From the ABC 7 Weather team

D.C. cold snap; how long will it last?

October 7, 2012 - 07:45 PM
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Temperatures barely budged on Sunday so when will more typical fall weather return?

Did you have the heat on Sunday? Wondering if this is a permanent weather change or just a fluke in the weather pattern?

Remarkably, temperatures only had a 4 degree swing today… the low temperature was 52 while the high was 56 degrees. The last time it was 56 degrees for a high at Reagan National was April 28th! Whew… did it feel incredibly chilly to you?

Well, here are two thoughts… for warm and cool weather lovers alike. The highest temperature Sunday in the U.S. was right at the century mark in Death Valley while the lowest reading this morning was 3 degrees in Daniel, Wyo!

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Back home, temperatures will start out Monday on the chilly side with lows in the 40s inside the Capital Beltway…. the last time Reagan National had lows in the middle 40s in the morning was April 24-25th! Not to be outdone, clouds quickly on the increase with showers arriving later Monday will temper temperature rises a bit. The record cold high temperature for Reagan National on October 8th is 54 degrees set in 1910. Highs on Monday will only make it the lower and middle 50s.

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If you are looking for warmer weather, look no further than Wednesday. Low pressure producing the spotty light rain and clouds Monday into Tuesday will edge off the coast and high pressure will follow. That sets up a nice southwest wind direction across the region with highs back to about 70 degrees.

It’s October now though and the jet stream typically starts to dip lower and lower across the U.S. There is good model agreement between the longer term GFS and European model suites that a relatively fast west to east flow will get going through the middle of the month. This typically means quick frontal passages with warmer trends ahead of the front and cooler air behind fronts. Basically, strong west to east jet stream winds means the weather pattern won’t become “stagnant.”

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Given the cooler days and the fact that we are entering the darker days of October (losing 2 minutes and 27 seconds of daylight per day), fall colors are near optimal for leaf peeping along and west of the Continental Divide. Interstate 68 west of Cumberland and Route 219 from Keysers Ridge, Md., to Oakland, Md., would be great scenic routes to capture these brilliant colors.

 

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A good deal of reds and oranges are showing up from Interstate 81 (Martinsburg, Winchester, Hagerstown) to Cumberland, Md.

Less daylight and cooler temperatures will allow the foliage to peak in the Shenandoah Valley in the next two weeks before the best colors then migrate east of the Blue Ridge toward Leesburg, Va., and Frederick, Md., before honing in on the Capital Beltway!

Stay with ABC7 and WTOP Radio for the latest on the cool spell and stay warm in the meantime!

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