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Warm air for the weekend before Christmas

Yes, the calendar says that next Wednesday is Christmas…but don’t expect this weekend’s weather to reflect that. Despite the fact that astronomical winter begins Saturday (meteorological winter already began Dec. 1) temperatures will soar into the 60s today and Saturday in Fredericksburg. And on Sunday the thermometer will top out in the mid-70s!

All this is thanks to a high pressure system out over the Atlantic that is blocking the eastward progress of yet another frontal boundary, behind which cold air is parked over the western U.S. This high pressure system is funneling warm moist air into our area via southwesterly winds that will also result in some decent rainfall Sunday into Monday. In fact the conditions Sunday look to bring the possibility of thunderstorms into Fredericksburg, something unheard of three days before Christmas!! Although this is winter you will need to keep an eye on the sky for possible strong winds and lightning with these storms.

The cold front will finally make it through the ‘Burg Monday and by Tuesday – Christmas Eve – temperatures will struggle to rise out of the 30s. Christmas Day looks to be dry and seasonable with a high in the mid-40s.

Will this see-saw of warm and cold conditions continue this winter? Based on the large-scale weather pattern we have been experiencing since late October I would say yes. The Climate Prediction Center seems to agree with that conclusion given its temperature forecast graphic for January, which was released yesterday:

The forecast of “equal chances” of above and below normal temperatures tells me that the warm and cold roller coaster will likely continue through January, balancing out the extremes and providing “average” temperatures for the first month of 2014. The contrasts between the two regimes will make the weather changes difficult to adjust to…but it won’t be boring!!