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Posted at 02:02 PM ET, 11/23/2012

Big cold front promises steep drop in temperatures, strong Saturday winds


Satellite image shows cold front advancing towards the East Coast earlier this morning (National Weather Service)
In Duluth, Minnesota, the mercury spiked to a record of 52 degrees Thanksgiving only to be followed by 3 inches of snow and frigid temperatures in the 20s today. In St. Louis yesterday it soared to 70, now it’s 36. Soon, it will be our turn to deal with this cold front’s wrath.

This evening the front will barrel through the D.C. region. We won’t have snow and we won’t have a 30 degree drop in temperatures. But, by tomorrow, it will be some 15-20 degrees colder, with highs struggling to reach the mid-40s. And when you factor in the wind, sustained at 15-25 mph, gusting to 30-35 mph, it will feel another 10 degrees colder than that.


Windy conditions Saturday! Differences in pressure drive wind. The coupling of low pressure to our northeast in Maine and high pressure to our southwest in east Texas will generate strong winds (from the northwest) over the Mid-Atlantic. This GFS model simulation indicates sustained winds of around 20 mph (moderate gray tones) over the D.C. metro region at 1 p.m. Saturday, with likely higher gusts. (WeatherBell.com)
That means wind chills will not rise out of the 30s Saturday and will dip into the 20s at times. Yes, we are in for quite a shock.

The combination of wind, dry air, and lack of precipitation even poses a wildfire threat in open areas says the National Weather Service:

THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND LOW FUEL MOISTURE WILL ENHANCE THE THREAT FOR THE SPREAD OF WILDFIRES SATURDAY.

Winds will settle some Saturday night, but with clear skies and the cold air mass in place, it will be the most bitter evening of the season thus far. Lows everywhere will drop into the 20s. Reagan National airport should log its first official freeze of the cold season.

By  |  02:02 PM ET, 11/23/2012

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