D.C. area forecast: Big chill today, maybe flakes Saturday but probably more rainy

Today’s Daily Digit

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

3
Shivering at midday despite the sun, not really my idea of fun.

Express Forecast

Today: Sunny, breezy. Highs: 27-31.

Tonight: Mainly clear and calm. Lows: 15-22.

Tomorrow: Sunny morning, a few afternoon clouds. Highs: 39-43.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

For the hardy today is bracing, for the rest of us, bundle up. No complaints about tomorrow as temperatures recover and sun holds. Saturday might start off with some flakes in the morning but not much accumulation is likely for this moisture-challenged system. Yes, D.C. has decided to go for a normal snow season a few tenths of an inch at a time…sigh. Well at least it may get us in the mood for the holidays, that is until it switches to rain by midday. Ah well, little hindrance to shoppers so get out there and spur the economy!

Today (Thursday): Skies should be a crystalline blue, appropriate given the level of cold that should keep us below freezing all day. Highs top out in the upper 20s to lower 30s. Winds of 10-15 mph from the northwest make it feel about 10 degrees colder. So make sure the gloves and scarf are handy. Confidence: High

Tonight: Another teeth-chattering night on tap across the area with mid-upper teens for lows in the suburbs and lower 20s in the city. At least windchill is off the table, as winds drop to about 5 mph. For those of you brave enough, pre-dawn viewing of the Geminid meteor shower should be rewarding. Confidence: High

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

Tomorrow (Friday): The worst of the cold air is out to sea and readings bounce up respectably. Highs should reach the upper 30s to lower 40s under mainly sunny skies. Breezes are blessedly light, 5-10 mph from the southwest. Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: Skies start clouding up overnight as our next storm approaches from the west. Despite calm winds, temperatures only slowly decline and end up in the upper 20s to lower 30s for lows. Sadly no viewing of the Geminids in the early morning as skies are clouded over. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Snow Potential Index

A daily assessment of the potential for *accumulating* snow for the next week on a 1-10 scale.

2 (↓) One of these days we’ll get a real snowstorm, don’t think Saturday is it.

This forecast is subject to refinement – but this is my current thinking: Some picturesque snowflakes could begin fluttering down early Saturday. But if you are one of those “it can’t pile up deep enough” types, best to go back to bed. Don’t get me wrong, forecasts change, but this snow potential does not look promising, at all. A whitened ground could at least set the holiday mood, but if this thing does better than some fraction of an inch accumulation it will have worked overtime around here. Even you overachievers far to the north and west at most settle for a measly inch or two. By midday, sleet and light rain begins to mix in (with a few pockets of freezing rain possible well north and west) and is a nuisance the rest of the day and much of the night. Highs reach the upper 30s to lower 40s. Lows in the low-to-mid 30s could lead to a few slick spots in colder areas late night. Confidence: Medium

Sunday may be a little slow to clear out but expect sun to be more dominant by afternoon. Highs settle for the upper 30s to lower 40s. The night is calm and lows range in the 20s, low-mid burbs, upper downtown. Confidence: Medium

Monday is a relatively unremarkable weather day with plenty of sun but highs only make the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Arctic push tonight; coldest December day in 3 years tomorrow?