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Weather to turn cold

December 09, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - What a difference a year makes.

On Dec. 8, 2003, temperatures reached a high of 35 degrees, and area residents found themselves sandwiched between two significant, early snow storms.

But on Wednesday, temperatures flirted with reaching 60 degrees and skies were clear, even if just for a day.

John Ferrick, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, based in State College, Pa., said the reported high temperature in Hagerstown on Wednesday was 58 degrees.

Though unseasonably mild, the temperature was still 14 degrees shy of the record high of 72 degrees, set in 1980, according to the I4 Weather Web site, maintained by weather observer Greg Keefer.

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Ferrick said that nice weather would be all but over by tonight, with dropping temperatures and rain. He added that the coldest temperatures since March are expected to usher in the new week.

Ferrick said a storm front moving to the area today and Friday and another one Sunday likely will bring light or moderate rain showers, but no significant amount of snow.

"Behind that front, it'll turn much colder. Temperatures will struggle on Monday and Tuesday to get out of the 30s," Ferrick said.

Ferrick said if Tuesday's predicted high temperature of 38 degrees is accurate, it will be the coldest day since March 22.

However, Washington County residents will be spared from significant snowfall for the foreseeable future, Ferrick said.

There was more than 131/2 inches of snowfall in the county between Dec. 5, 2003, and Dec. 14, 2003, according to both AccuWeather and I4 Weather. High temperatures hovered around the mid-30s during much of that period, according to Keefer's site.

"This winter is off to a little bit slower start than last winter," he said. "We're still predicting above-average snowfall in the area. There will be a point where we see some of the really cold temperatures, and there will definitely be some snow."

As for a possible white Christmas, Ferrick said it was too early Wednesday to go out on a limb to predict snowfall.

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