Just how cold will it get and just how bad has it really been this month?
Here we go AGAIN! Yep. Our 4th “Polar Plunge” of the month. Today’s arctic cold front will usher in another brush with single digits and wind chill temperatures below zero.
Wind Chill Advisory
The good news is that this latest round will not be the coldest for the D.C. area of the month nor the longest. Starting this afternoon, temperatures will begin dropping through the 30s. A wind chill advisory is in effect starting at 1a.m. Tuesday through 10a.m. The feel factor will reach -5 to -10 at times. It will stay cold and breezy on Tuesday with high temperatures near 20 in The District, but mid Teens in the suburbs. Tuesday will be the coldest day of the week. But, Wednesday won’t be much better. Highs in the mid 20s. We should break the freezing mark Thursday and a reversal in the jet stream pattern will bring 40+ by the end of the week!!
Jet Stream Late Week
So, let’s take a look at what we’ve seen for January so far. First of all, despite the extreme temperatures, no record lows have been broken at Reagan National Airport. However, we did have the coldest high temperatures in decades. If we count today, this is only the 6th date our temperature has reached the freezing mark or better. And when you average the highs and lows, we end up at 33 degrees for the month, that’s three degrees below the average.
Our first brush with arctic air and below average temperatures came January 3rd and 4th. We picked up just shy of 2” of snow and our temperatures dropped into the teens. It seems tolerable compared to what came next. Our coldest temperatures of the season arrived January 6th-8th. We recorded a low temperature of 6 degrees on the morning of January 7th at Reagan National Airport. The record at Dulles was broken with a low of only 1 degree. And a few spots West dipped below zero (not including the wind chill which was much lower). The next touch with arctic air arrived January 21st. This was the longest stretch of subfreezing temperatures that lasted through the 24th.
Snow in Tyson's Corner, January 21st
It was also our biggest winter storm of the season bringing 4-10" of snow across the region. Our 4th and yes, final blast starts this afternoon and lasts into Thursday. But thankfully (for those of you that hate the cold) the month will end on a warmer note. Right now our forecast high for January 31st is 40 degrees. While that is still below the average high for the date in the mid 40s, it is above freezing. And, if you care, the Groundhog will be making his spring outlook on Sunday.