From the ABC 7 Weather team

Coldest air yet this winter is on the way

January 2, 2012 - 08:07 AM
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The coldest air so far this winter is on the way, but is it here to stay? Temperatures are set to barely touch the freezing mark on Tuesday, but we could return to the 50s by the weekend. Adam Caskey has your forecast for the first week of 2012.

Get the heavy coats and mittens out. It's about to get downright cold. (Photo: Heather Farrell)

Gear up for the coldest outbreak thus far this season as temperatures plummet through the middle of the week. The coldest temperature reading so far this fall and winter at Reagan National Airport (DCA) was 29 degrees on December 19th & 20th. In terms high temperatures, the coolest afternoon so far at DCA was 43 degrees on December 17th. However, those numbers will soon seem warm.

A big shift has occurred in our weather pattern, and it's unlike any pattern we've seen so far this winter. Cold air over Ontario, Canada is spilling into the Washington area today through Wednesday. Also, some cities around the Great Lakes that are prone to lake effect snowfall are finally getting it in full effect with this change in the weather pattern. Also, don't be surprised to see a brief snow flurry between now and Wednesday.

As for our temperatures, we will start Tuesday with temperatures in the low to mid 20s and wind chills from 5-15 degrees (coldest west of the Blue Ridge). Afternoon high temperatures will struggle to reach freezing on Tuesday with "feels like" temperatures in the teens. If you want it colder, you got it! Wednesday morning will be the coldest all week with widespread teens, and the wind will should subside by then, so I'm not expecting much of a wind chill factor. 

Highs on Wednesday should climb into the mid 30s. To put it in perspective, the average high is 43 degrees, which is, climatologically speaking, the coldest period of the year. Also, the last time DCA had a high in the 30s was February 22nd, 2011. This arctic blast won't last, however, with highs likely back in the 50s by the weekend.

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