From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for November 2014

Warming Up on Monday but Uncertainty Comes Mid-Next Week

November 21, 2014 - 02:33 PM

Get ready for a warm up-and I believe that is something we can all latch on to given the bitterly cold air more normal for January that moved into our area of the last week. However, after some evening rain on Sunday, we will warm up nicely on Monday – into the lower 70s in some spots!

Caption: Temperatures warm to around 70 degrees on Monday

However, a cold front will sweep on through on Monday night into Tuesday morning and that will gradually bring an end to our mini warm up. Tuesday should be a fairly quiet day as temperatures will still top out in the mid to upper 50s with sunshine however, as we head into Wednesday, we could see some changes.
Since this is several days away, the forecast confidence is low for mid next week but given it is one of the busiest travel days of the year, I want to go ahead and tell you what we’re looking it. Temperatures will continue to fall below normal on Wednesday and Thursday (Thanksgiving)-most likely topping out in the mid to upper 40s.

The frontal system that passes through the area on Tuesday morning will stall out off the eastern seaboard. The models are hinting at an area of low pressure forming along the stalled frontal boundary and moving north along it. The question will remain: how close to the coast can that area of low pressure get? If we see a shift westward, then we could have some rain/snow along the eastern seaboard on Wednesday (D.C. area included). However, if it keeps veering out to sea, there is a good chance of not seeing anything expect a dry day here. Obviously this will be something we continue to watch as we head into next week.

As far as the rest of the U.S. is concerned for travel, there are no major storms across the region mid-next week. There could be a clipper system that dives southeast out of northwestern Canada that could bring some light snow showers to the Great Lakes region and Upper Plains (this could include any Chicago airports) – however, any snow associated with that looks to be light.

Until then, just enjoy the weekend and we’ll keep an eye on the weather!

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Voracious sunspot could impact us on Earth

November 20, 2014 - 10:22 AM

When the sunspot faced Earth last month it was the largest one on record in nearly a quarter century. What impacts could it have on us and is there anything we can do to prepare for it? Check out my one-on-one interview with NASA Solar Astrophysicist Dr. Alex Young.

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Record cold across the D.C. area Wednesday morning

November 19, 2014 - 11:07 AM

Record lows were broken at both Dulles and BWI Marshall last night. Dulles broke the record of 20F set back in 1990 by 7 degrees as the location plunged to 13F this morning. BWI Marshall broke its record of 20F set in 1936 as they dropped to 19F this morning. Reagan National, which hasn't broken any record lows between November and March since 1996 was close, but still failed to break the record of 18F this morning as it only fell to 22F.

Record Lows at Dulles and BWI Marshall Wednesday morning

 A number of other records were broken across the country this morning as well. Here are a few cities that also broke or tied low temperature records. You can find a bigger list of all kinds of records from the NWS here.

Elkins, WV: 12F (Old record 14F-1990)

Richmond, VA: 18F (Tied 1936)

Philadelphia, PA: 20F (Tied 1936)

Morgantown, WV: 16F (Old record 19F-1989)

Charleston, SC: 23F (Old record 27F-1949)

Savannah, GA: 26F (Old record 27F-2008)

Jacksonville, FL: 27F (Old record 28F-2008)

New Orleans, LA: 31F (Tied-1946)

While it was freezing in the central and eastern U.S., the opposite is happening in parts of Alaska, with record highs broken in both Anchorage and Nome yesterday.

Temperatures will begin to moderate tomorrow as they settle back into the mid 40s, but another brief cold push is expected Friday before a milder weekend ahead. Just to put this cold in perspective, today will be the earliest day with highs below 40 degrees at Reagan National since 1996. Basically, this is the coldest it's been this early in the season in 18 years. I don't think anyone I've spoken to has missed the cold!

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Arctic Blast Brings Record Challenging Temperatures Tonight and Wednesday

November 18, 2014 - 08:49 AM

Today's bitter arctic blast brought us the coldest air of the season so far and beats last week's cold by about ten degrees. D.C. dropped down into the 20s for the first time and wind chill temperatures were down in the the teens and even single digits in a few spots.

Lows this Morning

Believe it or not, our high temperature actually happened at midnight with 42 degrees and then plummeting temperatures through sunrise. This afternoon will recover a bit, but temperatures only warm a few notches in the low to mid 30s. That is more typical of January temperatures! And it isn't just the temperatures making it feel unreasonably cold. Gusty winds will keep our wind chill factor in the 20s all day long. Wind gusts will reach 25 to 30mph at times. Here's a look at ABC7's computer model forecast wind chill temperatures this afternoon.

