D.C. area forecast: Decent Saturday, then freezing rain risk overnight into Sunday; super cold early week

Today’s Daily Digit

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

7
May struggle to freezing or a bit above, but way tamer than our perhaps underrated Friday. Sledding hill!

Express Forecast

Today: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs: Near 30 to mid-30s

Tonight: Increasing clouds. Chance of freezing rain or rain showers by sunrise. Lows: 24-30.

Tomorrow: Periods of showers, maybe pockets of freezing rain early. Highs: Upper 30s to low 40s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

Our first of two early January Arctic blasts has already peaked, but we remain colder than normal most of the time before “the big one” arrives early on Monday. Off the coldest morning lows in several years for most of the area, today’s kind of your classic winter day — enjoy some of that snow out there! Though it may present a trick or two, Sunday’s our main thaw. Then it just gets ugly.

Today (Saturday): Skies are partly to mostly sunny, and winds are lighter than Friday. Highs may struggle to reach freezing in spots, especially north and west, with others lucking out and making the mid-30s. Winds are from the south around 5-10 mph with higher gusts at times.  Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clouds increase as the night goes, though we should see a fair amount of stars early. The cloud blanket and continued south winds both help keep temperatures up in the 20s, ranging from 24-30 most places. Precipitation of note should try to hold off till near sunrise, but a growing chance (30%) of light rain or some freezing rain shows up in the pre-dawn period. There may be some spots of drizzle anytime after midnight though. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Sunday): Some showers of light rain or patchy freezing rain may be around early in the day, and the odds for plain rain showers increase to about 60% as time goes. It doesn’t look like anything intense, but could be pesky much of the day once it starts. With clouds and rain around, and no major wind intrusion from the south, temperatures are probably in the upper 30s and lower 40s for daytime highs, although they will likely rise further ahead of the front. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: As low pressure deepens to our north and west, a southerly flow of mild air becomes stronger for most or all of the night — probably spiking temperatures slightly into the low-and-mid 40s or so in the midnight and beyond period. Nothing big when it comes to rain, just some scattered showers possible most of the night. Toward sunrise, the Arctic front is on our doorstep and shower chances should at least briefly increase to likely as it passes. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

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 (→) Snowflakes with the passage of the Arctic front could coat a few spots Mon. Eying Thur/Fri too.

Monday’s highs are early. As the front passes, we can expect either scattered to numerous showers along and behind it, or maybe a thicker band that lasts a few hours. Cold air filters in aloft fast enough that we may see a period of snow to close, which could lead to a dusting or a bit more in some spots. Following morning highs in the 40s, temperatures are heading through the 30s and 20s during the afternoon, and seemingly the teens near or after sunset. Very windy too, with sustained to 25 mph or so possible, which could be gusts past 40 mph. Confidence: Medium

It’s going to be rather wicked on Monday night, with temperatures likely in the single digits or below across pretty much the whole area — near 10 in D.C? At least a few places out west and north of the city have a decent shot to head below zero, especially spots which hold a snowpack through the “thaw.” One negative factor for reaching full potential might be that winds continue to whip all night. Of course, that wind means wind chills could go toward silly numbers like -10 or colder across the local area. Confidence: Medium


7 a.m. Tuesday wind chill forecast from the 0z 1/4/13 GFS weather model run. (Weatherbell.com)

Winds slowly ease and lift northeast on Tuesday, but it’s a small positive in a pretty difficult day unless you’re from Alaska or something. For now, highs in the 13-18 range seem about the best bet, but subject to change a bit either way really. Three or four layers may be required regardless of the exact temperature. At least we get a mostly to partly sunny day. Silver lining… sorta. Confidence: Medium

Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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