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October 18, 2010

A pause for rain tonight

Looks like we're going to interrupt this fabulous autumn weather for a bit of rain over the next day or two. A bit like last week, we are looking at a period of rain early in the workweek - overnight Monday into Tuesday. But unlike last week's nor'easter, this weather will come to us from the north and west, with a lot NOAA/NWSless moisture.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service's forecast office in Sterling, Va., are giving us a 50 to 60 percent chance for rain between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday, with only a few tenths of an inch in the prospect. The culprit this time is a stationary front (blue line on the map) draped from west to east, hanging just to our south, and a series of disturbances (red "L"s) that will be sliding along the front.

Once that front drops farther south on Wednesday, high pressure will build back in from the north and west. That will bring back the sunshine for Central Maryland, although some chance for lingering showers may persist in Southern Maryland.

The rest of the week, and the weekend, will feel like a repeat of last week, with sunny skies, daytime highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Some of the normally cooler spots north and west of the urban corridor may dip into the 30s for the first time this fall.

Those of us trying to keep our fingers off the furnace "on" switch got a chance over the weekend to build up some solar heat in the house. The high at BWI-Marshall touched 76 degrees Sunday afternoon. We managed 74 degrees on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville, and our indoor temperature climbed from 68 degrees to 70. But the low outside this morning was 41.

ThermostatWe did put the electric blanket on the bed Saturday morning. We hooked it all up, but so far have not had to throw that switch either.

I was thinking this morning that, instead of setting a calendar date as our target for turning on the furnace (ours is Nov. 1), we should, instead, go by the indoor temperatures. At 68 degrees, it felt cool, but not yet uncomfortable. Maybe 65 degrees would be a better threshhold, at which we could justifiably fire the burners.

Then I started to think that indoor humidity ought to be figured into the calculation, too. Without the furnace or AC on, the humidity can rise to cave-like levels, making the place feel dank. We're up to 49 percent this morning.

If you're grappling with hard times, this is surely serious business. Utility costs are no joke. But if you still have a job, and can afford the juice, and the gas (we use both), maybe the whole thing is silly. Why not use it, be thankful and enjoy the comforts of home? Is this a pointless mind game we're playing with ourselves? What do you think?

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:11 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Forecasts


What do I think? I think it is incredibly silly to be uncomfortable over a few dollars. If you're fine, leave the heat off. If you're cold, turn on the heat. Considering that it isn't that cold out, your furnace will hardly run much to keep you warm. And if you have a heat pump, with the relatively warm (compared to winter) temperatures, it won't cost that much to run it.

FR: Like I said, if you can afford it, it's just a mind game. But I'd rather spend my money on beer, a renewable resource.

We're probably not going to turn on the furnace until it hits about 55-58 degrees in the house. And even then, it stays in the 55-58 degree range pretty much all winter. Sweaters, lap blankets, and hot drinks are the most common ways to ward off the chill of winter.
FR: Arrrgghhh. That's brutal. I'm too old and life's too short to live in a place that cold.

Wait... beer is renewable resource???
Hmm.... I don't know about the rest of your readers but I just splurged and ordered a heated mattress pad (which I consider a step up from the electric blanket). I'm hoping I can justify that purchase by keeping the heat lower this winter. Our end unit rowhouse is shockingly inefficient! (Maybe the electric blanket will live on the sofa this winter...)

Our apartment was so muggy that we actually had to run the air conditioner for a bit on Sunday night to make sleeping tolerable.

I for one am eagerly anticipating Snowmageddon 2011!

Ha! Truly I see another native New Englander!

That said, now in my old age I vote with Chris. Even though I keep the temp relatively low, I no longer hesitate to switch it on for a sudden cold snap. I used to wait it out until a suitable date, but now I just let it roll -- usually just a quick kick late in the day when the temp drops, and truly it doesn't make that much difference on the gas bill.

To each his own fraility (and I like good beer, too, so with age you are allowed some bonus fraility!).

I just let the thermostat decide. I set it at 68 and it does its thing when it needs to. It stays a little cooler upstairs so I might bump it up if the bathroom is too chilly. So far it hasn't turned on the furnace.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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