D.C. area forecast: Nuisance-free New Year’s, but tricky Thursday into Friday

Today’s Daily Digit

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

5
A normal day earns a regular old in-the-middle digit

Express Forecast

Today: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs: 41-45.

Tonight: Few clouds. Lows: 22-29.

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. Highs: 41-45.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

The final day of 2013 is upon us, and our final farewell includes fairly normal weather for this time of year.

No major weather problems confront New Year’s Eve celebrations, but it will be cold as temperatures drop through the 30s into the 20s.  Dress very warmly if you’re out and about (much more than a diaper for Baby New Year impersonations!).

While temperatures stay seasonal, clouds increase  into Thursday with a risk of rain or snow late in the day into Thursday night and Friday. Models continue to vary wildly on this weather system’s potential impact, but we can more safely say that the weekend starts quite cold and dry with some moderation by Sunday.

Today (Tuesday): 2013 goes out quietly with partly to mostly sunny skies, highs in the low to middle 40s, and breezes from the west and northwest at 10-15 mph.  Our best chance to see the most sunshine is in the afternoon hours at least.  Confidence: High

Tonight (New Year’s Eve): Just a few clouds around, but otherwise, winds should calm and temperatures should fall through the 30s into the 20s late at night.  Lows toward dawn should range from the upper 20s in the city to the low 20s in the suburbs.  Confidence: High

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

Tomorrow (New Year’s Day): Partly sunny skies with near seasonal temperatures in the lower to middle 40s and light breezes introduce our new calendar year.   Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: Partly to mostly cloudy and a bit less cold with upper 20s to low 30s for lows. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Snow Potential Index

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

3 (↑) Thurs snow setup improves some, but not even close to done deal. Details to work out..

Thursday begins the complicated part of our forecast.  A series of weather disturbances in the northern and southern branches of the jet stream attempt to converge over our area.   For starters, we should at least expect cloudy skies with highs in the low to middle 40s.  There is a 30% chance of afternoon light rain or snow.  By Thursday night, odds increase to 60% for precipitation, which could be snow or a rain/snow mix yet.  It is too early to know how much precipitation we can expect unfortunately (we could even miss us!), but temperatures should drop into the 20s by Friday’s dawn.  Confidence: Low

Friday could see lingering precipitation in the morning to around midday as we stay very cold and winds pick up.  Temperatures hold in the 20s, but wind chills could make it feel like the teens with variable cloud cover.   Friday night looks very cold with clearing skies and calming winds.  Lows range from just the upper single digits in the outer suburbs to the middle teens in the city.  If (and this is a really big IF) we get accumulation of snow, lows Friday night could be colder with lower single digits to low teens range instead.   Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend starts on the very cold side as highs on Saturday should only manage near freezing, but at least skies are sunny.  Saturday night is aiming for mostly clear skies with lows in the teens to low 20s, while Sunday starts to see an increase in cloud cover as temperatures warm to the low 40s.  Confidence: Medium

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Remaining cool through a breezy Tuesday; Christine hits Australia