D.C. area forecast: Not as cold today but light icing risk for late tonight

Today’s Daily Digit

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

6
Finally making it above freezing makes this a better than average day, some sunshine sprinkled in doesn’t hurt either.

Express Forecast

Today: Partly sunny. Highs: 37-41.

Tonight: 30% chance of light mixed precipitation. Lows: 25-30.

Tomorrow: 40% chance of light mix to rain. Highs: 40-44.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

Up, up, and away with the temperatures. Okay, not exactly the stuff of Superman intensity but a nice move out of the cellar.

The only real problem in this forecast is whether moisture makes it to the ground Friday morning when the ground may still be freezing. Odds are better moisture arrives late enough that most areas escape with just rain. But an earlier arrival could cause ice and some spotty commuting challenges, so be vigilant.

The hero of this forecast is potentially Saturday with highs making a run for 60, but rain could play spoiler especially into the afternoon.

Today (Thursday): There could still be a fair amount of clouds to start the morning but they are likely to become steadily thinner allowing at least partial sunshine to power up. For the first time in nearly 3 full days, we crack the freezing mark with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Winds are nearly calm. Confidence: High

Tonight: Clouds increase quickly in the evening but temperatures are still likely to slip below freezing in most areas and that is the problem. Moisture is moving in even if weakly. Anything that reaches the ground would freeze on contact. Fortunately, there is only a 30% chance of measurable precipitation and it will be very light - probably in the form of freezing rain/drizzle, but sleet/snow could mix in the colder north and west suburbs. Any ice accumulation should be quite modest, so this a slipping issue, not a pulling down trees/power lines event. Winds remain mainly calm. Lows should reach mid-20s northwest of city but near 30 downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Snow Potential Index

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

1 (↓) Freezing rain most likely precip, if any, early Friday. No sign of snow thereafter.

Tomorrow (Friday): The good news is things warm up quickly in the morning but some areas north and west of town could still struggle to get above freezing through mid-morning to midday (a few colder pockets even longer). There is a 40% chance of freezing rain and/or rain but again it will be very light, generally less than a tenth of an inch. Still only a hint of a breeze. Highs eventually reach the low-to-mid 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: The chance of showers drops off to 20% in the evening and most areas enjoy a non-freezing night with lows in the 30s (upper downtown/lower northwest suburbs). Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Saturday is blessed and vexed by an approaching cold front. Strong southerly breezes push much warmer air into the region but also a good deal of clouds and by afternoon a 60% chance of showers that jumps to 80% by evening. Highs should make it into the 50s in all areas and if those pesky showers hold off until late afternoon, some lower 60s are still in the cards. Rains should be substantial overnight with one-half to one inch amounts likely in much of the area. Lows fall to the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium

Sunday shifts gears back to cooler but at least clearing skies. One thing is for sure this cold front is small potatoes compared to the bushel load of cold we have contended with this week. Highs should still reach upper 40s in most areas. However, brisk west winds will keep it just that. They let up quickly in the evening with overnight lows in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Monday is back the other direction with more strong warming allowing highs to reach the 50s across the area. Skies are generally sunny to boot. The only concern is the back and forth temperatures can increase cold and flu vulnerability so wash those hands frequently.  Confidence: Medium

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Cloudy and seasonably cold tonight, milder Thursday