Today is shaping up to be a fairly nice one for the tail end of meteorological winter (Dec.-Mar.). After yesterday's wild weather, we probably deserve a break! Highs rise near 50 as some clouds float by from time to time. The daylight hours of Sunday appear dry as well, before a risk of some overnight showers that herald a warm (and stormy?) Monday.
Extraordinary winds are raging through the metro region. Winds have gusted well over 50 mph throughout the region. These remarkable winds, already leading to thousands of power outages, downed tree limbs, and flying debris, will persist through the evening commute but then diminish. Much more tranquil conditions arrive Saturday.
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Severe Thunderstorm watch for all but the western suburbs through 4 p.m. The best chance of severe activity is mainly east of I-95 early to mid afternoon. Damaging wind gusts to 50-60 mph are possible in storms.
Remember last Saturday's winds? We're up for a repeat today. But first, we run a risk of some midday showers and storms that could also pack a gusty punch. Behind the cold front responsible for any rain, winds whip up with gusts as high as around 60 mph at times. Temperatures that peak near 60 or higher fall back during the afternoon.
The wind advisory - which had been issue for tomorrow - between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. remains in effect between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.. However, for the period between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., the wind advisory has been upgraded to a high wind warning. A high wind warning is basically a wind advisory on steroids. Whereas a wind advisory indicates the potential for wind gusts over 45 mph, a high wind warning means wind gusts of over 58 mph are possible.
Sunshine made a brief appearance this morning, but it's been all clouds all the time since. The rain has arrived and stays with us on and off through tomorrow afternoon. The big story, though, is the wind, which will be sustained up to 30 mph tomorrow afternoon with gusts of 45-50 mph.
A long-time friend of mine, prominent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, sent me his eyewitness account of Tuesday's deadly earthquake in New Zealand. Kevin is a native of New Zealand who coincidentally was visiting family and friends when the earthquake struck.
The mid-Atlantic is not an area I would consider hard to garden in, especially after growing up in the Plains. The climate here is reasonably moderate and rainfall is unusually evenly distributed throughout the year. In fact, this region is one of the very few in the U.S. or even in most of the world that has such regular moisture. However, this winter has presented more than a few challenges to we garden enthusiasts. Probably the one least noticed has been the significant deficits in precipitation over the past 3 months.
Since December, the winds around the D.C. metro region have seemed relentless - and more persistently disruptive than I can ever remember. Less than a week after our last significant wind event, the National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for Friday for between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The watch includes most of the metro region, but excludes some the southern areas including southern Fauquier, Stafford, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties. But gusty winds to 50 mph are still possible in areas outside the watch.
It should feel a little more like spring over the next two days. However, the moisture feed increases by afternoon and sprinkles/light rain arrive by rush hour. More mild showers are likely Friday, but it's very windy yet again with possible gusts to 60 mph. The weekend starts off chilly but ends milder.
It's pretty quiet out there and it remains that way through late tomorrow. Temperatures which rose into the low-and-mid 40s today are a bit below average, but we'll see a bit of a rise tomorrow toward 50 before rain advances toward the area and sticks around into Friday.
Temperatures are on the upswing across the eastern third of the United States, but a very stormy and cold pattern is taking hold over the West Coast. A winter storm warning is in effect for Seattle, where three to six inches of snow is expected through Thursday. The same storm will dive southward, impacting much California, Friday into Saturday. In the San Francisco bay area, the potential for some very rare snowflakes is on the table.
One of the areas where the science is advancing, and the uncertainties remain large, fascinates me more than the rest: the relationship between long-term climate change and extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall and snowstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes.
It appears we've hit something of a lull in the weather pattern the next several days. But despite no big storms, no extreme cold, and no 70-degree warmth, the forecast through the weekend does feature some more minor ups, downs, and bumps in the road, including the likelihood of rain late Thursday into Friday.
On February 10, as our recent spring-like weather filled the forecast headlines, I posted that I was taking the last sledding run of the season. I thought spring might come early. Some readers of that post agreed. Well, unfortunately for many of us, we were wrong. Last night's snow and ice storm gave us particularly icy and treacherous roads for our morning commute. It also provided one last chance to break out the flyer sled and take it for a fast, slippery run
This afternoon was as cold as it's been in more than ten days, but sunshine at least helped temperatures rise above freezing in most spots. We're in for a very cold night tonight, before seasonably cold sunshine tomorrow.
Accuweather's chief long range forecaster, Joe Bastardi, resigned from the company yesterday. Bastardi, who produced popular columns and videos on AccuWeather's subscription website "AccuWeather Pro", was the lead forecaster for the company's seasonal forecasts and hurricane outlooks. He also frequently appeared as a weather and climate commentator on Fox News
As a snow enthusiast and someone who strives to make the most accurate forecast possible, this morning's lack of snow in the immediate metro area was a bitter disappointment. So what went wrong?
Very cold weather follows last night's frozen mix, with highs much below normal over the next two days. But this pattern is highly variable and warmer rain arrives later this week before another dose of cold and possibly more wintry weather late in the weekend.
Snow amounts will probably be at the lower end of ranges forecast earlier, mainly from 1-3" in the immediate metro area. Irrespective of total snow amounts, temperatures continue to fall and will bottom out from 20-24 degrees. So everything will still freeze and it will be an icy mess in the morning - especially on untreated roads.
Showers increase in coverage this evening as tonight's winter storm approaches. Prepare for temperatures falling to and below freezing as the evening progresses along with precipitation transitioning from rain to sleet and snow. The worst of the snow probably moves through in the time around midnight before departing early morning. Up to 6"+ is possible over northern areas.
Cold air is steadily seeping into the region today, setting the stage for ice and snow tonight. A winter weather advisory is in effect for most of the metro region for 2 to 5 inches of snow. The highest snow amounts, 3-6" or so, will occur north and northwest of the beltway. No advisory is in effect in the far southern suburbs where just an inch or so is possible.
After three days in the 70s last week, tonight's forecast is a shocker. Arctic air seeps southward as low pressure develops to our west. Precipitation develops late today just as temperatures start to fall, resulting in a messy transition of rain to sleet to snow overnight, with the heaviest snow accumulations north of the District.
Tomorrow temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-50s to low 60s and by tomorrow night as a cold front presses southward, we should get some rain. The big uncertainties revolve around how much rain will fall and whether the rain will change to snow and if any of the snow will stick. At this point, we generally think an inch or less of snow is most likely primarily on grassy areas from inside the beltway and to the east, south and southeast by Tuesday morning. North, west, and northwest of the beltway, 1-3" of snow is most likely.
We're rid of yesterday's ridiculously gusty winds. But alas, as we go through the day we'll also see less and less of the warming sun that we've enjoyed lately. Warmer air returns briefly tomorrow along with the chance of showers. Then, somewhat remarkably, we have a chance of snow late Monday night.