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Chesapeake Bay weather for January 3: sunny, windy, and cold

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Brian's exclusive forecast for Baltimore, Annapolis, and northern Delmarva:

Rest of this afternoon: Sunny, windy, and cold with a high from 20 to 25. NW wind 10-20 with gusts over 30.

Tonight: Mostly clear and cold with diminishing winds. The low will range from 0 to 10.

Saturday: Clouds and sun. Very cold in the morning, then milder with a high in the upper 20s to lower 30s.

Saturday Night: Variable cloudiness and not as cold with a low in the lower to mid 20s.

Sunday: Cloudy with mixed rain and snow possible during the afternoon. High in the mid to upper 30s.

The extended outlook calls for morning flurries on Monday, then windy and chilly with a high in the mid 30s. Sunny but very cold on Tuesday with a low from -5 to 5 above, and a high around 15. Mostly sunny and cold on Wednesday with a low around 5 and a high in the mid 20s.

An area of low pressure produced snowfall across the bay region overnight with the highest accumulations occurring on the Maryland western shore from Baltimore to Annapolis with 4 to 6 inches. Lighter amounts were reported to the west toward Washington, D.C. and to the south and east. The factors which led to the higher snowfall accumulations include the fact that the classic "dry slot" that typically forms closer to the bay actually formed to the west of Washington, D.C. Additionally, temperatures were colder than expected yesterday, and precipitation began as all snow rather than several hours of rain transitioning to snow. Also, the center of low pressure developed a bit closer to the Atlantic coastline than expected. Snowfall continued in the Annapolis area until about 3 a.m. Today's weather is sunny, but windy and very cold with current afternoon temperatures around 20 degrees. Winds gusting over 30 miles per hour at times are making it feel close to zero. The mercury may rise a couple more degrees before sunset, but then the temperature will begin to plunge into the teens and then single digits overnight. Fresh snow, light winds, and a clear sky will all combine to create ideal radiational cooling conditions. By early Saturday morning, some locations may experience temperatures near zero! After a frigid start to the day on Saturday, high pressure will move offshore and the return flow around the high will enable temperatures to recover into the upper 20s to lower 30s. Meanwhile, a rather weak area of low pressure will move across the region but at this time temperatures may be warm enough to produce a rain/snow mix changing to rain. The rain may end as some snow showers by Monday morning. Looking ahead to next week, another surge of cold air will push into the eastern states by Tuesday and Wednesday with record cold possible across the region. Temperatures may reach zero by Tuesday morning with highs on Tuesday only in the mid teens.

On the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay, a Gale Warning is in effect until 4 p.m. this afternoon. A Small Craft Advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. this afternoon through midnight tonight. Winds tonight will come out of the north at 10 to 20 with gusts over 25, diminishing to 10 knots after midnight. Waves will be from 1 to 2 feet. Winds on Saturday will come out of the south at 10 to 15 knots with waves from 1 to 2 feet. Winds on Saturday night will come from the south at 10 to 15 knots with waves from 1 to 2 feet. Winds on Sunday will come from the southeast at 10 knots with waves around one foot. Visibility may be reduced in snow, rain, and fog. Marine information is provided as general guidance. Boaters should always stay tuned to the latest forecasts and advisories from the National Weather Service.

The average high temperature for January 3 is 42 degrees and the average low is 25 degrees. The records at Baltimore on this date are 68 degrees in 2000 and 13 degrees in 1879. Today's sunrise will occur at 7:26 and the sunset will occur at 4:56. Weather data courtesy of the National Weather Service. For more weather updates, please visit my Chesapeake Bay Weather page on Facebook, and if you're heading to Ocean City feel free to check out my Ocean City MD Weather page on Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter @chesbayweather.

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