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Chesapeake Bay weather for January 7: breezy and very cold with sunshine

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

Today: Sunny, breezy, and very cold with a high around 15. West wind gusting over 20 at times.

Tonight: Clear and cold with a low around 7. Winds near calm.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and not as cold with a high in the upper 20s.

Wednesday Night: Variable cloudiness with a low in the mid 20s.

Thursday: Variable cloudiness with a high in the upper 30s.

The extended outlook calls for a chance of rain showers on Friday with a low in the lower 30s and a high in the mid 40s. A chance of rain showers on Saturday with a low in the mid 30s and a high around 50. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a low in the upper 30s and a high around 50.

One of the coldest days in many years is upon us. Lows this morning were in the single digits around the central and northern bay including 3 degrees at Baltimore and 6 degrees near Gibson Island. The mercury will not rise all that much today with highs only around 15 degrees by later this afternoon. Occasional breezes from the west will send wind chill values to near zero at times. With the lack of snow cover and a west wind, the cold is quite impressive. The main factor producing the cold is a pool of arctic air, known as the 500mb low or the polar vortex, which became dislodged from the pole by relatively milder air. The center of the "vortex" is actually still in Canada, but the cold air swirling around the low has pushed deep into the lower forty-eight states with temperatures in the teens on the Gulf coast and single digits in Atlanta. Fortunately, the cold will be short-lived. After another cold night with lows in the single digits, Wednesday's highs will recover into the upper 20s around Annapolis (still nearly 15 degrees colder than average.) A milder, westerly flow of air will allow temperatures to recover considerably by the weekend with highs near 50. As is typical for this time of year, warming trends are usually accompanied by clouds and rain showers which will be the case on Friday and Saturday. Looking ahead to next week, mild temperatures are expected to continue into Monday and Tuesday with overnight lows remaining above freezing.

On the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay, a Small Craft Advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. this afternoon, and a Gale Warning is in effect from 1 p.m. this afternoon through late tonight. Winds today will come out of the west at 10 to 20 knots with gusts over 30 knots, then shift to the northwest at 20 to 30 knots with gusts over 40 knots this afternoon. Waves will increase to 3 to 5 feet. Visibility may be reduced in rain and fog early. Winds tonight will come out of the west at 15 to 25 knots with gusts over 40 and waves from 3 to 5 feet. Winds on Tuesday will come out of the west at 15 to 25 knots with gusts over 30 knots, diminishing to 10 to 15 knots later in the afternoon with waves from 2 to 4 feet. 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 7 is 41 degrees and the average low is 25 degrees. The records at Baltimore on this date are 74 degrees in 1907 and 8 degrees in 1988 (this record has been broken but not yet verified.) Today's sunrise will occur at 7:26 and the sunset will occur at 4:59. 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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