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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 01/21/2012

Forecast: Icy mix slowly retreats north and northwest throughout the morning

6:30 a.m. update: A batch of precipitation has entered the area from the southwest and is mainly impacting the southern half of the region. This is largely freezing rain, though it’s also plain rain over some of the far south and east. This area of precipitation should continue to largely impact areas south of D.C. for the next hour and beyond. More freezing rain is skirting the northern parts of the area as well, with much of the central area seeing freezing drizzle at most. Temperatures slowly rising through the upper 20s and lower 30s (see 6 a.m. readings) continue to do so this morning. Reports indicate main roads are largely wet with icy spots and side roads are trickier. Be especially cautious of bridges and overpasses.

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

 
Freezing rain and cold rain are not nearly as fun as snow, and that's the story once the sun rises.
 
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EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Freezing rain and rain, ending midday. 34-38. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Mid-to-upper 20s. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Mixed precipitation late? Mid-to-upper 30s. | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

After a fairly winterless winter thus far, we’ve finally got widespread frozen stuff to deal with. The snow has wound down since overnight after accumulating around 0.5”-1.5” in the area, but there’s still freezing drizzle and freezing rain to deal with this morning. If you’re to the north and west of D.C., expect that freezing rain threat to stick around longer than other spots -- perhaps even until the storm ends midday or early afternoon. And if you’re traveling anywhere, particularly early, please use abundant caution. Untreated surfaces are likely to be quite slick, and even treated ones might be too.

Snow Potential Index: 1 (↓) - Keeping it above zero since it snowed overnight and will feel pretty wintry today. No repeats appear on the horizon for now though.
 
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
 

Today (Saturday): Snow and sleet should be done everywhere, but north and northeast of D.C. could still see a little early. Otherwise, we’re looking at periods of freezing rain (arriving from the southwest toward sunrise) across a good chunk of the area. As the morning progresses, warmer temperatures likely push north. By mid-morning, freezing rain should be confined to places north and west of D.C., though we’ll need to keep a close watch on temperatures, as sometimes cold air can be difficult to dislodge. Precipitation tends to end midday, and just about everyone except perhaps extreme northern and northwestern areas should be seeing plain rain by then, assuming we do dislodge the freezing temperatures.

Highs range from a touch above freezing to the mid-30s in the coldest locations (north and west) to the mid-or-upper 30s in the warmest (south and east). Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Clouds remain numerous but precipitation should not be any worry through the night. It’s going to be chilly though, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 20s and a breeze from the north. Any wet spots from earlier may become icy once again and any ice or snow remaining will harden up. Don’t let you’re guard down just yet if out and about! Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the beginning of next week, and follow our updates on Twitter & Facebook.

Tomorrow (Sunday): The “wedge” of cold air that helped produce our current wintry mess holds pretty tight into Sunday. That means we’re on tap for plenty more clouds and continued chill. By afternoon some light precipitation might break out, and given the cold air still in place it could be a bit of a wintry mix of sleet and/or light freezing rain, particularly north and west of D.C. Temperatures should continue warming though, so hopefully any of that will be rather short lived as highs reach the mid-or-upper 30s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Scattered showers are likely through the night, with increased coverage possible toward morning. It looks like most of the area should be just above freezing, limiting concerns of icing, but pockets of freezing rain are also possible. The best risk for that will be in the typically colder western and northern suburbs. We’ll keep an eye on this to make sure it does not turn into another larger icing issue. Temperatures should remain rather steady from during the day, so mainly mid-30s or so. Confidence: Low-Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Warmer air finally pushes in on Monday ahead of a fairly weak cold front. Additional showers are possible ahead and along the front, which right now appears to want to push through during the midday. Models are showing temperatures warming up to near 60 on Monday, but I kind of have my doubts given the cold preceding and the fact that the front might come relatively early and with some rain. For now, I like the idea of near 50 to mid-50s for better, but be warned it might be milder! Confidence: Medium

The sun wants to take center stage by Tuesday, and I think I’ll be ready for that. Mild weather sticks around too, though it’s a little cooler than Monday most likely. Highs should shoot for the upper 40s to lower 50s under mostly sunny skies. Confidence: Medium

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 01/21/2012

Categories:  Forecasts

 
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