Forecast Wind Chill this Afternoon

The wind will diminish after sunset, so that will help, but clear skies means a cold night ahead. Record lows are in jeopardy tonight. The record low for Dulles is 20. I'm expecting to meet or just break that record. Reagan National's record low is 18, and I think we'll miss that by just a few.

Lows Wednesday Morning

Additional records may be set Wednesday afternoon. Highs will only reach the low to mid 30s. We could have the coldest high temperature on record for the date. Here at the stats for that.

Record Cold Highs Wednesday?

By Thursday, we start a slow recovery with temperatures back in the 40s. A dry cold front will pass our area, but won't bring the temperatures down too much more on Friday. For those of you hating on the cold, we'll reach near average temps in the mid 50s late this weekend and should easily top 60 on Monday. The warmer temperatures won't stop there.


6-10 Day Temperature Probability

The 6-10 day outlook has much above average temperatures for the Mid-Atlantic and that should last into the first part of December. Hang in there!

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Chilly Rain Monday Then Bitter Blast Tuesday

November 16, 2014 - 04:47 PM

Grab the umbrella and rain coat Monday morning and allow for some extra time for the AM commute.  Rain, and even some sleet, started falling Sunday evening and rain will continue, on and off, through late Monday afternoon.  Even though there were reports of sleet at the onset of precipitation, temperatures will remain above freezing for the duration of the wet weather, so it will be an all rain event.

Here's a radar simulation at 7 AM Monday.  Notice the wide shield of rain overhead.  Expect extra delays for the morning rush, so be prepared.

The rain is coming from an area of low pressure currently over the deep south.  This low will track northeastward overnight and tomorrow bringing ample moisture.  Between .75-1.00" of rain is expected.  Here's a larger view of our weather story.

The bulk of the moisture should be out of the region by the evening commute.  Winds will begin to shift out of the NW drawing in another very cold airmass.  Temperatures will tumble quickly Monday night into the lower 30s.  The gusty winds should help dry the roads, but icy spots are possible Tuesday morning.  Even during the afternoon, highs will struggle to reach the freezing marks in spots.

Temperatures will be nearly 20° colder than average for this time of year.  And it's not just us dealing with the bitter cold.  The map below shows the temperature departure from average.  The blue and purple colors indicate temperatures 20-30° below average. 

WxBell GFS Output

If the cold wasn't enough, winds will be howling between 25-35 mph Tuesday.  That means wind chills will be in teens and 20s during the day.  Here's an hourly forecast of the "feels like" temperature on Tuesday.

Winds will gradually diminish late Tuesday night, but the cold air sticks around Wednesday with highs, again, in the mid 30s.  Temperatures will rebound slightly by the end of the week and into next week, but will still be well below our average of 58°.

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Fun Weather Facts: Just How Cold & Snowy Has It Been?

November 15, 2014 - 06:35 PM

*A total of 28.5% of the U.S. is currently covered by snow compared to 5.8% last year at this time.

Current Snow Depth
Current Snow Depth

*In the last 11 years, only November 2012 comes closest to snow coverage seen so far this month when 20.1% of the Lower 48 was covered by snow.

Current Snow Depth
Current Snow Depth
*Snowfall coverage (snow extent in thousands of square kilometers) across North America in September was the highest since records began in 1966 and eighth highest in October.
Current Snow Depth *Snowfall coverage (snow extent in thousands of square kilometers) in northern Asia (Eurasia) last month was the second highest since records began in 1966.
Current Snow Depth *In the last 24-hours, there was a 103 degree temperature spread across the U.S. The high Friday hit 84 at Death Valley, CA and today’s morning low was -19 in Jordan, MT & Dunn Center, ND..

*There have been more cold record highs set this month in the U.S. than warm record highs.

Current Snow Depth *Lake Superior (largest of the Great Lakes) and Lake Michigan’s water temperatures are below average; the remainder of the Great Lakes currently are seeing near average water temperatures.

Be sure to get the latest forecast for the Washington area by clicking here.

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A Cold Wet Rain Could End as Snow on Monday

November 14, 2014 - 12:46 PM

If you didn’t think the cold weather was here with yesterday’s daytime high temperatures topping out in the 40s, I am sure you were reminded how winter has paid us an early visit with the first flakes of the season Thursday evening. Not everybody saw the light flurries; some people experienced some sleet as well! Any precipitation last night quickly changed to rain but it was a reminder that this forecast is more reminiscent of a December or January forecast as opposed to a mid-November forecast. Either way, we will have yet another reminder of winter paying us an early visit as we start off the next work week.

Winds will continue to die down through the evening so we are expecting light winds during the overnight. Light winds and clear skies means those temperatures are going to drop.


