From the ABC 7 Weather team

Watch Out Washington D.C. Cold Spell-Moving in Today

January 6, 2014 - 11:30 AM
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Some of the coldest air we have seen in two decades is knocking on our doorstep and arriving today.

And here we go. The weather is about to get dangerously cold as we continue through your Monday. A very strong arctic cold front swept through the region this morning unleashing cold air into the Mid-Atlantic in the wake of its passage. Here was a look at temperatures as the cold front marches east at 9:00AM this morning. Through the day today, temperatures will drop and the winds will kick up due to the front exiting the region and high pressure building into the area. 

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Eventually, a prolonged period of gusty winds will ensue, moving west sustained at 15-25 mph and gusting up to 35 mph. Unfortunately these winds will stick with us through Tuesday evening so bitter cold conditions will remain in our forecast for the next 30+ hours. Considering the temperatures will drop into the single digits tonight and barely make it into the mid-teens tomorrow, we have to talk about wind chill values. Wind chill advisories and wind chill warnings are in place across the listening area.

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Here is one model’s interpretation of wind chill values at 8PM tonight. Wind chill values will start to slip below zero west of the DC area (along the I-81 corridor) this afternoon and by the evening hours, DC will start to slip below zero for wind chill values. The coldest period for all locations will likely come afternoon midnight and stick with us through early tomorrow morning. Most, if not all locations will stay below zero for the wind chill factor through the day on Tuesday and winds will continue to be gusty.

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This is some of the coldest air we have seen in sometime. Taking you back to January 1994, on the 19th of that year, temperatures dipped down to 8 degrees for a daytime high with an overnight low of -4 degrees. Since then, the closest we have been to being THAT cold was February 4th, 1996 when temperatures in Washington, D.C. were at 17 for a daytime high and 9 for an overnight low. There is a good chance that some local airports could break temperature records, mainly daytime high records on Tuesday but we will come very close to breaking the record lows for Tuesday at both Dulles and Reagan National Airport.

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Our forecast low for the DC area Monday night into Tuesday is 9 degrees, so we will be very close to the record low of 5 degrees in DC (set in 1884). By the time we head through the day on Tuesday, daytime highs should only reach about 15 degrees which could break a record from 1878 with a temperature of only 18 degrees. By Tuesday night into Wednesday, wind will start to calm as high pressure centers itself over the Carolinas and temperatures will begin to go up on Wednesday to around 30 degrees. There IS light at the end of the tunnel though! Temperatures should be well above normal by the end of the weekend! We are talking possibly mid-50s in spots! So, make sure to bundle up over the next 30 hours and brace yourselves for some of the cold air we have seen in two decades.

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