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Mild interlude before the chill

After a cold start this morning (15 degrees at the UMW weather station) temperatures will climb into the upper 40s under clear skies and westerly winds. Tomorrow, a holiday Monday for many, will be even warmer with highs in the low 50s. Thus it will be a nice mid-January break to enjoy activities around Fredericksburg whether inside or out.

Then we have to pay the piper…the frigid one, that is. Tuesday will feature the passage of another Arctic front through the ‘Burg. In addition an upper level shortwave – a clipper system – will interact with this front to form a “wrinkle” along it that shows up as the low pressure center (red “L”) near Wilmington NC on this forecast graphic for Tuesday at 7 a.m.:99fndfd_init_2014011900This combination will create a decent chance for widespread light snow Tuesday, with the emphasis on “light” as the models indicate only an inch of accumulation.

The problem won’t be the amount of snow as much as the timing since it looks like the precipitation will begin during the morning rush hours and end during the afternoon rush. Thus it could be a tough call for schools and other activities that are attuned to inclement weather. Another couple of model runs should give more definition to times and amounts but I don’t expect much change from the current forecast.

And then: C-O-L-D!! We are in for an extended period of below normal temperatures with little respite for ten days or so. Air from the frozen north will settle in over the East Coast to remind us that winter in the ‘Burg means cold weather. Better haul those hats, scarves, gloves, and parkas back out of the closet as well as protecting household water pipes and checking antifreeze levels and tire pressures in your vehicles!

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