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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/20/2012

D.C. area forecast: Dry start but stormy finish today, strong winds buffet area Friday

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Increasing clouds. 48-52. | Tonight: Showers, possibly heavy in evening. 39-43. | Tomorrow: Gradual clearing, very windy. 45-49. | 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


The day starts out a 7 but increasing clouds, showers and strengthening winds ends it as a 4. Get the Digit on Twitter| Discuss on Facebook

FORECAST IN DETAIL


This forecast is easy, starting with the winter solstice tomorrow morning. Then...eternal darkness (sorry had to get in one doomsday joke). The winter storm in the Midwest is nothing but a rain maker for us tonight but a potent one. The real story is strong winds in its wake on Friday and lingering into Saturday. This will challenge any decorations you have outdoors, so consider yourself warned! Temperatures finally return to seasonable levels and with the windchill, brrr!

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map. See interactive map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Thursday): The day starts out fine with calm winds and a few peeks of sun and readings in the 40s. Clouds do thicken as the day progresses and winds freshen up from the southeast at 10-15 mph by late day. Highs top out in the upper 40s to lower 50s. There is just a 20% chance of a shower by sunset. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Showers pick up early evening with some embedded downpours which may mix down strong gusty winds. There is even a chance for some isolated thunder (especially south of town). Rain chances are near 100% and over a half inch is a decent bet. Winds continue to pick up out of the south at 15-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph (possibly higher in showers and an storms). Lows end up in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Friday): A shower could still be lurking at 6:12 am ( time of the winter solstice) but only a 20% chance. Clouds do diminish as the day progresses. Winds go into high gear with steady 15-25 mph and gusts to 40 mph out of the west. Look out for flying Santas! Highs still manage to reach the mid-to-upper 40s but won’t feel it. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: The first night of astronomical winter should feel like it. With strong winds continuing and readings in the 30s, wind chills should be in the 20s in the evening. Lows end up in the upper 20s to lower 30s under clear skies. Confidence: High

A LOOK AHEAD

Saturday is still aptly described as blustery with winds gusting into the 20s mph 50 mph range (update Thursday afternoon, see: updated wind forecast, high wind watch) for yet another hair teaser of a day. The sun is prominent but highs do no better than low-to-mid 40s. Bundle up if you are on that last minute shopping rush. Confidence: High

Sunday is a fine winter day for a change with mainly sunny skies and much calmer winds. Highs should reach the mid-to-upper 40s after morning lows in the 20s to near 30. Confidence: High

Christmas Eve (Monday) is interesting as clouds increase across the region quickly and there is just enough moisture feeding up from the south to support a few sprinkles or dare I say, a snow shower by evening. Still just a 30% chance and too warm to stick. Sorry White Christmas dreamers. Confidence:Low-Medium

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/20/2012

 
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