Arctic chill may bring record low temperatures on Christmas Eve
The coldest temperatures with the big chill will swoop into the nation’s capital on Saturday.
The remnant of Friday’s flash freeze plans to hang around the D.C. region Saturday, possibly bringing in record-low temperatures for Christmas Eve. Here’s what you need to know.
After Friday’s heavy rain and blustery winds arrived, temperatures dipped into the upper teens overnight, with morning lows Saturday expected to drop to 10 degrees above zero, setting up a frigid next few days.
“With this massive Arctic air mass now fully entrenched across much of the nation, the Washington Capital Region will not feel temperatures above freezing before Monday at the earliest,” Storm Team4 meteorologist Clay Anderson said.
Temperatures will stay in the single digits throughout the morning, with wind chills making it feel as low as -5 to -15 in the outer western suburbs.
A wind chill advisory for the D.C. area is in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday.
While it won’t be a record-setting low temperature, the afternoon high in the lower 20s could be one for the record books as the coldest high temperature on Christmas Eve in the District. Not to be outdone, the average temperature on Saturday will likely flirt with 17 degrees and could rank with Dec. 24, 1989, as the coldest Christmas Eve on record.
Wind damage was a big problem Friday, with winds gusting at 55 mph at Dulles International, 69 mph at the Bay Bridge and 56 mph in the District. The inclement weather caused multiple delays on rail services, including MARC train and Amtrak, while trees toppled over in area neighborhoods.
“We are so far below freezing, we are below zero, and so many areas, and that’s just something that we don’t see too often around our area,” Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer told WTOP.
Ironically, Washington’s average temperature so far in December up until Thursday night – before the cold blast arrived – was almost identical to the historical average for Dec. 1 through 22 of 42.6 degrees; D.C.’s average temperature during this time range in 2022 was 42.2 degrees.
For those yearning for warmer weather, the weather pattern will flip-flop late next week. The strong stratospheric polar vortex is going to link up with the troposphere – where the weather occurs – and bottle the cold air back up in the Arctic while the U.S. undergoes significant warming. The transition day into the warmer pattern could bring the D.C. region its first flurries during the midweek.
As temperatures continue to tumble, some residents have experienced power outages.
Pepco reports over 8,000 customers in Montgomery County, Maryland, are without power. In addition, Baltimore Gas and Electric company says that nearly 2,700 homes in Prince George’s County and about 8,000 more in Anne Arundel County are in the dark.
Outages have also been reported in Northern Virginia, where Dominion Energy reports between 1,400 customers in Loudoun County and over 1,000 in Fairfax County customers are without power.
If you get caught without power, Dominion Energy spokeswoman Peggy Fox says to make or grab your emergency kit, fire up your generator if you have one, and check in on your neighbors. If all else fails, pack a bag and try to safely brave the roads.
“It is good to know where your medication is. While it’s light outside, make sure you gather things together,” Fox said. “Check on your neighbors … check on your loved ones. Please make sure you have plans to go somewhere else if it gets too cold in your house.”
Make sure you also report the outage to your local energy provider.
For those dealing with power outages and low heat, Chief Spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Pete Piringer says that you should plan, especially on the roadways.
Saturday, Christmas Eve: Partly cloudy, windy and cold. Highs in the low to mid-20s. Wind chills in the single digits and teens.
Sunday, Christmas Day: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid- to upper-20s.
Monday: Mostly sunny and a little warmer. Highs in the mid-30s.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy with highs around 40 degrees.
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