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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 01/17/2013

D.C. area forecast: Significant snow likely to stay south of city today, Inauguration chilly

* Winter weather advisory 10 a.m. today to 1 a.m. Friday, except far northern suburbs | Winter storm warning far southern suburbs (map) *

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Cloudy a.m with drizzle., chance p.m. snow. 39-44. | Tonight: Chance of evening snow, clearing overnight. 24-31. | Tomorrow: Sunny but chilly. 35-39. | 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


While the bulk of the snow stays to our south, it is still a damp, gloomy day. For the snow loving crowd, this may be a generous rating. 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: 5 ↑ - While most of the big stuff stays well south, mainly light snow around D.C. not out of question. Get the SPI on Twitter | Discuss on Facebook

FORECAST IN DETAIL


It appears that today’s storm is suffering from performance anxiety. While I could always end up with snow on my face, the reality is that the track on this system is just a little too far south to really hammer D.C. What is certain is it drags cold air in behind it on Friday, messing up what seems like our first sunny day in forever. The weekend warms up much nicer as the sun holds strong. Arctic cold starts moving in on Sunday and feels it by Inauguration Monday, so bundle up parade-goers.

Today (Thursday): The morning commute should be safe with no more than a sprinkle or a little patchy light rain. While the main area of snow is likely to remain well to the south of the city (developing mid-to-late morning, starting as rain perhaps), a few bands of snow could work inside the beltway in the afternoon - though it may mix with rain - at least initially. If this storm suddenly surges north and we do get smacked, it would most likely come just in time for the afternoon/evening commute, so a check on the midday updates is a must.

The chances for snow varies from about 35 percent (1 in 3 chance) to 70 percent - highest in the southern suburbs (Stafford and Fauquier counties, even higher south of there) and lowest in the northern suburbs (Howard and Frederick counties).

Highs should be lower 40s to start the day and then slip into the mid-upper 30s in the afternoon as northwest winds pick up to 10-15 mph and (any) precipitation commences. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tonight: Snow remains possible into the evening (same chances as above) before tapering off. Skies do clear after midnight and temperatures drop notably with mid-20s northwest of town to near 30 downtown. Any snow (and/or rain) that falls will freeze overnight, so some slick roads can’t be ruled out. Confidence: Low-Medium

Snow accumulations: The map to the right tells the tale. If some moderate snow bands work far enough north, we might manage an inch or so (in the immediate metro region; otherwise, we may end up with little or no accumulation. Head southwest for more substantial snowfall.

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

Tomorrow (Friday): Finally a forecast that is not rife with ifs. A welcome dose of sun for the light-deprived but a brisk wind out of the northwest delivers a shocking bit of cold to the area. Highs do no better than the mid-to-upper 30s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: The stars shine bright as high pressure is strong over the area. The coldest spots in the suburbs could dip as low as lower 20s but most of us should do no worse than mid-to-upper 20s, which believe it or not is normal for this time of year. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Saturday will be the highlight of the weekend with highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s as a wind from the west is always good for warming this time of year. The winds stay up overnight and help to keep lows from dropping as much. Most areas hold in the upper 20s and even lower 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday ushers in the leading edge of an Arctic airmass that is invading the Midwest. Winds gust out of the west briskly much of the day, making highs in the low-to-mid 40s feel less comforting than they should. At least sunshine remains abundant. As strong high pressure settles in for the night temperatures plummet. Lows are likely to be low-to-mid 20s with a few upper teens possible in colder exurbs. Confidence: Medium

Monday/Inauguration Day/Martin Luther King Dayor whatever name you prefer is likely to be a partly to mostly sunny one. More clouds are likely in the afternoon than the morning and we can’t rule out a snow flurry. The main problem - though - is that Arctic air is in full control and highs are unlikely to be better than low-to-mid 30s. It is a double pair of socks kind of day if you are going to be out, for parades or otherwise. Confidence:Medium

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 01/17/2013

Categories:  Forecasts

 
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