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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 01/20/2013

D.C. area forecast: Cold inauguration weather with chance of snow showers, then turning truly frigid

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Partly sunny, breezy. Upper 40s to near 50. | Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy. Mid-20s to low 30s. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly cloudy. Chance of p.m. show showers. Upper 30s to low 40s. | 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


Breezy cold front makes 40s to near 50 feel colder, but nothing like the deep freeze on its way! 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 (↑) - Might see some Monday p.m. flakes. Shouldn’t amount to much, but could be storm to watch for Friday-ish Get the SPI on Twitter | Discuss on Facebook

FORECAST IN DETAIL

After a couple lovely days of bright sun and yesterday’s welcome warmup into the mid-50s, today’s cold front is the first step toward this week’s dramatic cool down. It’s a gradual process, so Inauguration Day shapes up as sesonably cold with a chance of afternoon or evening snow showers or flurries. The real cold is ushered in by an arctic front Monday night, which brings the coldest air we’ve seen in quite some time for Tuesday and Wednesday. Get ready for gusty winds and wind chills near zero.

Today (Sunday): Foggy. Just kidding! This Sunday should be nothing like last Sunday’s dreary fog-fest. We do expect some increasing clouds as a cold front moves through around midday. But overall we’re looking at a partly sunny day with highs in the upper 40s to near 50. Winds are breezy from the west and northwest, sustained around 10-20 mph with afternoon gusts near 25-30 mph. Can’t rule out a sprinkle with the front. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Winds decrease during the evening and become light overnight with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Expect lows in the mid-to-upper 20s in the cooler suburbs, to the upper 20s to low 30s near and inside the Beltway. Confidence: High

For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Inauguration Day): To quote a reader of our blog, “It’s always cold on Inauguration Day.” Right on! But, while those partaking in the outdoor festivities will most certainly want to dress warmly, it won’t be brutally cold or all that windy. Morning temperatures are mainly in the 30s with afternoon highs in the upper 30s to low 40s under partly to mostly cloudy skies. We are watching an upper-level system that could bring snow showers or flurries in the afternoon or evening. Confidence: Medium

Related: Washington, D.C. presidential inauguration weather history

Tomorrow night: The potential for some snow showers or flurries continues into the evening. As of now we expect either no accumulation or not more than a dusting, unless the system strengthens a bit. We’ll keep you posted. Arctic air blasts in overnight with gusts from the northwest near or over 30 mph. Lows by morning sink to the upper teens to mid-20s (suburbs to city) with wind chills in the single digits to near zero (wind chill calculator). Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Tuesday brings gusty winds and the coldest, driest air we’ve seen in two years. The morning will be bone-chilling cold with wind chills in the single digits to near zero. The afternoon won’t be much better despite mostly sunny skies, with highs in the mid-to-upper 20s and winds gusting near 25-30 mph only adding to the glacial feel. It will also be VERY dry, so have your chapstick and lotion ready! The arctic chill continues Tuesday night as lows plummet into the teens, probably even downtown, and wind chills threaten to dip below zero in some spots. Confidence: Medium-High

The frigid air stays in place Wednesday with another shockingly cold morning, afternoon highs in the 20s, and maybe a flurry. But at least it should be a less windy day, with partly sunny skies. Confidence: Medium

Late-week storm? Temperatures should begin to moderate later in the week. But models are showing some snow potential for Friday or thereabouts. More on this in the coming days.

Dan Stillman contributed to this forecast.

By Kathryn Prociv  |  05:00 AM ET, 01/20/2013

Categories:  Forecasts

 
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