D.C. area forecast: Warming up while we wait on possible weekend wintry mix

December 4, 2013

Today’s Daily Digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

7
Considerable clouds aren’t enough to spoil pleasant highs in the 50s.

Express Forecast

Today: Mostly to partly cloudy, warmer. Morning shower SE burbs? Highs: Mid-50s.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, perhaps some drizzle. Lows: Upper 40s to low 50s.

Tomorrow: Partly to mostly cloudy, mild. Late-day shower? Highs: Mid-to-upper 60s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Our expected warm-up is in full swing with highs climbing to the 50s today and 60s tomorrow. An approaching cold front brings the potential for a couple periods of rain between late Thursday and early Saturday. Behind the front, things get a bit more interesting as cold air settles in and a storm system comes up from the south. We’re probably not looking at a significant snow-maker, but a wintry mix on Sunday could cause some trouble before probably changing to rain Sunday night into Monday.


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): A little system tracking primarily through southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina keeps us mostly cloudy this morning and could (30% chance) spread a few light showers into areas mainly south and east of the Beltway. Afternoon clouds may break up just enough to allow some glimpses of sun, but no guarantees. Temperatures are plenty pleasant regardless, with highs in the mid-50s and light winds near 5-10 mph from the south-southeast. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: A blanket of mostly cloudy skies keeps much of that daytime warmth from escaping to space. That means lows mainly in the upper 40s to low 50s with light winds, and a bit of drizzle or even a passing light shower possible. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Thursday): Partly to mostly cloudy skies, and perhaps a patch or two of morning drizzle, can’t hold back mild air surging in from the south. Afternoon highs hit the mid-to-upper 60s, with a 30% chance of a late-afternoon shower. Winds arrive from the south at around 10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Snow Potential Index

A daily assessment of the potential for at least ~1″ of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.

1 (→) Potential for more than brief flakes Sunday before changeover to ice/rain seems slim.

Tomorrow night: Shower chances increase to 50% Thursday night as a cold front approaches, but any activity should be on the light side. Temperatures stay super mild with lows in the mid-to-upper 50s. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Looks like any showers around early Friday should move out by mid-morning, as temperatures stay fairly steady with daytime highs in the mid-50s to near 60. Then a more juicy area of the cold front moves through with a 70% chance of rain developing Friday afternoon and lasting into Friday night, when lows sink to near 40. The rain threat should move out Saturday morning, giving way to a breezy and cold day with highs only in the 40s under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Saturday night lows drop down to the upper 20s to mid-30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

A light wintry mix is likely Sunday and could start during the morning or afternoon. A brief period of snow is possible at the onset, but rain, freezing rain and sleet look to be the primary forms of precipitation. While temperatures may get stuck in the low-to-mid 30s through much of the day, a warmer ground could help keep this from becoming a significant ice storm locally, though that is not a sure bet yet.

At the very least, we could see some slick spots especially in the north and west suburbs, and road conditions may become more treacherous in the far north and west suburbs (e.g., Frederick, Loudoun and Fauquier counties). Still a good deal of uncertainty in this forecast so check back for updates. Any frozen precipitation should change to plain rain as temperatures warm Sunday night into Monday. Confidence: Low

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.
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