D.C. area forecast: Mid-winter chill on our doorstep, and a storm on the horizon

November 23, 2013
Fire weather watch for areas in orange. (NWS)
Fire weather watch for counties in orange. (NWS)

11:55 a.m. update: The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for Sunday from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. for the entire area. Low humidity levels and dry plant fuels mixed with strong winds will set the stage for prime fire conditions. Gusts may blow up to around 40 mph during the day. Add in the cold, and it’s probably a good one to spend indoors!

Today’s Daily Digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 1 to 10.

6
Breezy and cool. But waaaaay better than Sunday is gonna be!

Express Forecast

Today: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy. Highs: Near 50.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, windy. Lows: Mid-to-upper 20s.

Tomorrow: Variably cloudy, windy. Flurries? Highs: Low-to-mid 30s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

We’ve got a lot on our plates in the upcoming period, not even including the heaps of food next Thursday. Cold shot one of what appears to be an unusual November chill-down arrives today and tomorrow, with another on the way midweek. There’s also that coastal storm looming alongside the busiest travel days of the year.

Today (Saturday): Thicker clouds that settled in yesterday should break by around sunrise, leaving us at least partly cloudy or mostly clear for much of the day. Daytime highs (we set our official one for today near midnight) are right around 50, give or take a few degrees on either side. Winds from the northwest are around 10-15 mph, with gusts to near 30 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Here comes the real polar plunge. Howling winds and quickly cooling temperatures are accompanied by partly cloudy skies. After temps tumble through the night, lows make the mid-to-upper 20s. Winds stay up, or even increase a bit, blowing 15-20 mph much of the night, with gusts to 35 mph or so. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Sunday): A day to enjoy the great indoors? Skies are variably cloudy, probably cloudiest during midday, when a few snow flurries are possible. It’s a bitter morning with wind chills in the teens. Wind chills don’t really rise much out west during the day, while we make the 20s downtown. Actual temperatures aren’t much better as highs hover near freezing in the coldest outlying spots well north and west, while most of the region is in the low-to-mid 30s. Winds are 20-25 mph from the northwest, with gusts past 40 mph possible.  Confidence: Medium


Widespread strong winds are possible particularly from Saturday afternoon into Sunday. This graphic shows the 1 p.m. Sunday period, which was the windiest of the group on this run of the hi resolution North American Model from 0z 11/23 or late Friday night D.C. time. Wind speeds are in knots sustained. (Weatherbell.com)

Tomorrow night: Thankfully winds quickly diminish after dark, trending toward light by morning. With a very cold air mass overhead, plus clearer skies and weaker winds, plan on lows reaching the upper teens to low 20s across most of the area. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Monday is darn near beautiful after what we went through to get to it. Of course, it’s still rather cold. But with high pressure drifting by, we should see lots of sun and lighter but still noticeable winds. Highs only make the upper 30s to near 40 though. Confidence: Medium

On Tuesday, we’ll be closely watching a storm well to our south and west to see where it goes. At the least, we’ll see increasing clouds. And there’s a good shot that precipitation odds go up heading through the day. By Tuesday evening and night, those odds are greater than even that at least some widespread rain falls, or even a rain/wintry mix scenario well north and west. Tuesday highs are in the low-to-mid 40s, with overnight lows in the 30-35 range. Confidence: Low-Medium

For the busy travel day Wednesday, precipitation may persist into the morning, possibly ending as light “conversational” snow everywhere. No accumulation in the metro area is expected for now though. There’s some hint a second low may try to form as well, and that could slow the precip exit or even bring in a second batch during the day. Either way, colder air starts to filter back in as another Arctic high noses toward us from the northwest. Highs may not get much past the 40-45 degree zone. Confidence: Low-Medium

Thanksgiving itself appears fairly tranquil. Cold  weather is likely, as is some wind, but we’ll also likely see a lot of sun. Highs are probably stuck in the 30s once again. A perfect day for indoor time with the family and/or football! Confidence: Medium


Forecast high temperatures across the northeast U.S. on Thanksgiving via the Global Forecast System model run from 0z 11/23 or Friday night in D.C. (Weatherbell.com)
Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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Ian Livingston · November 23, 2013