Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Living on the Edge

The Washington DC metro area remains on the southern fringe of East Coast cold air this afternoon. A stationary front from southwestern Virginia to northeastern North Carolina is separating the merely seasonal mid-Atlantic temperatures from the truly spring-like 70s a couple hundred miles to the south. The map to the right shows temperatures in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic area at 3pm today. Each color band represents a range of 5° F. Note the nearly 40° temperature range within a roughly 300-mile radius of Washington.

Temperature chart from Unisys

A storm system zipping southeastward from the upper Midwest will tap into the energy of this temperature "gradient" (contrast), but not very much moisture, to bring us some light rain or showers tomorrow as it scoots along the Mason-Dixon line. Meanwhile, the main U.S. model is continuing to push the next system out to sea south of us on Monday and Tuesday. The NWS earlier was carrying a 30% chance of snow Monday night and Tuesday (down from 40% last night). All mention of that precipitation has been removed from their afternoon update, however.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Clouds will increase tonight, and there is a 50% chance of showers by morning. Lows will be in the upper 30s. Tomorrow's highs will be near 51 with a 70% chance of showers through the afternoon.

"A Slow Forest Fire"

Here's another sign of the economic benefits of global warming: Today's WaPo has an article (On page A-1! Above the fold! More prominent than Anna Nicole Smith!) about the disastrous spread of the mountain pine beetle in British Columbia. The pests, who apparently failed to read the climate change talking points memo from Faux News, have found that warmer temperatures are allowing them to consume millions of acres of old-growth forest in western Canada. A region three times the area of Maryland has been infested so far, and there appears to be nothing to prevent the insects from spreading eastward across the Rockies. In a situation which should globally warm the hearts of free-marketeers everywhere, the economy of the region is booming as loggers race to harvest the destroyed trees in order to feed the demands of the U.S. McMansion market.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

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