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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 03/30/2011

Forecast: Cold shower chance today; any snow?

NatCast: Season starts with a chill

updated at 8:50 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. update: It may not be so rainy today after all, as an eastward-moving solid area of rain is currently tracking south of Fredericskburg, and showers further north are largely drying up as they approach the metro area. Occasional showers are still possible this afternoon (50% chance) and maybe more so this evening (60% chance), but the chances of an extended period of steady light to moderate rain are diminishing.

From earlier...

Today's Daily Digit
 
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

 
Not much to like - cloudy, cold, rainy & maybe flaky to the west. Winds aren't bad, and for that I'll hold back on a zero.
 
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter
EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Cloudy w/ rain (rain/snow west?) by late morning/early afternoon. Upper 30s to mid-40s. | Tonight: Rain or rain/snow tapers. 30s. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Chance of a few showers. 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Cold ... rain ... snow. None of these are words I’m particularly happy to be uttering in this forecast. And while the potential for accumulating snow in the metro area, at least more than a dusting or so, is low tonight and fairly low (but not impossible) Thursday night, there’s really nothing spring-like about the sometimes wet 40s and 50s we’re expecting the next few days. Finally, by late in the weekend and next week we should start to return to our regularly scheduled spring programming with highs closer to or above 60.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↑) - Snow may mix w/ rain tonight & Thurs. night. More than a dusting (if that) unlikely.
 
The The SPI is a daily assessment of the potential for accumulating snow for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter
 


Radar & lightning: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Wednesday): Rain moves in from the west/southwest around mid-morning (approx. 8-11 a.m.) late morning or early afternoon and sticks around into the evening. Western suburbs may see some snow mix in at the onset, but the ground should be warm enough to prevent accumulation, except possibly a dusting on grass and cars far west of town (west of Montgomery and Fairfax counties) if precipitation arrives early enough. The rain, overcast and light breezes from the east/southeast lock in the chill. Temperatures reach for highs in the low-to-mid 40s, though may fall back to the upper 30s to low 40s once the rain (or rain/snow west) gets going. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Rain or a rain/snow mix tapers around mid-to-late evening though drizzle or mist may remain into the overnight. A dusting, mainly on grass and cars, can’t be ruled out in the northern and western suburbs if any snowflakes fall late enough in the evening. We’ll likely keep the overcast, which should provide a warm enough blanket to avoid a hard freeze. Lows bottom anywhere from around 32 to 37, with Wednesday through Wednesday night rain totals around 0.30-0.70”. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Thursday): We’re looking at another cloudy and cold day with highs in the 40s. Could be some mist and a few light showers (30% chance) around as well. Believe me, I’m not happy about this forecast either. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Chilly rain threatens again and it could mix with snow late, especially north and west of D.C. Here again, accumulation potential doesn’t look to be much more than a dusting, though there’s still time for this to turn into a colder/snowier scenario. There’s also a chance the bulk of the precipitation misses the area to the south and east. So we’ll put rain/snow chances at 50% for now with skies likely to be mostly cloudy regardless and lows in the 30s. Confidence: Low

A LOOK AHEAD

Friday highs aim for the mid-40s to low 50s under partly to mostly cloudy skies. That slight step in the right direction temperature-wise is largely negated by winds blowing at a pretty good clip from the west/northwest. A few more showers could roam through (30-40% chance) during the course of Friday night (lows in the 30s) and Saturday, when partial sun should get highs to near 50 to the mid-50s. Confidence: Medium

Sunday starts to feel a little more like spring with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs in the 50s to near 60. Confidence: Medium

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 03/30/2011

 
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