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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/22/2012

D.C. area forecast: Wind advisory today, then nicer; Christmas Eve system?

* 4:45 p.m. update: The wind advisory has been cancelled a little early. Winds will continue to wane through the evening, but some gusts past 30-35 mph are still a good bet for a few hours. As temperatures drop into and through the 30s, wind chills in the 20s or even lower will be common. Winds should drop to between 5-10 mph with some higher gusts around and after midnight.

* 12:15 p.m. update: The high wind warning has been cancelled. A wind advisory continues through 5 p.m. (see advisory/warning map). Strong gusty winds plaguing the area throughout the day have been quite intense, and we’re within the period where we can continue to expect to see the possibility of peak winds for the day. Dulles has gusted to 50 mph as of the last hour, National and BWI have both also topped 40 mph with gusts to 43 and 44 respectively.

* 8:30 a.m. update: The wind advisory has been upgraded to a high wind warning except in D.C.’s southern suburbs (see advisory/warning map). The high wind warning (for most of the area) means a hazardous wind event is expected or occurring with the potential for wind gusts over 58 mph. Some power outages are possible. At 8 a.m. winds were gusting to 30-40 mph in the region and could well ramp up into the 50-60 mph range. Warning criteria gusts would most likely occur between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. *

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Partly sunny, very windy. Near 40 to mid-40s. | Tonight: Mostly clear, diminishing winds. 22-30. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Mid-40s to near 50. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

TODAY'S DAILY DIGIT

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10


Strong winds and cold temperatures have little redeeming value. Take it easy if out and about. Get the Digit on Twitter | Discuss on Facebook

SNOW POTENTIAL INDEX

A daily assessment of the potential for *accumulating* snow for the next week on a 0-10 scale. More info


SPI: 3 (↑) - Watching Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Both present considerable uncertainty. Happy? to see SPI return!? Get the SPI on Twitter | Discuss on Facebook

FORECAST IN DETAIL


Don’t spend much time doing your hair if headed out, and hold on to your hat — today is a windy one! If you’re looking for the calmest time, you’re waiting until after dark. Gusts over 50 mph might cause some tree downings and power outages. Add in the chilly air, and it sure seems like winter has taken hold. After today, there’s not much to think about till late Christmas Eve, when a little system passes by. A bigger weather event still looms after Christmas.

Today (Saturday): As you probably know by now, today’s main story is wind. It’ll be windy early and late, but the prime time is probably from late morning into mid-afternoon. Northwest winds are sustained at 20-30 mph throughout. Gusts near and past 40 mph may occur all day as well, with bursts near or over 50 mph during the windiest timeframe. Besides that, it’s cold and variably cloudy. There could be a flurry here and there, but I’d anticipate less of that than yesterday. Highs range from the upper 30s to low-or-mid 40s. Wind chills in the 20s and 30s are a good bet. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Winds still gusting to around 35 mph after sunset decrease fairly rapidly heading into the night before leveling off late around 5-10 mph with higher gusts. A cold air mass, mixed with light winds and mainly clear skies, helps temperatures dip to the low 20s in the cold spots to perhaps as high as 30 downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast into next week...

Tomorrow (Sunday): After our unfriendly Saturday, this one should feel pretty good. Plan on lots of that now slowly increasing (enjoy every second!) sunlight. Highs rebound a bit, heading for the mid-40s to near 50. Winds should shift around to the southwest, blowing at 5-10 mph sustained. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Skies are mainly clear for much of the night, with only light winds from the southwest. Clouds may begin to filter in before sunrise. Lows range from the upper 20s to mid-30s. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

On Christmas Eve (Monday) we may spend a while under partly cloudy skies, but the general rule is increased clouds as the day goes on. By late afternoon or evening, we’ll need to watch for precipitation moving this way from the southwest as a little system gathers some strength. Precipitation (50% chance) associated with it may be light rain or light snow. For now, I’d lean rain across much of the area, with better shots for snow as you head north and northwest. Highs mainly reach the mid-40s before precipitation arrives. Confidence: Medium

Christmas Eve night continues to see a risk of precip across the area, either in the form of rain or snow showers, or rain changing to snow. It appears whatever falls remains rather light, and occurs in marginal temperatures, so accumulation potential is not super high. Not zero either. Best odds for that remain north and northwest. Whatever is falling from the sky should taper by or after midnight. Lows head for the low-and-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Christmas Day (Tuesday) is looking pretty calm, with mostly cloudy skies perhaps giving way to more sun as the day progresses. It’s seasonably chilly as highs reach the low-and-mid 40s. Confidence: Medium

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/22/2012

Categories:  Forecasts

 
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