Taste of fall Friday; frost possible at West Virginia and Maryland mountain peaks

Cold front poised to push through D.C. region into eastern West Virginia as of 2:15 p.m. (National Weather Service)

Since July, summer fronts have been delivering fall-like air.  We’ve got yet another formidable front sweeping through the region tonight which will set up a lovely Friday – especially for those who prefer autumn to the August dog days.

The day is set to begin on the chilly side, with widespread 50s in the metro region (maybe hanging near 60 downtown). 40s are possible as close as the Potomac Highlands bordering Virginia and west central Maryland.

Forecast lows from high-resolution NAM model (WeatherBell.com)

Look at the low temperatures forecast near some of the peaks in northern West Virginia and western Maryland. Yes, those are mid-30s.

In Canaan Valley, WV, models forecast lows around freezing. This is no doubt impressive, but Robert Leffler, a retired National Weather Service meteorologist says it’s not exceedingly rare.

“This is not that unusual for Canaan Valley,” Leffler writes in an email. “One in 6 Augusts experiences freezing or sub-freezing minimum there. The average growing season of 91 days is one week shorter than than found in interior Alaska near the Arctic Circle at Fairbanks.”

Canaan Valley’s high Wednesday was just 59, whereas just 125 miles to the east, it was 86 at Reagan National Airport.

High resolution models forecast Friday’s high temperatures to be in the 70s throughout the D.C. metro region, from the low 70s in the mountains to near 80 south of town (and perhaps in the city). These highs are about 10 degrees below normal.

Forecast highs from high resolution NAM model (WeatherBell.com)

At Reagan National, it is likely to be the coolest August 15 since 2004 when the high was 76.

If we turn back the calendar one year, to August 15, 2013, it was also pleasantly cooler than average, with a high of 80 and a low of 60 at Reagan National.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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