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Happy Easter

The Next Few Days:
It's been over three weeks since I've made a post, so I figured it was high time I made another one.

Very thin bands of rain showers have developed over the region in response to energy upstream in the Ohio River valley diving southeastward over the Appalachian Mountains. These showers are part of the same weather system that has brought over 40 tornadoes to the Midwest over the last three days.

Scattered light showers will continue overnight and into tomorrow morning before upper level energy swings around the base of another upper low near Newfoundland. Depending on how the said energy moves around the upper low to the north, showers may continue through the day tomorrow, or come to an end around 8 or 9 AM north of DC. Whatever happens, however, bring the umbrella along if you're heading out anytime tomorrow.

By Monday evening, drier surface and midlevel air will slide into the region, scouring out any remaining showers and cloud cover.
By Lee Carlaw On Saturday, March 25, 2006 At 6:35 PM

Drought Woes Increasing

Dry Stretch of Weather:
Over the past few weeks, an excessive drought has developed over the a majority of the East Coast, and weather records indicate the last time measurable precipitation fell over the region was about 20 days ago on March 2nd (which registered only .03 inches of liquid at National).

The Climate Prediction Center's "Drought Monitor" is registering abnormally dry conditions over much of coastal New England and the Mid Atlantic, which severe drought is expanding to the southwest. (That would probably explain why my backyard is dominated by a malignant brown grass.)

While sporadic chances of rain and snow are in the forecast over the next two or three days, coverage should be minimal, and precip totals would likely amount to less than a tenth of an inch.

That said, expect a 30ish percent chance of a sprinkle or two tomorrow, with a little better chance of precip on Saturday, especially east of the I-95 corridor.

Dust-Bowl out west
And while it may seem like our mini-drought is bad enough here, the drought taking place out in Oklahoma is much worse. The entire state has been declared a Natural Disaster Area by the US Department of Agriculture due to the extreme drought taking place in the Central Midwest.
By Lee Carlaw On Thursday, March 23, 2006 At 6:41 PM

Thoughts of Snow Douse Spring Fever

Spring arrives at 1:26 this afternoon (when something called the vernal equinox occurs), but with cloudy skies and cool temperatures, spring fever will be put on hold for awhile. A developing storm system to our southwest will continue sliding northeastward through today and tonight.

Temperatures should fall into the lower 30s before precipitation moves into the region tomorrow morning. Snow showers will progress across the region in a southwest to northeast fashion between 7 and 10 AM.

Time permitting, I may be able to get a snowfall map out later today, but don't count on it. Because temperatures over the past few days have been sitting in the upper 40s/near 50, road temperatures are well above freezing, which should inhibit snowfall accumulation on the major arteries. However, secondary roads will likely become slick through the afternoon, but snowfall accumulations should stay under 1 or 2 inches on the back roads.

The NWS seems to have a good handle on this situation, and explains in their Forecast Discussion that the Precip forecasts would justify a few inches of snowfall accumulations (like 4 or 5" if taken literally), but mitigating factors like road surface temperatures and above-freezing surface temps should keep totals down around 1-2 inches. Out west, however, where temperatures should be a bit cooler, snow accumulation may eclipse 3 inches in some locations.

Image above: Satellite Picture showing a developing baroclinic leaf in the central US.
By Lee Carlaw On Monday, March 20, 2006 At 10:16 AM

Winter 'Aint Over

A reminder of Winter
A weak wave of upper level energy will zip overhead tonight and tomorrow, which should spread rain showers into the area. After midnight or so, the surface should have cooled sufficiently to allow snow showers to dust the region with March's first snowfall. Accumulations will mostly be confined to grassy and elevated surfaces (the roads should remain fine).

Another, more intense area of low pressure should make an appearance later next week. Surface temperatures will once again be marginal for accumulating snowfall, but it's interesting we can go from sunny, 80 degree days, to snowy, 40 degree days in less than a week.

Electric Bill Woes:
As 9 News reports on its website: "For Marylanders, Summer Could Be Hot, Dark And Expensive," tensions between lawmakers and electric company's have begun to strain. Pepco is reporting:

Due to significant increases in the cost of fuels used to generate electricity, the average monthly electric bill for Maryland residential customers will increase by about 38.5 percent, or $39.00; residential bills will rise from an average of $101.29 today to an average of $140.29 once the June 1 price increases are fully reflected in customer bills.

BGE electric will also increase rated by nearly 80% come summer, which is an extra $800 a year.

Furthermore, if this summer turns out hotter than normal, further strains will be placed on the electric company's to supply power to the Capital Region residents.

