ICE AGE NOW: Record Low Temperatures Across The United States As Global Cooling Trend Continues – March Is The New Winter In Washington, Record Snowfall And Temperature Lows In The D.C. Area; Kids Defy Sledding Ban, As The Capitol Law Turns Into A Snow Mountain; Detroit Breaks 114-Year-Old Winter Weather Record! [PHOTO + MAPS + VIDEO]

Kids ignoring USCP regulations and sledding on House side of US Capitol amid snowstorm.


March 7, 2015 – UNITED STATES
– It seems like March is the new winter in Washington.

If yesterday’s snow wasn’t enough to make one yearn for spring, this morning’s deep freeze might have been. Record lows were set for March 6 at both Dulles and Baltimore. Early-morning temperatures sank into the single digits to the teens across the D.C. area. This is as much as about 20 degrees below normal for lows.

Mesoanalysis model temperatures as of 7 a.m. Friday, the typical time at which low temperatures are recorded for the day. (weatherbell.com)

Let’s take a look at the morning records locally and beyond — plus, keep in mind that near-record cold lasts through today and tonight.

A look at where records were threatened or broken Friday morning. (coolwx.com/records)

Washington Dulles International Airport dipped to 9 degrees this morning, colder than the previous record 15-degree low on this date in 1978. Records at Dulles go back to 1963.

Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport fell to 10 degrees, besting the previous record of 13 degrees set most recently in 1901. The Baltimore and D.C. records go back to the 1870s.

Reagan National Airport was the warm spot, as usual, with a low of 15 degrees. Not a record, but 20 degrees below the normal low of 35 degrees for the date.

NWS forecast for Friday night. Big-city stations where record lows are threatened are circled. (weatherbell.com)

It was also the coldest March 6 at the current location for observations, since the mid-1940s (readings for this climate station were taken downtown prior to the mid-1940s).

The record lows in the D.C. area were just a few of many across the broader Northeast. As of early this morning, in the neighborhood of 200 record lows were believed to be within reach or broken. Cities like Pittsburgh (all-time March low), Little Rock and Birmingham, just to name a couple, saw records for the date.

Cold air is in no hurry to go anywhere on Friday or on Saturday morning. Given Dulles’s relatively short historical record, its record cool high temperature for today is only 32 degrees in 2007. That’s compared to 21 degrees at both National and BWI back in the early 1900s. Dulles’s record cool high seems likely to fall today.

Temperatures will probably be about as cold tonight as last night, or even colder in spots that radiate “warmth” really well, given light winds and clear skies.

National’s record low of 13 degrees in 1890 is unlikely to fall tonight. Dulles’s record of 14 degrees from 1985 is a good bet. BWI may be in play, too, with a record low of 10 back in 1960.

Thursday’s record-breaking snowfall and review of the forecast

A plump cardinal sits on a snowy branch on Friday morning. (Kevin Ambrose)

Anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of snow fell across the Washington metro region Thursday, with the highest amounts in our northwest suburbs and the lowest downtown and to the south and southeast.

All three airports established new daily snowfall records.

  • Reagan National Airport received 4.8 inches – setting a new daily record for March 5, passing the previous record of 4.4 inches set in 1888 (when snow was measured at 24th and M streets downtown).
  • Dulles International Airport picked up 9.4 inches, a record for March 5 (crushing the previous record of 1 inch from 2001).
  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport logged 6.2 inches, besting its record for March 5 of 4.0 inches from 1902.

Impressively, Dulles’s total of 9.5 inches marked the airport’s second biggest March snow day, and third biggest snowstorm on record, trailing the March 1993 superstorm, which dropped 13.9 inches, and 2014′s March 16-17 storm that totaled 11.1 inches.

Across the broader region, the highest totals within about an hour’s drive of the District were around Frederick, Md., where about 9 to 10 inches fell. On the low end, downtown D.C. and scattered locations to the south reported just 4 inches. 

Here is a breakdown by region:

Northwest of the District: 6-11 inches (NWS)

Northeast of the District: 5-8 inches (NWS)

Southwest of the District: 5-7 inches (NWS)

Southeast of the District: 4-6 inches (NWS)


Forecast review:

This forecast emerges as one of our best in recent memory. We more or less correctly captured all of the following: the onset time, the time snow would be the heaviest and roads most challenging, the snow amounts, the effects on schools and government operations, and the end time.

A comparison of our forecast versus what actually fell is a close match:

Capital Weather Gang forecast map (left) and how much snow actually fell, right. (Jordan Tessler)

Our forecast totals were just about spot-on for the entire metro area. The only location where our predictions erred a little was toward the Pennsylvania line.

