Temperatures often swing up and down this time of year, but this was an unusually cold swing downwards to start October. It felt more like late November than early October, and not only was it chilly, but measurable snow fell in the higher elevations as well. Though don't expect the cold to linger as our weather pattern is shifting today.
At the three major airports in the Washington area, four record cold afternoon high temperatures were either tied or broken through the first three days of October as temperatures ran about 15-20 degrees below average. According to the local National Weather Service office, the average afternoon high temperature at Reagan National (DCA) was 56.5 degrees for the first two days of October, which ranks as the coldest two-day start to October in recorded history. Also, the average overall temperature for the same time period was 51.8 degrees, and that ranks as the third coldest start to October in recorded history. By the way, records for D.C. date back to 1872. Here's a link to the detailed report from the National Westher Service.
Not only was it cold, but it was snowy as well in the higher elevations. Yesterday, our WeatherBug camera caught the flakes falling along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park (photo here). More significantly, unprecedented early-season snow fell in parts of West Virginia. According to preliminary research by Maryland resident Robert Leffler, who is a retired meteorologist and cooperative weather observer, the weekend snowfall in the higher elevations (above 2500 ft) of West Virginia ranks as the biggest two-day snowfall this early in the season. For example, snowfall measurements ranged from 0.2 inches in Bayard, WV to 9 inches at Snowshoe.
Our weather pattern is currently transitioning from the gray, damp and cold conditions to vast sunshine and warmer temperatures. High temperatures will go from the lower 50s over the past few days to the mid 60s today and lower 70s on Wednesday. Dry & sunny weather will prevail Wednesday through the weekend, and highs around 80 are possible by Sunday. See the 7-Day forecast here.