Caption: Overnight lows Friday overnight

We will start off on the chilly side on Saturday as arctic high pressure builds right overhead. Temperatures will manage to make it into the low to mid 40s. So if you are headed to College Park on Saturday night, watch for temperatures falling through the lower 30s during the Maryland/Michigan State game. Clouds will increase on Sunday ahead of our next system with temperatures warming to around 50 degrees! That means we are looking good for the Redskins vs. Tampa Bay game at Fed Ex – just some clouds but remaining dry.

After midnight on Sunday, all bets are off. An area of low pressure will move out of the Gulf of Mexico and to the northeast along a cold front. It will gain some energy from a few disturbances moving out of the Great Lakes region as well as the Midwest.


We could see a little wintry mix at the onset after midnight on Sunday well north and west of D.C. but this is mainly going to be a cold rain event for the WJLA viewing area all day on Monday with the influence of warm air at all levels of the atmosphere. And FYI, it will most likely rain both during the morning AND evening commutes.



Caption: Monday afternoon, snow stays well west with rain (green) around the region.

As that low moves off the coast into the evening hours, there is a chance the rain could quickly change to some light snow as cold air surges in from the west. Not expecting any accumulation around the D.C. area as that low will quickly move to the north and east, taking the precipitation with it.
After the precip moves out Monday night, another arctic high pressure will move in advancing even colder air into the region. Daytime highs on Tuesday and Wednesday may not make it out of the 30s!

Good news is, the Climate Prediction Center has our temperatures moving back towards normal (mid to upper 50s) by Thanksgiving week so there is an end in sight!




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Arctic cold front moves through D.C. midweek

November 10, 2014 - 12:23 PM

Enjoy the mild temperatures while they last this afternoon through Wednesday, as unfortunately they won't hang around much longer. Conditions will remain very quiet and mild through Tuesday.

Wednesday will continue to be mild but a strong cold front is expected to enter the region, with gusty winds up to 20-25 mph and cooling temperatures through the afternoon and evening. After highs in the mid 60s Wednesday, morning low temperatures should be in the 20s and 30s by this Thursday.

Comparison of forecast 850mb temperatures this evening (left) and Thursday evening (Right) Courtesy: College of Dupage Models

For the tail end of the work week into the weekend, temperatures should hang in the 40s. The current forecast depicts highs in the upper 40s Thursday, low to mid 40s Friday and mid to upper 40s for the weekend. There is a chance the 50 degree mark may be reached on Sunday ahead of another cold push returning temperatures in the 40s possibly Monday through Friday of next week.

ECMWF Forecast Temperature Anomaly Friday afternoon (Courtesy: WeatherBell Models)

While this isn't statistically qualifying as extreme cold, it will be unseasonably cold for this time of year with highs forecast to be on the order of 10 to 15 degrees below average. In addition, Reagan National is yet to record a high temperature below 50 degrees this fall, and hasn't experienced a prolonged period of sub 50 degree days since March 24-26 when highs topped out at 43, 36 and 39 degrees and 1.7" of snow fell during the time period.

Speaking of snow, there has been talk about the potential for some flakes in the forecast over the past few days. As of our current forecast, the best possibility will be Thursday night into Friday morning mainly south and east of the city as a weak area of low pressure develops off the Virginia/North Carolina coastline. The best possibility to see any flakes would be closer to the Middle Peninsula of Virginia and points south and east. This system looks moisture-starved and too far east to affect the D.C. Metro at this time.

500mb heights and vorticity forecast for Sunday showing the next trough and energy allowing for the next better chance for precipitation (Courtesy: College of Dupage Models)

A stronger area of low pressure looks to develop for the latter part of the weekend on Sunday bringing with it an additional chance for precipitation, but at the moment it appears to be in the wet variety rather than white. We will of course keep you informed throughout the week of any forecast changes.

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Cold Air Headed Our Way after Remnants of Nuri Hits Alaska

November 7, 2014 - 12:01 PM

After a windy Friday, we will settle nicely through the 50s for the weekend. The weekend forecast looking great! We may have a few clouds and a sprinkle here or there Saturday evening into Sunday morning, but for the most part, we are looking at sunshine!


Nice weather will continue into the beginning of next week as a weak area of high pressure moves into the region. Temperatures will rebound back into the low 60s for a period of time before another cold front pushes through the region by mid next week. After that, big changes are on the way to our area.

