D.C. area forecast: Sharp cold punch today with another next week

January 3

* Wind advisory 2 a.m. to noon Friday entire region | Wind chill advisory Frederick, Carroll, northern Baltimore, Montgomery and Loudoun counties 4 a.m. to noon Friday * | Winter storm snarling travel, delays expected to continue Friday | Latest snow amounts | School Closings | Power outages

9:25 a.m. update: Here’s a cool shot of snow cover over the region this morning! A few clouds over WV and over water, but most of that white is snow around here.


Snow cover as seen from as GOES satellite on Jan. 3, 2013 (NASA)

9:00 a.m. update: As noted in our social feeds, the 1.9 inch snowfall total at National Airport appears as if it will stand. Just shy of the 2 inch mark we’ve been looking for (but close enough?). Reports from around there back it up, and some even wonder if it is high. National Airport was above freezing for much of the event, as tends to be the case of late it seems in that area. But that zone was an island of less snow in the region, with reports above that in pretty much all directions.

On a side note. If you haven’t treated your sidewalks and such, you should! There won’t be any meaningful melting today given the cold temperatures and low sun angle.

7:15 a.m. update: Winds are gusting to 40 mph still across the area, and temperatures have fallen a bit more (pretty much everyone in the teens now, some low) just prior to sunrise. The good news is we may have already peaked, or we are doing so during the next few hours. Given the temperatures, winds stay quite annoying through at least the afternoon though, with wind chills struggling out of the single digits (some below zero), even during the day until winds taper markedly. Before you get out on the road, be sure to clear the snow from your car. Even a little blowing off at the wrong time can cause problems.


NAM 4KM model from earlier this morning shows winds decreasing slowly as we head through the day. They should remain pretty gusty until evening though. (Weatherbell.com)

5:35 a.m. update: Winds sustained between 15-25 mph across much of the area are accompanied by gusts around 40 mph early this morning as well as a few remnant snow flakes in the air. Add to that, the temperatures that fell like a rock last night. Wind chills are not too far from zero across the region prior to sunrise, and they won’t be going far for a while — much of the day really. Be extra careful headed out this morning as any water or melty snow from last night has flash frozen, and there are areas of blowing snow. It’s sure to be rather slow going in most of the region, and a rising sun won’t really help matters as temperatures won’t be going up much today.

 

Today’s Daily Digit

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

1
Despite iciness left behind by a snowy night, I’m pretending our deep-freeze deserves a point.

Express Forecast

Today: Clearing, very windy and frigid. Daytime highs: Upper teens to mid-20s.

Tonight: Clear, still frigid, lessening breeze. Lows: 9-18.

Tomorrow: Mainly sunny, less cold. Highs: Mid-30s to around 40.

Sunday: Mainly cloudy, afternoon showers could mix with flakes. Highs: 40-47.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

From 5:00 a.m.: Down and up we go. Arctic air today and then the next few should have a bit of seasonably chilly air before another stinging day or two. Soon, 40 degrees will feel almost delightful. So bundle up today—bundle up like crazy—and then leave that pile of layers out for use again next week. We have a bit of precipitation to watch on the edges of this  big cold air mass too.

Wind Chill Map

Wind chills: Latest D.C. area wind chills. See more maps on our Weather Wall.

Today (Friday): Use caution in the morning, anything wet flash froze overnight. Some roads are likely to be quite ugly. Clearing skies and big winds set the scene of our truly frozen day. With northwesterly winds gusting above 40 mph once or twice (mainly in the morning), and midday maximum temperatures in the upper teens to mid-20s, prepare for brutal wind chills near to slightly BELOW ZERO at times. Even when not gusting, average winds still burn from the northwest at 15-25 mph, hopefully giving us a hint of reprieve by sunset. Find the balaclava, heavy duty/lined ski clothes, and major moisturizer. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Crisp and clear skies readily reveal the stars. Look how they shine in such dry, Arctic air. Luckily for us, winds drop from 10 mph out of the northwest toward calm conditions before sunrise. Ironically, this allows temperatures to fall more readily into the 10-18 degree range around the urban and sub-urban areas. Coldest spots do indeed eye some single digits. Confidence: Medium

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

Tomorrow (Saturday): This is our day for some temperature recovery, thanks to light southerly breezes returning, ranging from 5-10 mph. Keep on some layers though, since wind chill may still be felt at times, despite this wind being from the warmer southerly direction. Enjoy the slight sense of thaw, overall, as sunny skies prevail and temperatures should max out in the mid-30s to around 40 south of town. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Again mostly clear and crisp with a sharp, wintry set of stars. Lows temperatures in the in the mid-to upper 20s feel almost delightful, could we argue? Confidence: High Sunday: We see a good deal of clouds as some moisture heads northward into our area, ahead of the next (again sharp and strong) cold front. For the moment, our continuation of light southerly breezes should still boost us into the low-to-mid 40s. With a growing (30-40%) chance of afternoon precipitation developing during this warmest part of the day. Most or all of it should be in liquid form. Confidence: Low-Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Sunday night: The afternoon showers have a higher chance of dampening our evening plans and into the overnight hours (70% chance). Flakes could mix in again, later into the night, but roads should stay OK. Temperatures mostly hover in the mid-30s. Take it slow on bridges and overpasses, though, just in case. Also take that big scarf if you are out late, as winds may build back into the region in Arctic-blustery fashion. Confidence: Low-Medium

Snow Potential Index

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

3 (↓) Some flakes could mix in Sun/Mon but accumulation in question. Late next week also worth watching for now.

Monday’s conditions may be inverted as temperatures head downward as the day progresses. Showers along the Arctic front having blasted through, we get blown down again by strong northwesterly winds and temperatures plummeting from perhaps the mid-40s in a morning spike of temperatures to the freezing mark by the afternoon. I will warn you that teens are likely after sunset for many of us. Maybe worse. So far the timing of precip and plummeting temperatures doesn’t warrant much call for snow/frozen precipitation accumulation, but we’ll watch it for you. At least skies stay fairly sunny for over half of the day? Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday’s one for caution and for serious bundling up. Maybe even a record or two will be challenged? Remains to be seen if temperatures threatening to max out between 10-20 degrees actually come to fruition. Cold enough though, even if it ends up a bit warmer. So prepare with scarves and gloves and sweaters and …everything you have in your arsenal. Ignore the sunny skies because they are trying to trick you when looking outside! Confidence: Low-Medium

Ian Livingston contributed to this post.

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