D.C. area forecast: Spotty wintry mix to driving rain; clearing out on Thanksgiving

* Winter Weather Advisory For Fairfax and Montgomery counties as well as points north and west into this afternoon *

9:45 a.m. update: Rain has overspread the entire region.  Isolated reports of freezing rain have come in at high elevations and far western areas, but – by and large -roads are just wet, and not icy. By midday, all areas should have plain rain.

5:45 a.m. update: Some spotty light sleet and rain zipped through the region this morning but  temperatures are above freezing in most areas. Thus, we do not expect significant icing and wouldn’t be surprised if the winter weather advisory is dropped in many locations. In addition to the above freezing temperatures, radar shows a gap in precipitation over our area and it may be several hours before steady precipitation – mostly in the form of plain rain (except possibly a bit of sleet in western Loudoun and Frederick counties) makes itself known in the area.  For most of the region, the AM commute should be ok.

Today’s Daily Digit

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

3
I really despise cold rain; if it is going to be cold, I’d rather see snow

Express Forecast

Today: AM wintry mix changing to cold rain. Highs: 37-42.

Tonight: Rain, heavy at times. Variable temps: 40-55.

Tomorrow: Showers mixed with snow in p.m. Highs: 40-45, falling in pm.

FORECAST IN DETAIL


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.

From 5:00 a.m.: Developing low pressure along the north central Gulf coast this morning becomes our weather-maker for the next two days, causing complicated conditions in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  For the most part, this should be a rain event- and a heavy one. But some mixed frozen precipitation chances bookend this vigorous storm both this morning and then again late Wednesday.  See below for more details.

Otherwise, colder and drier weather returns for Thanksgiving day with slowly warming temperatures through the holiday weekend.

Today (Tuesday): Light precipitation moves into the area this morning as a mix of light snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain especially west of the city.  The initial precipitation is forecast to be very light, but keep an eye on temperatures as even a light amount of precipitation could glaze surfaces especially farther north and west.

Mixed precipitation switches to all rain by midday and into the afternoon with moderate to heavy rain toward rush hour.  Localized flooding is a reasonable risk due to faster run-off on the cold ground as well as accumulation of leaves blocking drainage.  Some parts of the foothills out west and northwest could see mixed precipitation yet through the afternoon hours.  Temperatures continue to be cold with only upper 30s to low 40s favored along with light and variable winds.  The area could pick up about .25″ to .50″ of rain by evening.  Confidence: Medium

Temperature Map

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

Tonight: Rain, heavy at times, with a wide range of temperatures.  The western suburbs into the Baltimore/Washington corridor should warm into the 40s and hold, but areas to the east could see overnight temperatures increase to the 50s (or even near 60) as a coastal warm front moves up along with the storm system.   Overnight rains could total another 1-2″ around the area, so localized flooding concerns continue.  Winds are mostly from the east at 5-15 mph. Confidence: Medium

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

Tomorrow (Wednesday):  Rain showers in the morning mixing with and changing to snow showers in the afternoon.  Temperatures are in the low-to-middle 40s in the morning dropping to the upper 30s and low 40s in the afternoon as winds pick up from the northwest at 15-20 mph (offering up some wind chilled air to make it feel more like the lower 30s or colder at times).  The ground should be too warm at this point to see any last-minute accumulation from snow showers.  Overall, an additional 0.1-0.5″  of liquid equivalent precipitation is possible (rain plus melted snow) for a storm total of 1.25″-3″ around the area for this entire event (making up our November rainfall deficit fairly well!).  Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Evening snow showers or flurries are possible, but then clearing later at night, turning windy and colder.  Lows reach down to the 20s with winds at 15-20 mph with higher gusts at times amplifying the wind chill unpleasantness.  Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Thanksgiving is another very chilly day (more like a January day) with a windy morning turning to light breezes in the afternoon.  At least we have partly to mostly sunny skies as highs only reach the middle 30s.  Clear and cold Thanksgiving night with lows ranging from the upper teens out near Dulles to the middle 20s in the city.  It’s a cold night if you are camping out for door-busters, so take as much warm clothing along as you can!  Confidence: Medium-High

Friday for you continuing shoppers should find mostly sunny skies and still cold weather as highs reach the upper 30s to around 40.  At least the cold weather will keep many in the holiday spirit.  Mostly clear and cold Friday night with lows in the 20s.  Confidence: Medium-High

The weekend slowly moderates with mostly sunny skies on Saturday as highs reach the lower 40s and partly cloudy conditions on Sunday with highs warming to the middle to upper 40s.  Lows should be in the 30s Saturday night with some upper 20s in the western suburbs.  Confidence: Medium-High

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Storm approaching; wintry mix risk at onset, especially north and west