Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Waning Winter Wednesday

The spring catalogues coming through the mail slot have been accompanied by spring-like temperatures in the Washington DC area this afternoon. At 10¾ hours of daylight, our sunshine 5 weeks before the equinox is as strong as it was the week before Halloween. South-facing roofs and some sections of grass are now bare in this outside-the-Beltway neighborhood. Temperatures around the metro area are in the upper 50s with some 60s in the southern fringes of the region.

A low pressure area moving northeastward from Oklahoma toward the Great Lakes on this afternoon's weather map will keep us in the warm temperatures for a couple more days until the colder air behind it brings some of the chilliest (no, not "silliest", Spell-Check!) readings of the season for the weekend. After that, some type of storm activity is likely to develop along the front to the south, but nothing major is showing up yet. We'll be keeping an eye on it as usual in the days ahead. (Even though the PM Update will be taking a "non-snow" day tomorrow, we'll still be watching while we catch up on some other projects.)

Surface weather map at 1pm today from HPC/NWS/NOAA

Tonight and Tomorrow

For tonight, lows will be near 40 in the city to the mid 30s in the 'burbs under scattered to broken clouds. Tomorrow's highs will be near 60 with some scattered clouds.

Budget Blues

Yesterday's WaPo Federal Diary reports that budget cuts are prompting the National Weather Service to offer early retirement to about 1000 employees. Based on past experience, only 50 are likely to volunteer, but naturally such a program impacts the areas with the most experience. The St. Petersburg Times points out that 13 out of 42, or 30%, of the staff members at the National Hurricane Center are eligible. This has prompted Florida Senator Bill Nelson to say,
"That's the most ridiculous budgetary policy decision I've ever heard, when you're dealing with a matter of life and death, of inbound hurricanes."

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Seasonal Outlook

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Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.