D.C. area forecast: Alberta Clipper parade brings minor snow risks as big cold looms

Today’s Daily Digit

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

4
Temps a bit above avg, with shade from clouds at times. Embrace boring before the bone chilling arrives?

Express Forecast

Today: More clouds than sun. Highs: Mid-40s to around 50.

Tonight: Increasing clouds and breezes. Snow showers late? Lows: Mid-20s to around 30.

Tomorrow: Arctic wind, increasing sun. Highs: Near 30 to Mid-30s.

Sunday: Another increase in breezes, chill, and sunshine. Highs: Near 40 to mid-40s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL


Clouds: Latest mid-Atlantic infrared satellite shows movement of clouds over past two hours. Refresh page to update. See more maps on our Weather Wall.

Mid-winter is upon us and the atmosphere would like to deliver you a parade of fast moving punches of blustery Arctic air. Up and down we may go with the temperatures and winds. You may not notice much “down time” between these Alberta Clippers, but some of you may like the slight increase in snow shower chances. As for the upcoming holiday, it really may be the gem of the next 5 days, so I hope you can enjoy MLK Day on Monday.

Today (Friday): A fair number of clouds may only give us periods of (milky) sunshine. Thanks to a southerly wind (5-10 mph), mid-40s to around 50 should be attainable for almost everyone. West of town, for our readers in the mountain and valley areas, a 5-10% chance of a sprinkle or flurry is possible. Don’t hold your breath though. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clouds thicken up, becoming overcast. Rain sprinkles may mix with and change to snow showers well after dinner time—mainly later at night. You might not want to wait up, though, with a 40-50% chance of a light dusting by sunrise. If out late, do watch for a few slick spots as temperatures do effectively freeze. We’re in the mid-20s to around 30 by morning. Winds turn a bit stronger as they shift out of the northwest at 10-15 mph. Bundle up behind this quick clipper system! Confidence: Medium

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

Tomorrow (Saturday): Winter says hello again, and cold air behind our clipper does have a decent chance to win the day. High temperatures should struggle to near or past 30, with a good range in the 29-36 zone for now. As for sky conditions, we may see periodic clouds, but we should end up with more sunshine than we have seen in a few days. Bundle in layers, with westerly winds which may average around 15-20 mph, gusting a couple times a bit higher. It’s decidedly wintry. At least for us in D.C., haha. Confidence: Medium

Snow Potential Index

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

2 (→) Flakes could fly in very small doses ahead, but conversational mainly. Better snow pattern about a week out?

Tomorrow night: After midnight it may again get interesting with a 40-50% chance of some snow showers. It’s a little colder, but the system is again moisture starved, so a dusting or so is probably the best most will do. Winds that had momentarily decreased late in the day and early evening, may again pick up to 5-10 mph out of the south ahead of our next clipper in the parade. If you can get out early you can briefly see some stars in the sky around dinnertime. Lows drop into the 21-28 degree range it appears, with warmest being downtown of course. Confidence: Medium

Sunday: Skies clear quickly behind our clipper and that should help boost temperatures upwards toward their midday high temperatures in the near 40 to mid-40 range. But as we are learning that behind these clippers, cold air and wind can win out. Thus, temperatures and wind chills (thanks to moderately gusty westerly winds) may fall back well before sunset. Exact temperature expectations are somewhat divergent so we will have to watch how Sunday temperatures behave once we get closer. Confidence: Low-Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Sunday night: Finally our time again is upon us for winds to gradually die down overnight. That, combined with clearing skies, should allow for chilly low temperatures in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Medium

Martin Luther King Jr Day (Monday)’s looking like a brilliant day with mostly sunny skies and perhaps a break in the temperatures with mid-40s to low 50s possible. Great for walking around the Tidal Basin to visit the MLK memorial. Winds may stay light as well. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday’s another return to winter, and it may last a while, so I hope you enjoyed yesterday. This looks like one of those days with high temperatures right around midnight followed by a hefty plunge in the readings. So, off morning lows in the near 20 to mid-20s range, daytime temps are only in the 20s to near 30. Likely gusty winds as well. Parka and full cold-weather gear type stuff. Confidence: Low

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Cold overnight, dry and chilly Friday; the full wolf moon