Gusty Winds Today followed by Hard Freeze Tonight;Watching Friday Morning Closely for Possible Light Freezing Rain

Washington Monument, March 23, 2010; photo by Christopher Rines

A strong cold front will slide south across the Washington Region late this morning producing wind gusts between 35 and 45 mph. Temperatures currently starting out in the 50s will slide into the middle 40s in Washington as cold air advection fights the effects of daytime heating behind the cold front.  How cold will it fall along the Tidal Basin tonight?

The image below (NOAA) shows 52% of the United States population being impacted by temperatures at or below 35 degrees through Tuesday morning. Obviously we will be well above 35 degrees for daytime highs… this image is just showing how far-reaching the “chill” will be felt during today’s blast of cold air especially across the Northeast corridor between Northern Virginia and Boston.

High temperatures today were reached at midnight (image below: WxBell).  Temps will slowly fall today under the influence of cold air advection once the cold front passes through our area later this morning.

As the sun sets this evening winds will begin to relax as high pressure continues to build in across the Capital Region.  The pre-dawn hours will be critical along the Tidal Basin as light or even calm winds will allow temperatures to tank. Latest European forecast model continues to suggest lower to middle 20s across much of the DC Metropolitan Area:

  • If the latest European forecast model is accurate, it show’s downtown DC dropping to 26 degrees, just above that critical threshold of “24”. Excellent news for the cherry blossoms if this verifies! 

A warm front will approach the DC Region on Friday morning.  Warm air will advect over the cooler air at the surface potentially touching off some light freezing rain or freezing drizzle across the far northwestern sections of our region (image below is from the latest run of the European operational model).

Currently the majority of the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) members (1 through 20 below) currently keep our region dry on Friday morning.  Will be watching future runs of the short-term high resolution models to see if any trends develop (ie a shift further south with possible freezing drizzle/rain or a dry solution). 

Have a great Wednesday… stay warm. 

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