D.C. area forecast: Bitter cold today, slight snow chance tonight

Today’s Daily Digit

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

1
Cruel cold slaps us in the face yet again.

Express Forecast

Today: Partly cloudy, breezy. Highs: 17-22.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, chance of light snow. Lows: 8-15.

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Highs: 21-26.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

The Arctic sure has been sharing its air with us an awful lot this winter.  Today will be another super-cold day (15-20 degrees below normal even before factoring in a brutal wind chill) as a frigid air mass continues its glide across the Midwest, South, and East.  A storm system moving off the Southeast coast tonight may scrape our area with a little light snow.   We’ll need to watch the situation closely, but for now the south and east sections of our area have the best chance of accumulations overnight.

The strong cold air mass begins to moderate slightly tomorrow and then more effectively by Thursday and Friday leading into the warmest weekend we have seen for a while as temperatures jump to the 40s and maybe even 50s by early Sunday before yet another cold front comes.  We could see some mixed precipitation this weekend though that could complicate matters a bit.

Today (Tuesday): The latest arctic outbreak fully envelops the area with bitter cold temperatures mainly in the teens all day, but some typically warmer spots may manage the low 20s.  Winds from the northwest at 5-10 mph make the teens feel like painful single digits and even below zero early on.  Partly cloudy skies in the morning shift to mostly cloudy skies by mid-to-late afternoon as a storm system lifts up through the Southeastern U.S.  Confidence: Medium-High

Snow Potential Index

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

4 (↑): Increased chance of light snow tonight but most risk of accumulation SE of DC.

Tonight: The Southeastern U.S. storm system may make an attempt to scrape our area, so we’ve added a 40-60% chance of light snow for the region, with the highest chances in south and southeast areas (and lowest chances west and northwest) by the evening into the overnight hours.  Any accumulations should be very light as the main system remains well to the south and the air is very dry. But as you get into southern Calvert and St. Mary’s county, an inch or two is possible.  Temperatures should mainly hold in the teens, but areas to the north and west could dip into the upper single digits.  Winds from the north and northwest at 5-10 mph.  Confidence: Low-Medium

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

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Partly to mostly cloudy as temperatures only lift up into the 20s.  Northwest winds around 10 mph make it feel like the teens frequently instead.  Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Skies clear out and temperatures fall again into the low to middle teens throughout the area by late night toward dawn.  A few spots north and west of the city could find their way to the colder upper single digits one more time.  Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Thursday moves to mostly sunny skies and warmer as highs lift above freezing for the first time since Monday into the middle 30s by afternoon.  Thursday night should see partly cloudy skies with lows ranging through the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

Friday marks the arrival of more unsettled weather with cloudy skies, but temperatures shift up another level to the low 40s.  Especially by afternoon, there’s a small chance of light snow or rain showers. Friday night is mostly cloudy with lows in the upper 20s to low 30s.  Confidence: Medium

The weekend has a high confidence warmer outlook, but a low confidence precipitation picture due to varying details in the models.  Temperatures are expected to be in the 40s for highs on Saturday and potentially low 50s on Sunday (but could be an early high).  Saturday night’s temperatures may only drop into the 30s early but then could rise overnight into the 40s or maybe even the low 50s by dawn.

As far as weekend precipitation, there is a 30% chance of rain on Saturday.  If it arrives early enough on Saturday, it could mix with some snow.  Otherwise, showers are likely to continue Saturday night into Sunday morning as a cold front approaches.  Sunday’s high should be in the morning along or ahead of the cold front with temperatures dropping back to the 40s and maybe even 30s again by late morning through the afternoon.  Any lingering precipitation could mix with snow before ending.  Confidence: Medium

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Wind chill advisory overnight into the morning, and very cold Tuesday