Highs in the low-to-mid 20s might usually be something of note, but we’re pros at this. Add in lighter winds through the day, plus plentiful sunshine mixed with bright snow… It’s not so bad, right? If you’re yearning for some time to thaw out, we’re on our way, but we have a frigid night followed by a day to try to rise near that ice-inducing mark of 32 first.
Through Tonight: This is a prime night for radiational cooling, especially in sheltered valleys that still have solid snow cover. With mostly clear skies and diminishing wind, temperatures dip all the way to near zero in the coldest of spots to perhaps low teens or so downtown. Everyone’s cold, but a big range type of night, with some fun microclimate differences. West winds around 5-10 early diminish toward quite light overnight.
Tomorrow (Thursday): We begin to climb out of the deep freeze by making a run at freezing. With that noticeably increasing sun angle, a mostly clear day featuring highs rising to near 30 or into the low 30s should feel pretty decent. Especially with winds only around 5-8 mph from the south.
Brrrrr: Our January to remember is going to be hitting a lot of pocketbooks, if it hasn’t started doing so already. Today’s 10th low in or below the single digits at Dulles puts January 2014 into the top-5 of all months there for frigid mornings. Tonight should push it to number four. With all this cold, energy usage has been through the roof. Washington Gas sent out a release today stating that the initial cold outbreak set a usage record. Here’s the meat (emphasis added):
From 1 a.m. on January 7 to 12:59 a.m. on January 8, Washington Gas had a record daily sendout of 1.652 million dekatherms (dths) of natural gas, representing the total amount used by the company’s 1.1 million natural gas customers in the entire metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. That level is 8,000 dths higher than the previous record date of January 16, 2009, which was during President Barack Obama’s first inauguration weekend in 2009. This January has been so cold that a total of seven days this month have made the list of Washington Gas’ highest 25 ever natural gas usage days.
Pollen update: Hello spring? The U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab reports that elm pollen has arrived. It’s a little later than normal actually, often showing up around the second to third week of January. They report that maples are also showing some signs of life, and may respond to warmer days in the future.