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A cold snap in December? How dare they!

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 6, 2010; 10:27 PM

A cold snap in December? The nerve!

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The wintry weather that descended rapidly across the region this weekend arrived with an abruptness - after an unseasonably warm November - that left residents scurrying to their drawers for mittens, zipping up and facing the cold wind with resignation.

Or, in some cases, mild panic.

"I think my tongue is frozen," said Carolyn Webb, a business consultant from West Palm Beach, Fla., as she shopped in Old Town Alexandria on Monday.

Others welcomed the drop in temperatures - which could reach the teens in some outlying areas of the region this week - as the perfect thing to get them into the Christmas spirit.

To them we say: Tra la la la la whatev.

"I've lived here all my life, so I like it," said Diane Fisk, 64, an administrator from Alexandria. "The cold makes you think of snow." As do, in her case, the dozens of miniature snowmen she hangs on her Christmas tree each year.

The brisk weather might have seemed like an affront, so suddenly did it arrive, but the low temperatures are not unusual for early December, said Dan Stillman of The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. The region had similar blasts of cold air in the early part of December in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

"While our high temperatures this week in the upper 30s to near 40 are a good 10 degrees or so below the average high this time of year - near 50 - it's not terribly unusual to be this cold in early December," Stillman said.

Stillman predicted highs in the mid- to upper 30s Tuesday, with the brisk 15 to 25 mph winds continuing, and lows in the 20s to the upper teens in some places. On Wednesday, the winds will start to die down and the temperatures will begin to climb to the 40s for Friday and Saturday. He said there is a potential - just a potential, mind you - for a major East Coast snowstorm Saturday into Monday.

Rain? Snow? The picture's still fuzzy on that one.

The folks at AccuWeather are also predicting the possibility of a "blockbuster storm" in the middle of the month that could dump up to 12 inches of snow from the Washington area to Boston, harking back to last year's pre-Christmas blizzard, which blanketed the area in about 24 inches of snow.

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