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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

PM Update: Cold front to bring fresh chill

By Ian Livingston

Temperatures that rose into the 60s most spots today are about to take a tumble thanks to a cold front moving through. Winds which have already shifted to the west and northwest over much of the area will be occasionally gusty into the night, and those winds help transport in drier and colder air.

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.

Through Tonight: West winds become more north and northwest and they stay up through the first half of the night before subsiding a bit toward morning. Winds keep temperatures from bottoming out, but it's still going to be rather cold. Lows should reach the mid-20s in the suburbs to nearer 30 downtown.

Tomorrow (Thursday): Our seesaw ride of recent continues, and we lose a good 20 degrees or so off highs today. At least we'll see mostly sunny skies and relatively light winds. Still, highs near 40 and into the low 40s are a little tough to take after several tastes of warmth lately.

See Dan Stillman's forecast through the weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

West Coast Wind: A strong storm impacting the Northwest Coast of the United States caused some very high winds last night. Numerous locations right along the coastline gusted near or past 70 mph. At the top of Mt Rainier, sustained winds of 112 mph gusted as high as 137 mph! Additional storminess (and big wind) is expected tomorrow.

By Ian Livingston  | March 2, 2011; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Weather image of the day: Greek crescent moon


Is there a weather photo of the day today?

Posted by: spgass1 | March 2, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse


There is indeed. On a lot of days, it may well come after the PM Update :)

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse


yesterday, you said something about march being your least favorite month and skipping march and just going straight to april?! that's crazy talk. the #1 & #3 eastern snow storms since 1956 were in march!

and march 2009 was pretty good 'round here.

of course, not much chance of "anything good" happening this year, given the models' outputs anyway. so, i guess i know what you mean about skipping THIS march.

i see the difference btwn the average high (51) and low (33) for today is 18 degrees, and the difference between the records is 64 degrees.

what season has the most variability with regard to the difference between normal high/low temps and separately, w/regard to record high/low temps? what season has the least?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, I did say that March was my least favorite month. The few March snows that we DO get usually melt off pretty quickly anyway. I'm from Texas, so I wasn't living here at the time of the '93 superstorm to experience it firsthand; maybe I would view March differently had I witnessed that one.

As for this march, I see absolutely nothing (snow) in the models for the next two weeks, so yes, I'd be happy to skip ahead to cherry blossom season. But then again, I've always told myself that I shouldn't wish time away :)

You're right, though, I guess it is kind of silly for a snowlover like me to consider march his least favorite month. September is a close second [least favorite month]. Mainly because when it arrives, we think that things will cool off and that the leaves will start turning, when really, that doesn't happen until Mid-October. Once again, it's one of those darn "transition months!"



I have two questions for you:

1: on average, what is the windiest month in DC? I imagine it's one of the winter months, but I don't know.

2: what is the lowest (coldest) high temperature ever recorded at DCA? Is there an easier way to find that sort of info than sifting through all the NWS monthly records?

I know both of those questions are completely unrelated to this post, but I've always been curious about this.


Posted by: BobMiller2 | March 2, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

looks like we're "puttin' 'em to the test" with our arcane questions...

my question about variability springs (heh heh) from the idea that it's going to be 20 degrees colder tomorrow, and then warm the next day. spring and fall seem so "volatile", but i'm wondering if the statistics bear that out.

(i guess a really arcane question would be something along the lines of "what's the month with the highest day-to-day temperature difference total?" like suppose tomorrow is 20 degrees colder then today, and the next day is 15 degrees warmer. that would be 35 "delta degrees" over 2 days.)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Some of those questions would take a while to uncover specific answers. The coldest max temperature all time on record at DC is 4 on 2/10/1899. There are 5 instances of highs below 10, most recently in Jan 1994. For fall (all seasons discussed below are meteorological) it's 24 on the 30th in 3 different years, spring is 20 in two separate years and summer is 52 in June 1894. This is one of those stats that is very heavily weighted to the earliest time of record keeping -- many in the 1800s or early 1900s.

In general, I think winter has the most variability here from min to max as we can occasionally get major Arctic outbreaks yet typically see a run or two toward 70+ every year. If you look at meteorological season avg variability, you see a swing of 15.6F from the warmest to coolest season in winter and 8.6 in summer. Both spring and fall end up pretty close to each other at 10.7 and 10.4 respectively.

On wind... I'd guess it's winter or early spring while the jet stream is active and far enough south to keep systems moving through quite often.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Walter, part of the answer is a nice NWS graphic:

Looks like winter has stretchy extremes like Ian said. But it also looks like winter has a bit more compression in the average low to high than the other seasons. But when you think about it, it's completely irrelevant since a day will never have average highs and lows (unless it is really average). So my guess is that an "average winter day" is more extreme than an "average summer day" and probably even more likely that an average winter week will have more extremes than an average summer week. And I would include part of March in winter only because we have so much leftover cold in Canada such as we see today.

Posted by: eric654 | March 2, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for finding those answers for us! Gosh, a high of 4° DC??!! WOW! Now that's what I call cold! Thanks a million for finding that info for me. CWG really is the best!


Yeah, we really have "put 'em to the test" - - on numerous occasions ;-) We sure are fortunate to have the CWG, aren't we?

Before I discovered this site, I would sometimes e-mail the local mets for weather questions and some of them (not naming names) would reply with a snobby/apathetic one sentence response whereas CWG actually takes time to find the info and explains it in detail! Ever since I discovered this site, I have been reccomending it to all my friends, family, and colleagues and will continue to do so!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | March 2, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

omg, a high of 4! awesome find. that's cold.

that graph is the perfect answer! winter is the most variable at least in terms of extremes. and of course it is. we have highs of 4 and highs of 74 in winter. just another reason to love winter.

to have experts answer questions about what happens to a snowflake as it falls from 5000 to 0 ft, and what time the transition from rain to sleet to snow will happen, depending on whether you live in olney or falls church, and then to have guys like you and eric chime in, is beyond "fortunate".

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

ian, you said,
"If you look at meteorological season avg variability, you see a swing of 15.6F from the warmest to coolest season in winter and 8.6 in summer. Both spring and fall end up pretty close to each other at 10.7 and 10.4 respectively."

that info was great too. it quantifies the variability. thanks.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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