It seems that this winter of 2012-13 excels at swinging upper level troughs through the eastern U.S. accompanied by wrinkles – small low pressure systems – in the upper air flow that we designate as Alberta Clippers. These fast-moving quick hitters are typically starved of Gulf moisture and have to make do with the little bit they can squeeze out of the cold air that accompanies them, leading to bursts of either heavy flurries or light snow (depending on how you look at it). That is exactly what hit the ‘Burg early this morning with a trace of snow while areas closer to DC saw an inch or so. And typically behind these Clippers follows a cold and blustery airmass, so today (Friday) will be cold with a high in the low 30s and winds gusting over 30 mph. That will lead to wind chills that…well, let’s not talk about it.
After a frigid start in the teens Saturday won’t be much warmer than today as yet another Clipper approaches with a potential for more snow showers overnight into Sunday morning. The air temperatures behind this next system will take a few hours to bottom out so Sunday’s high should reach into the low 40s before plummeting again, leading to a cold start to next week. But then the pattern changes a bit and the frigid Arctic air retreats northward for a couple of weeks or so. It won’t be tropical but according to the Climate Prediction Center February will be close to normal temperatures, which typically begin the month as highs in low 40s and end the month with highs in the low 50s. Here’s the forecast graphic for February:
The first half of the month – through Valentine’s Day – may actually be a bit warmer than average.
The next bit of news is that Virginia may have clawed its way out of the drought situation we were facing not long ago. This graphic shows that as of this past Tuesday less than 25% of the Old Dominion was facing drought conditions:
Of course this was generated before Wednesday’s rains so I would expect the next week’s graphic to indicate almost all the drought to be erased. Let’s hope that situation continues to improve for the sake of all of us Virginians.
Meanwhile bundle up today!