Remember that Super Typhoon Nuri that I was harping about in my last blog? Well it is barreling down on the western coast of Alaska and the Bering Sea as it has now formed into a cold core low that is a very powerful storm. Most likely, one of the most powerful storms we have seen in 2014 and one of the most powerful storms to hit Alaska in decades. This storm could actually be a record breaker in that it could break the lowest atmospheric pressure recorded in Alaska. The old record was 925mb (millibars) that was measured in October of 1977 in the Dutch Harbor (off the southern coast of Alaska).



Alaska will take a brutal hit from this storm this weekend with hurricane force winds, very high seas and heavy precipitation. As it stalls out during the end of the weekend and into early next week in the central Bering Sea, it will weaken significantly knocking down the odds of a large coastal flood event of the mainland of Alaska. However, this storm will have an effect on our weather around the continental United States as it causes a ripple effect for the jet stream.

Okay, let’s all calm down about a polar vortex (yes, I am talking about my friends around the country in the media). THE POLAR VORTEX IS ALWAYS THERE! I want to face palm myself every time I hear that (which has been about 40 times on social media and on TV in about 30 mins on this Friday morning). Here is a simple reminder:



With that being said, yes we are going to get chilly towards the end of next week. Why? Well in simplest terms – behind a cold front that will cross through mid-week, a strong arctic high will build across the region and this little blast of chilly air is most likely due from the remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri as that storm will continue to pump warm air into the atmosphere in the western North America, surging cold air down across the United States.


Cold air will filter out of the northern plains and continue to trek into the Midwest at the beginning of next week. As we head into the end of the work we and once that frontal system moves through and high pressure slides eastward across the United States, we are looking at temperatures around the D.C. area below average for this time of year.




Caption: Cold air filters out of the Northern Plains on Tuesday afternoon.



Caption: Cold air slides to the east coast by Friday as an Arctic High travels eastward across the United States.

Our average temperature towards the end of next week will top out in the upper 50s; however, we will most likely fall into the 40s by the end of next week. So we are not too chilly but chilly enough to take notice! And just a note, we have generally already fallen into the 40s in the D.C. area by this time so we have some work to do to catch up!

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Super Typhoon Nuri and How It Can Effect D.C. Weather

November 5, 2014 - 04:15 PM

How much are you enjoying this taste of spring in November? Or would you rather like to keep your winter jackets on with cold air over us? Well, this is the first time I can honestly say we can make everyone happy with the weather forecast. For at least the next 10 days as we get a taste of both mild air and cool air thanks to the remnants of an incredible storm that will reshape near the western coast of Alaska by Friday.


Caption: NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible picture of Typhoon Nuri on November 4th at 11:10p.m. EST as clouds (newly developed thunderstorms) replace the original eyewall.

In the short term, expect rain to roll across the region Wednesday night continuing through the first part of Thursday as a cold front finally works its way through the region. There will be another cold front that will swing through Thursday evening that could produce a few more isolated showers but for the most part, we will just be concerned with the winds and the cool air that will follow the front on Thursday night.

By Friday, temperatures will only rise into the 50s for daytime highs after only topping out in the upper 60s/lower 70s for the last few days.


We look to stay in the 50s before another warm up into the 60s by the middle of next week followed by another cool down by the end of next week: a rollercoaster of temperatures if you will. And of course, this sounds like something we speak of almost every single month, no matter the season. However, for this forecast – there is an interesting addition to the puzzle. That piece of the puzzle is about 805 miles south of Tokyo, Japan today.

Super Typhoon Nuri is one heck of a storm. This is one of the most impressive and most powerful cyclones that has developed in the western Pacific in 2014. Not only did this storm reach the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane but it kept winds going at 180 mph for at least 24 hours with a minimum pressure recorded of 910mb!


Wednesday afternoon, Typhoon Nuri moved to the northeast at 12 mph weakening as it migrates to the east of Japan entering into an area with pretty high vertical wind shear, ripping it apart as it travels. It is also moving into colder water, cutting off its moisture and supply feed. However, with that being said, the eventual remnants of Nuri will continue to move through open waters and towards the western coast of Alaska and the Bering Sea, reintensifiying as it navigates to the north and east becoming a storm-force cold core area of low pressure.



Caption: The European Model shows the strong area of low pressure off the coast of Alaska with a forecast barometric pressure of 920mb.

By the time it reaches the Bering Sea and the western Alaska, the pressure is forecast to drop from about 970mb on Thursday night to between 918mb and 922mb on Friday night (the lower the pressure means the more intense the storm). In fact, the lowest pressure storm (obviously we are not talking about a tropical storm here) observed in the Bering Sea was on October 25th, 1977 where a storm by the Dutch Harbor (the islands the roll southwest off the southern part of Alaska) dropped to 925mb in pressure! *To give you a little comparison: the minimum barometric pressure of Hurricane Katrina’s second landfall was 920mb – which is the third strongest to make landfall*

(For all the weather nerds out there *I am obviously one so I welcome you with open arms*: The extreme drop in pressure will be due to the very cold air at the surface interacting with the warm air from Nuri aloft. This will make for a fast-moving wind surrounded by slower moving air that will eventually create a bombing out or an extreme deepening of that low-dropping the pressure rapidly).

