By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 15, 2009
After weeks of mild weather, temperatures dipped dramatically in the Washington area yesterday, kicking off a cold snap that is expected to worsen in the next few days and possibly last until next week's inauguration festivities.
"We're expecting some of the coldest days of the season so far," said Calvin Meadows of the National Weather Service. "If you've got to be outside, bundle up."
A cold front was expected to move into the area last night, creating "bitterly cold conditions," winds that could reach 20 mph with gusts of 30 mph and short bursts of snow flurries, Meadows said. Temperatures could dip into single digits today and are not expected to escape the low 30s.
The "heart of the cold" is expected to arrive in the area tonight, as air that built up in Canada is pushed eastward, said Dan Stillman of The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog.
The high tomorrow will probably be in the upper teens, he said, and the low could be in the single digits. Lows aren't expect to set records, Stillman said.
The cold weather will continue through the weekend, but it should warm up a bit by Tuesday's inauguration, Stillman said. "It will be typically cold but not dangerously cold," he said.
Starting today, Stillman said, residents should take precautions, such as shutting off outdoor water pipes, dressing appropriately and checking on elderly neighbors or relatives.
The Community for Creative Non-Violence has added beds to its homeless shelter at Second and D streets NW in the District. Residents will be able to stay 24 hours a day, rather than only at night, as long as temperatures are below freezing.
Transportation to and from the shelter will be provided, staff member Phil McAbee said.
"Any time it gets this cold, we do it," McAbee said.