Monday, December 17, 2007

Wild, Winning Weekend Winds Winding Down


Sunny, windy, cold. After causing as many as 100,000 customers to lose power and aiding the Redskins' win last night at Giants Stadium, the winds from the weekend storm were gradually diminishing this afternoon. Some gusts were still as high as 30 mph, however, making the temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s feel even colder, despite bright, sunny skies. By 5pm, National was down to 16 mph, gusting to 23, and Dulles was at 15 mph.

The air is also very dry with dewpoints in the mid teens. The afternoon highs were: National 41°, Dulles 39°, BWI 39°.

With high pressure now dominating virtually the entire country from coast to coast, we can expect several days of more tranquil weather before the next storm system develops later in the week.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Mostly clear, cold. Under clear skies and diminishing winds, lows tonight will be in the upper 20s downtown to the upper teens in the cooler 'burbosphere. Tomorrow will be sunny with a few afternoon clouds and not as cold, highs 44-47°.

Scroll down for Jason's outlook through the rest of the week.

Weekend Storm Review

Although they were a bit iffy on precipitation type, as they usually are in borderline situations, the models were quite accurate in their prediction as much as 7 days ahead that a "bombogenesis" (rapid low pressure area development) would occur along the Atlantic Coast this past weekend. The causes of bombogenesis are rather complex, but these storms gain much of their energy from strong temperature contrasts along the coast in the winter. Probably the most definitive study on the subject was published in 1986 by Prof. Sanders of MIT, who is generally credited with inventing the term.

The surface weather maps above from HPC/NCEP/NWS show that a 1008 mb secondary low near the Outer Banks at 11pm Saturday developed into a 969 mb "bomb" along the Maine coast 24 hours later. Snowfall amounts in northern Maine by early this afternoon ranged as high as 17.2" at the NWS office in Caribou, where the month-to-date total is now triple the long-term average.

Stu Ostro has an excellent illustrated commentary on the storm through Sunday afternoon at The Weather Channel blog.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

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