Yesterday was a rare treat for us this Winter with a high temperature at Richmond International Airport of 68 degrees. It was also on the heels of a temperature roller coaster since last weekend, where we've seen high temperatures range from the upper 30s to the upper 60s:
How rare was yesterday's warm-up? Well it was one of only three days since the meteorological start of Winter (December, January and February are considered to be the Winter weather months) with a high temperature of 60 degrees or warmer. Jan 1, 2011 had a high temperature of 61 degrees, and December 1, 2010 was 67 degrees. In fact, you have to go back to just before Thanksgiving to have a warmer day than yesterday!
But after a strong cold front swept through the Commonwealth last night, we experienced an abrupt end to the sweet taste of Spring as we now return to seasonable temperatures for the rest of the week. Check out the temperatures this morning across the eastern half of the U.S. (as of 8 a.m. Eastern) behind this storm system:
The purple to light pink colors in the nation's Heartland indicate temperatures this morning for them in the single digits to below zero (where the core of the Arctic high pressure is located). Here is a closer view of the low temperatures in Oklahoma, one of the hardest hit states by the snowstorm and the Arctic air:
The highest snowfall totals in Oklahoma were in the northeast corner, where 20" of snow accumulated in Miami, for example. Notice how the most of the coldest low temperatures in the state occurred there? That is the "ideal overnight cooling" result of clear skies, ample snowpack, light winds, and dry air.
I'll have an update on our next two storm systems in my next blog entry...stay tuned!