D.C. area forecast: Thunder possible in gusty showers today, but moving out ahead of a pleasant weekend

Today’s Daily Digit

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

6
Heavy showers (and some rumbles?) a pain. Positives include washing the salt away and mild temps. Agree?

Express Forecast

Today: Heavy showers and thundershowers into midday, p.m. clearing. Highs: 50s to near 60.

Tonight: Mostly clear, cool. Lows: Around 30 to upper 30s.

Tomorrow: More sun than clouds. Highs: Near 60 to mid-60s.

Sunday: Increasingly cloudy. Highs: Mid-50s to near 60.

FORECAST IN DETAIL


Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

The squall line today isn’t a derecho — not even remotely close, really — but it could produce some strong to even severe wind gusts. Low-lying areas may see significant short-term runoff as well in spots, so stay aware out there. Scattered showers behind the heftiest line should give way to clearing skies by mid-afternoon for most of us west of the bay. It’s relatively smooth sailing for the weekend ahead, please do enjoy prior to next week’s incursion of a ticked-off Arctic air mass. No, no, dear winter, we did not forget it’s still February. Nevermind, appeasing it won’t stop it.

Today (Friday): Thunder may accompany a line of heavy showers moving in as early as 8 to 10 a.m. in the western suburbs, with downpours from the squall line then progressing through the city and east into the midday or early afternoon. A few showers are possible prior to the main line, and more are likely after it passes. It could take until mid-afternoon to clear all the rain risk out of the region. The precise timing will require us to keep an eye on radar, but the chance of at least periodic moderate-to-heavy rain is about 100%. Rain could quickly add up to 0.25-0.5″ or even higher in spots hit hardest.

Wind gusts past 30 mph are a good bet in heavier shower or thunderstorm activity, with an outside shot of reaching potentially damaging wind speeds of 50 mph or so, mainly east or southeast of the city. Highs could head for or past 60 if the rain holds off long enough, but the timing makes it difficult to be sure we get out of the 50s. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Ever-clearer skies and slackening southwest winds (5-10 mph) should help us relax after a somewhat rocky day. Bundle up if out late, though. Temperatures could fall to somewhat chilly levels by dawn—around 30 in clear, calm outlying areas to perhaps the upper 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Saturday): We’re GO for outdoor activities. Almost a “last chance” to an extent, since it may prove to be the nicest day of the weekend. Or, a while after this weekend. More sunshine than clouds, southwest breezes in the 5-15 mph range, with high temperatures in the low-to-mid 60s. What more could we want? (winter lovers, be patient, it’s not over yet.) Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Clouds want to move in, but hopefully not fast enough to extinguish our sunset light that lasts past 6 p.m. Low temperatures downtown may halt their descent in the low 40s, with mid-30s possible well outside the Beltway in the clearer and calmer spots. Southwest breezes around 5 mph could persist all night, keeping even cold spots from dipping too far. Confidence: Medium

Sunday:  Temperatures reaching the mid-50s to near 60 are not too shabby considering substantial cloud cover is likely. Don’t call your friends in the Midwest, because you’ll hear about what’s heading our way. Westerly winds are fairly light most of the day, and pretty inconsequential to the weather other than adding a bit of a breeze. There could be a shower or two late day. 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 0-10 scale.

2 (→) A few threats out there. Midweek, then about a week from now. Nothing clear enough to raise the number yet.

Sunday night: Skies may remain mostly cloudy as our front of Arctic fury barrels through. Assuming that northwesterly winds pick up behind the front, low temperatures nosedive into the 20s for almost everyone outside the Beltway, perhaps clawing onto the freezing mark downtown. There could be a rain or snow shower as the front passes, and a snow shower afterward. Confidence: Medium-High

Monday’s blast of colder air feels rough. Daytime high temperatures likely struggle for upper 30s to low 40s. We even have a 10% chance of rain/snow showers, but nothing to worry about just yet. Sunshine should win over most of the day. Northwest winds are likely to remain gusty, so find that scarf and gloves. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday’s chances of a rain/snow mix go up just a bit (to at least 30%), but we need to keep an eye on timing if precipitation comes in lightly or even at all after traveling over the mountains. Also, the storm may redevelop offshore throwing additional monkey wrenches at the forecast. Much remains uncertain, but there could be some wintry risk with this one. We’ll keep you posted, just don’t fret too much yet since we have time to watch it. Temperatures should get into the mid-to-upper 30s even under somewhat cloudy conditions, and closer to 40 or above if clearer. Confidence: Low

Ian Livingston contributed to this forecast.

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Mild Friday, with gusty late morning showers