D.C. area forecast: Abnormal warmth, gusty showers and a Christmas chill

12:10 p.m. Update: North and west of downtown and I-95 showers have mostly stopped, but they look to persist for a while for areas south and east of there.

8:55 a.m. Update: From the National Weather Service: “124 year old record high temperatures already broken or tied as of 830 am this morning! DCA: High temp of 72 so far which ties the record set in 1889 BWI: High temp of 71 so far, breaking the record of 70 (1889) Dulles: High temp of 71 so far, breaking the record of 67 (1984).” This follows yesterday’s record-breaking warmth!

8:35 a.m. Update: The 20-30% chance of morning showers has come to fruition for much of the area. On and off showers are likely through the day, though there may be an extended “off” period at some point. North and west of town the showers have knocked temperatures down into the 60s after being in the low 70s earlier this morning. Breaks in the showers may allow those temperatures to rebound back to near or above 70 during the day.

Today’s Daily Digit

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

8
70s? In December? Only the lack of sun and likely PM showers detract from the digit.

Express Forecast

Today: Warm and a bit humid. Increasing chance of showers, t’storm? Highs: Low-to-mid 70s (seriously!)

Tonight: Showers likely, t’storm? Lows: Upper 50s to low 60s.

Tomorrow: Morning showers likely, clearing late. Highs: Near 60 early, falling in p.m.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Record highs at all three area airports (DCA: 72, IAD: 67, BWI: 70) are in range today after this morning’s record warm lows. Even without the sun, it feels more like late spring than late December. Spring-like showers – with gusty winds and possible thunder – become likely this afternoon into tonight, and could continue into Monday morning.  Beyond that, winter’s chill moves back in for the holidays, and we even have a chance for a mood-setting flurry on Christmas Eve. Christmas itself is bright and sunny, with temperatures cold enough to keep the spirit of the season alive.


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 (Sunday): I dare say there’s a hint of humidity out there as temperatures could climb even higher today, likely reaching highs the low-to-mid 70s despite abundant cloud cover. Dew points into the 60s are more typical of July and August than a few days before Christmas! A 20-30% chance of a morning shower or two increases to a 60% chance of afternoon showers and maybe a thunderstorm. Winds from the south blow at 15-25 mph, and could gust much higher with any heavier showers. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: As the front slows down over the area, more showers are likely with perhaps some thunder as well. Again, don’t be surprised by some strong wind gusts with any heavier activity. Many spots may pick up near or over 1 inch of rain by around sunrise.  Temperatures probably don’t drop much below 60. Confidence: Medium-High

Will the warmth stick around for Christmas?  Keep reading for the forecast through midweek…

Tomorrow (Monday): The front may very well linger long enough to complicate the morning commute. Pockets of moderate showers remain a decent bet (60% chance) during the morning. The rain should start exiting to the east during the afternoon, but mostly cloudy skies could hang around through the day. Highs in the upper 50s to low 60s likely occur during the morning, with afternoon temperatures falling through the 50s as winds shift to come from the northwest. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Clearing skies prevail as breezy winds from the  northwest bring in colder and drier air. Temperatures fall steadily during the evening and overnight, on their way to lows in the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Colder air settles in for Christmas Eve as gusty winds from the northwest bring back the winter chill. Highs struggle to the upper 30s to low 40s, and a few flurries are possible as well, just enough to bring back the Christmas spirit after our record warmth. Breezy conditions continue Tuesday night with mostly clear skies and chilly lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

It’s plenty cold for Christmas, but I’m sorry to say, a white one is not in the cards. Mostly sunny skies still shine down to brighten the spirits, and winds calm down as high pressure passes overhead and highs top out in the mid-to-upper 30s.  Overall it’s a good day to spend inside with the family, but with no weather worries for those traveling to and from. Confidence: Medium-High

Also on Capital Weather Gang

Record-breaking warmth across the D.C. area, and broader eastern U.S.