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The Arctic will make its presence felt this week

It looks like today (Monday) will be a relatively nice January day with high temperatures reaching the upper 40s with southerly winds ahead of the approaching front.  High clouds have already invaded northern and northwestern Virginia and will reach the I-95 corridor over the next hour or two.  The clouds will thicken and lower as today progresses, and as the afternoon wears on I wouldn’t be surprised to see a scattered shower or flurry pop up around the ‘Burg even though the National Weather Service has removed the chances for snow showers from the forecast.

Then, the cold air door opens in the form of the Arctic cold front that will blast through the ‘Burg near the dinner hour.  The winds will swap around to the northwest and increase in intensity, gusting to 25 mph tonight and continuing quite strong through the day Tuesday.  Quoting from this morning’s NWS Sterling forecast discussion this will herald the entrance 0f “THE COLDEST AIRMASS IN SEVERAL YEARS”.  Temperatures will plummet tonight into the low 20s and then down to the teens Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with highs not reaching above the freezing mark until perhaps Thursday when the high temperature may briefly push above 32 degrees.  The lowered temperatures and winds will combine to create some eye-popping wind chill values that we haven’t seen around the ‘Burg for a while so be mindful to cover up bare skin when you’re outside to avoid frostbite.  Also if you have tender vegetation that could suffer from such cold you may want to protect it from the coming frigid regime.

After a brief “warm up” Thursday and Friday yet another lobe of Arctic air looks like it will swing through here over the coming weekend as shown in this European model graphic for Saturday evening:

In between these Arctic blasts a surface low pressure system will affect our area Thursday night and Friday.  It’s still too soon to tell exactly what that might mean for Fredericksburg but my concern is that we could be looking at an icing situation, something that I think neither snow lovers nor snow haters want to see.  We’ll have to keep an eye on that this week.  Meanwhile, bundle up!!