Monday, February 5, 2007

How Cold Is It?
Chance of Snow Tomorrow Night


Windy, very cold. "[I]t's so cold outside, the politicians have their hands in their own pockets." (Va. Rep. Tom Davis at last week's House Government Oversight Committee hearing on climate science censorship.) After an official low of 14°, the Washington area's latest Arctic blast limited temperatures to near 20° in many places this afternoon, although the southern fringes of the region saw readings as high as the mid and upper 20s. Winds gusting as high as 30 mph at times made the temperatures even more uncomfortable and dewpoints in the negative teens added to the drying effect.

Temperature chart at 4pm today from Unisys

Tonight and Tomorrow

Very cold. Winds will diminish tonight. Along with clear skies and very low dewpoints, lows will drop to near 10° in town to the low single digits in the 'burbs. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and not quite as cold, but with increasing clouds late in the day and highs in the upper 20s.

Tomorrow Night

Chance of Snow. A weak "clipper" system sliding in from the northwest could bring some light snow or flurries to the area before moving off the coast. With the extreme dryness of the current airmass and the weakness of the system, any accumulations are likely to be minimal. There's about a 50-50 chance we'll see more than half an inch in the metro area, but most likely under 2 inches.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball, scroll on down to Jason's post below.

Cold Comfort

The proof of the pudding will be tonight, but some of the more breathless media claims of "coldest in a decade" may have been a bit premature. Today's low of 14° is the lowest since February 19 last year. If we reach single digits tonight, as seems likely, it will be the first time since . . . well, actually since 8° 3 years ago on Jan. 10. If tomorrow's high is at least 25°, the low would have to be 4° or below to equal that 2004 day's average.

Looked at another way, there's a long way to go in the next 3 weeks or so in order to "cancel out" the above-average record so far this winter. To balance the +30° departure from average on Jan. 6 this year, tomorrow would have to see a low of -1° and a high of 15°. Overall, the rest of February would have to average 12.8° below normal for the winter to be average. In order to do this, high temperatures would have to average no warmer than about the mid 30s for the next 23 days.

Climate Corner

After sleeping on it over the weekend, the WaPo has an editorial today on the latest IPCC global warming report.

In the blogosphere, Stu Ostro of the Weather Channel "fired" back Friday against the anti-scientific global warming skeptics. The links include several useful references to the scientifc literature. In another post early this afternoon, he responds to an earlier comment by clarifying and confirming what we've been saying here all along, that Dr. Heidi Cullen's so-called demand for "decertification" of AMS Seal of Approval holders was completely invented by the ideological noise machine and amplified by certain parties for their own purposes. Thank you, Weather Channel, for standing up for the science against ideological ignorance.

Dr. Cullen has a joint blog entry with 2 other climate scientists today, "There is More Heat. Let There be Light", discussing the IPCC report.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

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