Since this is such a powerful and impressive storm, we are talking about hurricane force winds for Alaska on both Friday and Saturday as well as seas that could reach more than 45 feet with abundant precipitation! Good news is that this low will weaken steadily through the end of the weekend and the middle of next week as it drifts slowly to the east.

However, all this energy has to go somewhere and generally when we see these types of situation, we can see effects across portions of North America as that energy gets pulled into the North Pacific jet stream. All in all, as the storm moved through the open waters of the Pacific, on its way to Alaska, it was already doing its deed and amplifying the longwave pattern downstream across North America. And what does that mean exactly? Well the remnants of Nuri will impact our weather forecast across the continental United States


Caption: As the remnants of Nuri effects Alaska, we cool down quite a bit on the eastern seaboard with heavy snow and much cooler temperatures expected in the northern plains.

And back to our rollercoaster temperatures here on the east coast. While we are warming up here over the last few days with high pressure pumping in some nice southerly air, we will be cooling down as a front dives our way for Thursday. We look to stay cool through the weekend before yet another frontal system comes through on Saturday into Sunday. Warming up into mid next week, we cool down once again by the end of next week.


Caption: A look a daytime highs possible next Friday are significantly cooler around the D.C. area.

While I think we will see minimal effects here in Washington D.C. that anybody will just chalk up to “regular weather changes,” it is very interesting to think that everything is connected in the weather world. A storm in the western Pacific could eventually impact our weather no more than 10 days later.

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November weather in the D.C. area

November 4, 2014 - 12:23 PM

The sunset is around 5pm, our average high temperatures are only in the 60s to start the month and in the low 50s to end the month, and the duration of daylight sinks below 10 hours. Typically, I do not look forward to any of those statistics. And after last winter with over 30 inches of snow reported at Reagan National, I am not hoping for more of the white stuff any time soon. 

If November continues like today and tomorrow with highs around the 70 degree mark you wouldn't hear any complaints for me. Statistically speaking, however, that is entirely unlikely, as the average high temperature drops to 59 degrees by November 12th. The first and second of the month started out below average in the 50s, but we are still waiting for our first day with highs below 50 degrees at Reagan National. That day has already come in four of the past five years.

Earliest days below 50 degrees at Reagan National over the past 5 years

Daylight continues to diminish from ten hours and thirty-two minutes on the first of the month to nine hours and forty minutes by November 30. The sunrise on November 30 is at 7:07am and the sunset is at 4:47pm. We will only lose one more minute of daylight at night into December, with the earliest sunset at 4:46pm from December 2 through December 12.

Veterans Day Snowfall in 1987

As far as snowfall is concerned, Reagan National has not recorded more than a trace of snow since November 14, 1996 when 0.2" fell. In fact, the month only averages 0.5". This doesn't mean we can't have a big snow, as on Veteran's Day in 1987, D.C. recorded 11.5". That is not only a daily snow record for November, but also the record snow for the month.

8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

Current 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center are showing temperatures forecast to be below normal, but at this time it does not appear that snow will be in the 7-day through the middle of the month. I guess only time will tell how the rest of the month pans out!

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First Freeze of the Season Possible Sunday Night

November 1, 2014 - 05:12 PM

A deep trough over the eastern U.S. has brought colder than average temperatures for the first of November.  In fact, some folks in the Carolina's had their first snow of the season!  Check out this view in South Carolina earlier today:


No snow for us, but gusty winds will be the main story. The deepening low off the Carolina coast will ride north increasing our winds speeds.  Winds may gust between 30 and 40 mph through tomorrow late morning.  Air temperatures overnight will remain above freezing, but wind chill values will be at or below freezing, especially west of the city.  Here are simulated wind chills tomorrow morning:

As the low pulls farther northeast tomorrow, sunshine will return, but temperatures will only reach the upper 40s.  Keep in mind, winds will still be gusting to around 30mph through the afternoon keeping wind chills in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Winds will subside late Sunday and temperatures will tumble.  Here is a look at the forecast low temperatures by Monday morning.

D.C. will likely remain a few degrees above freezing; however, the growing season will likely end for folks west of the city with below freezing temperatures.

Fortunately, the cold snap will be short lived.  Highs by Monday afternoon will rebound to 60 degrees.

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