Source: PEPCO and WUSA9 NEWS
By Lee Carlaw On Thursday, March 16, 2006 At 10:32 AM

Wow, It's Kind of Hot

Weather Record

Did you think it was warm yesterday? Well, a record high of 78 degrees was set today at Reagan National Airport, breaking the previous record of 77 set back in 1964.

Tonight and Tomorrow:
Clouds will continue to stream in from the north and west as the sun sets, associated with a diving Canadian trough. Low temperatures should remain in the lower 50s for the most part as daytime radiation gets trapped under the cloud cover. A small, 20 or 30 percent chance of an isolated shower will persist through the night.

Tomorrow, a warm front will lift north of the region, allowing the temperatures to once again soar past 70. Any showers (or thunderstorms) that develop tomorrow should be few and far between, but be aware there will be a small chance of showers tomorrow afternoon.

Is Winter really over?
I have been cautious to post the "winter cancel" messages even with the prospect of 70+ degree weather for an extended period of time. Lo and behold, the GFS, NOGAPS and Canadian models all show some signs that would point towards another cold and snowy period developing late next week. Granted, the synoptics and upper-air pattern are not ideal for a major snowstorm, but GFS precip progs are impressive to say the least.

Surface temperatures would most likely inhibit snowfall accumulations (but it would be nice to see some snow before winter shuts its doors).
By Lee Carlaw On Friday, March 10, 2006 At 5:32 PM

Evening Update

Tonight and Tomorrow:
A small 30 or 40 percent chance of showers will persist through the night a developing low pressure system throws a warm front our way. By early afternoon, the said warm front should have pushed north of the region, conveniently placing us in the warm sector, as winds swing around to the southwest, and draw warm, tropical air into the Mid Atlantic. High temperatures tomorrow will likely break 60, and a few readings around 65-69 wouldn't be too surprising.

By Friday morning, a cold front will near the Appalachian Mountains, and the chance of showers (and a few thunderstorms) will increase once again. Any showers/thunderstorms that manage to develop will be few and far between, which is why precip chances are relatively low (around 30 or 40 percent).

Image: Precip Forecast from the MM5 Model valid Friday afternoon
By Lee Carlaw On Wednesday, March 08, 2006 At 8:41 PM

Windy Weekend Weather - Spring in Sight?

Today was just one of those days when you either wanted to be inside drinking some hot chocolate and watching a little basketball, or bundled-up outside enjoying the crystal clear skies. For those that chose the latter route, there was no denying the fact that it was kind of windy today. Gusts to 30 or 40 mph were not uncommon, which brought the wind chill down around freezing for most of the day. A high temperature of 47 will go in the books for Washington, DC which is about 5 degrees below normal.

Tonight and Tomorrow:
Winds will subside somewhat tonight, although it will still remain breezy. Temperatures will drop into the mid to upper 20s under clear skies, while wind chills plummet into the teens.

Tomorrow, winds will once again increase towards sunrise (Gusts 15-25 mph) as temperatures rise into the upper 40s.

High cirrus clouds should begin overspreading the region late tomorrow afternoon and towards nightfall as a clipper-like system drops down from Canada.

How we stand on Snowfall this Season:
With meteorological spring underway, I decided to take a look back at snowfall around the region for the Winter of 2005-2006.

At Reagan National Airport in Southeastern DC:
Observed Snowfall: 13.6"
This time Last year: 12.5"
30-Year Average: 15.2"
Departure from Normal:

At Dulles International Airport in Loudon, County:
Observed Snowfall: 14.7"
This time Last year: 17.3"
30-Year Average: 21.2"
Departure from Normal:

At Baltimore/Washington International Airport:
Observed Snowfall: 19.6"
This time Last year: 18.0"
30-Year Average: 18.2"
Departure from Normal:

To the snow-lovers around the region, it may appear as if this winter has not lived up to forecasts (probably due to the fact that no snow fell during January), but in reality, this winter has been "average," and will likely verify within most long-range predictions.

Talk About the Weather:
Weather guru's Justin Berk and Tony Pann (from 9NEWS) will duke it out tomorrow on the popular Weather-Talk Radio show in Baltimore, MD. This weeks topic is Global Warming and a few other things:

Will the models bust on this weeks storm?
The rumors of a large trough and east coast storm in early March.
7 Day Battle
Week in Review
Weather Music Posted online After This Show

Tune in tomorrow at 3:05-4:00 PM at 680 AM or, stream the show from this link.
By Lee Carlaw On Saturday, March 04, 2006 At 6:49 PM
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