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Cold, winterlike weather arrives in Washington

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In every year, no matter how far the weather may seem to stray from its normal patterns, seasonal realities do assert themselves.

Some days last week seemed startlingly and delightfully bright and warm, but Saturday appeared to offer a stern reminder that winter will inevitably arrive.

It was a gray and windswept Washington, suggestive of end-of-year bleakness, upon which night fell on Saturday.

And based on the National Weather Service forecast, it appeared that sometime late Saturday or before sunrise Sunday, a significant seasonal milestone would be reached.

Throughout this fall, and as late as Saturday evening, the mercury at Reagan National Airport, the official measuring station for Washington, has remained above freezing.

But the forecast suggests that this long stretch of temperatures above 32 degrees is about to end.

In its 6:30 p.m. prediction for the District and nearby suburbs, the weather service called for lows Saturday night in the upper 20s. (The mercury last fell below 32 at National in March.) And once temperatures touch freezing, how long will it be before the first snow arrives?

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