The Washington Post

Spike then crash: Today’s wild temperature ride in D.C.

12:05 p.m. update: The party’s over.  The arctic front has come through D.C., and the temperature is down to 46 at noon.  At Dulles, it’s down to 39.  At both airports, winds are gusting to 35 mph.

11:10 a.m. update:  It’s up to 51 degrees at 11 a.m. in D.C. – but just 41 at Dulles, where front has passed and winds from the northwest are whipping up. In other words, there are literally just minutes left before temps start falling in D.C.

From 10:45 a.m.: Polar pain is coming.  I promise.

But, first, we enjoy a little warmth. Through noon or so.

As of 10 a.m., the temperature in D.C. had soared to 47 degrees.  At midnight, it was 29.  Southerly winds ahead of the arctic front have warmed us up in a big way.

Simulation of surface winds this morning (

But look at what’s coming in from the west.  While it’s 47 in D.C., it just 17 in Pittsburgh.   Yes, a 30 degree drop over a little more than 200 miles.

10 a.m. temperatures (National Weather Service)

It’s not out of the question D.C. touches 50 briefly late this morning before the front comes through  midday.  A brief rain shower that could mix with or change to  snow flurries can’t be ruled out.  But for most, this should be a dry frontal passage.

Weather map of 7 a.m. (National Weather Service)

Then, temperatures fall off the cliff and winds increase.  By dark, the entire region should be in the 20s.

National Weather Service chart of temperatures in D.C. today. Note: its temperatures early on in the period are too cold – so the drop may be a bit steeper than shown (National Weather Service)

By Tuesday morning, temperatures are near 10 in the city, with single digits in the suburbs.  Wind chills drop to -5 to -15.  At least we’ve been through this a couple times already AND there are no signs of a comparable cold shot following this in the next couple weeks.

High resolution NAM model’s simulated temperatures at 7 a.m. Tuesday (



Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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At a Glance


-- /68°


49° /65°
Drop 30%


47° /54°
Drop 40%


40° /49°
Drop 20%


43° /55°
Drop 60%


50° /56°
Drop 30%
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Kevin Ambrose · January 27, 2014

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