox than decelerates after that, it can wobble around, but is a good rule of thumb if you're not calibrating scientific experiments to the sunset

Posted by: TGT11 | December 31, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey, what happened to my sunny skies?

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | December 31, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

TGT11 - I'm excited to get back beyond 5pm sunset! we gain about, what 35sec a day now in overall day length?

RepealObamacareNow - I've got sun in Metro Center.. where are you? Alright so it is a tad milky filtered sunshine :)

spgass1 - you're warmer than DC.. enjoy! I still have only 45 downtown.

realclear - I was talking about next week (7 days from now) but a few flakes are possible around DC on Sunday as the storm system pulls its moisture away with it.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

NorthFork1 - enjoy that fishing today

FIRE - winter still has a ways for you to get more snow, right? ;)

cleombrota - apologies, I can't get that video to work :/

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

We still have TWO MONTHS of meteorological winter, and all but two weeks of astronomical winter to go! The real snow or ice risk doesn't start diminishing here until after Presidents' Day.

As happens in most years, our biggest storm threat seems to be around that time in mid-to late February. When the crocuses and daffodils start growing [mid-Feb. to early Mar.] it's reasonable to expect less of a snow or ice risk.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 31, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

That's cool, TGT11!

Thanks for the info- I didn't know that.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 31, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

12z Euro shows a potential wintry weather system to watch for the Thursday/Fri of next week (not GFS). Development looks awfully similar to 12/26 storm with DC on western fringe... Could be another nail biter. Not SLCB time, but could be soon...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm buckling up- ready for another roller coaster.

Hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year :) I'm headed to the Eastern Shore- and am very appreciative of the warmer temps- might even ring in the New Year out on the water!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 31, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, to be in Fargo, where it's currently minus 3 F and blizzard warnings are posted. So far this winter we're only getting twink snow.

@SPgass1, I live in NW DC and we had about 55" this year; not that much different from you. I'm bereft that DCA apparently failed to top 40" in CY10 by a snow sliver.

OK, back to sending stink bugs to purgatory. Where are these pests coming from? I feel like I'm in Stinkbug Times Square.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | December 31, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Jerry, one theory I have is they are coming in from the bathroom exhaust fan but I need to investigate further. I had to fish one out of my daughter's mouth (she had stinkbug breath afterward)...

Posted by: spgass1 | December 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

SPgass, I've seen a few in my bathtub, so you may be right. I don't know much moisture they need; I've found them in my glove drawer, but that's right below a container of, appropriately enough, devil's ivy.

To have to pull one out of your daughter's mouth must have really been wretched.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | December 31, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse


DC on the western fringe AGAIN???? This is despicable!! If New York gets hammered again, I think I'm going to go CRAZY!!!!!!!!! I can't take it anymore! I need snow!

I just keep reminding myself that last year when we were getting blizzards, they were getting flurries.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | December 31, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Bob Miller. We're snow deprived. CWG, please start conjuring up snow magic with your SLCB. You did it last winter; you can do it again. (If you've forgotten the password, it's on page 27 of Tolkein's "The Fellowship of the Snow".)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | December 31, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

you all have a great new year's eve tonight!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks,, CWG, and everybody have a great (and safe) New Year's, as well.

CWG, you set the bar high for yourselves in 2010. I have no doubt 2011 will bring all us weatherlovers great work from CWG!

Posted by: mcaicedo | December 31, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks,, CWG, and everybody have a great (and safe) New Year's, as well.

CWG, you set the bar high for yourselves in 2010. I have no doubt 2011 will bring all us weatherlovers great work from CWG!

Posted by: mcaicedo | December 31, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

As a Tolkien fan, you're comment piqued my interest. Is there a particular word you had in mind in Tolkien's "Fellowship" book, or was that comment completely tonuge in cheek?

Posted by: MKoehl | January 1, 2011 1:59 AM | Report abuse

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