Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Ask Why?


Sunny, cool. In a more average December, it would be considered a thaw, but the low 50s in the Washington metro area this afternoon feel cold compared to the balmy records yesterday. Highs were 52° at National, 51° at Dulles and BWI. The relatively mild and dry conditions are likely to continue for a couple more days.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Clear, cool. Under clear skies and light winds, lows tonight will be near 34° in the city to the mid and upper 20s in cooler 'burbland. Tomorrow will be much like today, but with less breeze and highs again near 50°.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and into the holiday weekend, scroll down to Jason's post below.

ISO Snow

"Why ask why, when all that's true
The sky is blue, blue for no reason"

Bonnie Raitt, Blue For No Reason, from Fundamental

The snow lovers keep asking why, but the facts on the ground are that there is very little snow around so far this season. It may be no consolation, but they should be aware that they are not alone in being frustrated. The national plot of major reporting stations shows virtually zilch, nada, bupkis throughout the continental U.S. A more comprehensive view derived from satellite data is a little more interesting, but still limited to the western mountains and fringe northern border areas.

Until patterns are more favorable, you're going to have to be satisfied with virtual snow. The current (January/February) issue of American Scientist has an article, "The Formation of Snow Crystals", by the "Snowflake Man", Prof. Kenneth G. Libbrecht, professor of physics and chairman of the Physics Department at Caltech and author of "The Snowflake". The article itself is limited to subscribers, but there are several interesting links, including some animated computer simulations of snowflake growth. Libbrecht's work is also featured in today's WaPo KidsPost, online and carbon-based edition.

Snow crystal images from American Scientist

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