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Coldest morning of the season at BWI (so far)

Okay, I know there will be lots of "coldest mornings so far" as we get closer to winter, and into the coldest days of January and February. But it's these first few days of chilly readings, after a

summer of balmy weather, that we really notice.

The mercury sank to 44 degrees before dawn Thursday out at BWI-Marshall Airport. That was well short of the record for an Oct. 1 in Baltimore. That would be the 36-degree low reached on this date in 1947. But it was the coldest morning in the suburbs since May 22, when it also was 44 degrees.

The low here at Calvert and Centre streets was 52 degrees. We bottomed out at 43 degrees on the WeatherDeck in Cockeysville. There was a 38-degree reading out in south-central Pennsylvania, near Shippensburg, and a few more like that in northern Virginia and eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

But mostly the lows across the region were in the 40s. Here's a map showing many of the lows.

If your weekend starts today, congratulations. You have the nicest day of the bunch to play with. We're enjoying clear, dry, high pressure, with today's high sticking in the mid-60s. But as this high moves off to our east, and we come into the return flow, warmer, wetter air will begin to rise up from the south. That will get us into the 70s, with more clouds tomorrow.

But rain chances climb late Friday, with a 70 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. Your autumn Saturday at the beach looks like a washout.

But things will clear off again by Sunday after the next cold front moves through. Sunday looks fine, with a high in nthe low 70s and sunshine. We'll stay good until rain chances rise again on Tuesday.

Rain would be an especially good thing for far Western Maryland. The latest Drought Monitor map, released this morning, shows all of Garrett and Allegany counties, and the westernmost part of Washington county, are now in moderate drought, making up about 11 percent of the state. The rest of Washington and the western part of Frederick county are rated as abnormally dry, adding up to nearly 19 percent of the state experiencing unusually dry conditions.

The dry weather has been building out there since mid-August, part of a wider expanse of dry territory that includes southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. 

(SUN PHOTO/Perry Thorsvik, 1994; Hey, she looked cool and sunny... although the ice pick is kinda scary.)

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