I must concede the rain changed to sleet and, ultimately, snow much faster than I thought. I assumed the process would take a couple of hours, but in most spots it required just 30 minutes. (We wrongly accepted the NAM’s high-altitude temperature forecast, which erroneously extended the period of sleet too long.)

I was also surprised how long it took temperatures to drop below freezing inside the city once the snow started. It’s important for us to remember that downtown locations often have some challenges cooling and achieving snow accumulations during daytime March winter storms. Even though Reagan National Airport changed from rain to snow before 9 a.m., the temperature didn’t drop to freezing there until noon – reducing accumulation some (but still in the forecast range). 

We provided plenty of lead time for this event, first mentioning the possibility of rain changing to snow Wednesday night into Thursday in our forecast early Monday morning. During Monday and Tuesday, we laid out the range of possible scenarios – before converging on the right forecast Tuesday night.

What makes me most pleased about this forecast is that we formed our general ideas about this storm on Tuesday, issued our first call accumulation map Tuesday night (at 11:40 p.m.) almost 36 hours before the first flakes and did not waver (our second and final forecast made Wednesday morning was unchanged except along the northwest periphery of the forecast map – where we unfortunately lowered totals and made the forecast slightly less accurate there). It was tempting with the various model fluctuations to change our forecast (both up and down) at times. But we analyzed the situation, came up with a forecast we thought made sense given the pattern and situation, and stuck with it – because we saw no compelling reason to make a meaningful change.

This is the second straight event (to close the winter perhaps?) where this kind of steady approach worked out extremely well for us. – Washington Post.

Ban or not, kids allowed to sled at Capitol

From sledding to snowball fights, dozens of children and their parents took to Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon to protest a controversial sledding ban.

Capitol Police have refused to lift the sledding ban, but some parents organized a “sled in” on the west lawn of the Capitol to put a spotlight on the unpopular rule.

The snow day provided ample opportunity for the children and their parents to challenge the sledding ban.

“This is a great day for sledding and democracy,” said Tim Krepp, a parent who helped organize the event.

Krepp said the sledding ban is a “silly problem” that points to the larger issue of dysfunction in Washington.

Among those calling to lift the sledding ban is Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who wrote to U.S. Capitol Police Board Chairman Frank Larkin Wednesday.

Capitol Police pointed out that more than 20,000 sledding injuries occur in the U.S. each year. They denied her request to lift the ban, but officers on the ground also refused to enforce it.

“No enforcement of #sledding ban on Capitol Hill today,” Holmes-Norton tweeted. “Thank you Capitol Police!”

It’s turning into a public relations nightmare for those who oppose sledding and support the ban.

“No member of Congress wants to go on the record saying, ‘Yeah, I hate children. Let’s ban this,’ ” Krepp said.

In the backyard of Congress, the children were not only sledding but also climbing trees, building snowmen and throwing snowballs at one another. Mostly oblivious to the protest, they were just there for fun.

WATCH: Slide free or die – Kids & parents sledge on Capitol Hill despite police ban.

“We come here every snow day,” said Kat Cummins, one of the parents. “This is our neighborhood and we want to sled.”

“There are not many other hills in the Capitol Hill area that are that great for sledding,” added Jason Petty, another parent.

The sled-in was also an escape for the many parents, who didn’t want to be cooped up with their children at home.

“We don’t want to be trapped in the house all day with the kids,” Krepp joked. – The Hill.

Metro Detroit Breaks 114-Year-Old Winter Weather Record

Just how cold is it in metro Detroit?

According to the National Weather Service, the low temperature Friday morning was zero degrees, breaking the old record of 2 degrees set in 1901.

It’s one of many cold weather records we’ve broken this winter, according Accuweather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

“It’s the sixth record low that we’ve hit this year and most of them have occurred in the last few weeks,” he said.

It’s not going to get much warmer Friday, with highs barely reaching 20 degrees. But don’t worry, temperatures will finally feel a little more like normal this weekend, with highs in the 40s and mainly sunny skies.

Here’s the local forecast from the CBS Detroit weather team:

Friday: A mix of clouds and sun. High 24F. Low 19F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph.
Saturday: Cloudy with snow showers mainly during the morning. High 39F. Low 28F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 40%.
Sunday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High around 40F. Low 27F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Monday: Sun and a few passing clouds. High 43F. Low 29F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday: Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals. High 47F. Low 31F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. – CBS Detroit.

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