D.C. area forecast: Arctic returns today, with little thawing over coming days

* Wind chill advisory for metro region through 9 a.m. Friday morning, north and west suburbs til noon *

Today’s Daily Digit

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

4
Cold, but sunny. A sunny Friday gets a bonus pt despite frigid wind chills at times (especially early).

Express Forecast

Today: Sunshine dominates, but breezy. Highs: Upper teens to low 20s.

Tonight: Increasing clouds, breezy. Lows: Near 10 to near 15, rising late?

Tomorrow: Mainly cloudy, midday snow showers or a period of light snow. Highs: Upper 20s to mid-30s.

Sunday: Slowly increasing clouds. Highs: Upper 20s to mid-30s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

This time of year we expect to be cold, but not really this much colder than average for such a lengthy period. Keep those windows insulated, run that furnace when you need to, and don’t let your heaviest of winter layers wander far from your front door. You’ll need them during our cold, but mostly dry, days ahead!

Today (Friday): Mainly sunny skies may help our moods, but it might not mitigate the sting of 5-15 mph northwesterly breezes. Wind chill values could dip toward zero again, so use all your layers even if the thermometer does manage to get into the upper teens to low 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: As the night wears on, clouds move in. Approaching from the west with our next clipper system. There may be a slight (10-15%) chance of a couple snow showers toward dawn. South winds blow ahead of the system in the 5-15 mph range, so keep that scarf on. Low temperatures fall a little after sunset, into the near 10 to mid-teens range for most of us, but the south wind could bump up temperature a few degrees as the night wears on. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Saturday): We have a decent chance (50%) of snow showers, but they should not amount to a lot. However, it’s possible a period of widespread lighter snow occurs for a short period. That could help locations pick up a dusting to half inch or so should it materialize, or a regular snow shower be heavy. The most likely time for flakes is between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Chilled by 10-15 mph southerly winds, we may not enjoy our “mild” high temperatures in the upper 20s to mid-30s zone. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: If skies can fully clear off and wind fully die down (60% chance of this scenario), then our region would experience a wide temperature range overnight but even downtown gets very cold. Upper single digits are possible well outside the Beltway, with around 20 possible downtown. Confidence: Low-Medium

Sunday: We may see a brief warm surge above 30, perhaps mid-30s for some of us, but another clipper undermines further warming. At least we should be partly to mostly sunny for the morning and midday, until clouds increase. High temperatures could remain colder north and west of town, so stay tuned for further forecast refinement. Confidence: Low-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 0-10 scale.

3 (↑): Odds of a coating or so are up for the Saturday clipper, plus a few other things to watch.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy, as the clipper moves away with its few snow showers (10% chance). If the clipper dips a bit south, we may have to up these chances. In combination with some clouds, light breezes overnight should keep the region in the upper teens to lower 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Monday’s daytime dawns with little movement in temperatures, hovering in the low-to-mid 20s for many of us. We’ll see if the Arctic air reinforcement can stay this entrenched. Some indications are we can briefly pop toward 30, before falling again noticeably. Unfortunately, with our current pattern, seemingly ever-present breezes may add some bite, making the high temperature a bit less relevant perhaps. Skies should be partly to mostly sunny for much of the day, I hope and believe. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday’s conditions may be again fairly brutal as we attempt to recover from possible single digits in the morning hours to mid-teens to around 20 by late afternoon. For now, not expecting much more than flurries or snow showers from a storm developing to our south and offshore, but we’ll watch as these sometimes drift north as we close. As the storm pulls away further from shore, reinforcing winds from the arctic direction of northwest keep us Chicago-like. Confidence: Low

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Yet another blast of frigid air tonight; wind chill advisory N & W suburbs