D.C. area forecast: Cold today as focus turns to wintry mess risk starting late Sunday

February 28

Today’s Daily Digit

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

5
Quite cold, but less windy. Woohoo! Sunshine a plus. I’ll bundle up and remind myself it’s a Friday.

Express Forecast

Today: Sunny for most of day, calmer wind. Highs: 24-30.

Tonight: Clouding over. Lows: Mid teens to near 20.

Tomorrow: Morning flurry? Clearing. Highs: Upper 30s to mid-40s.

Sunday: Mainly cloudy. Showers moving in late. Highs: 40s to perhaps low 50s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Focusing on the positives, we have chilly weather we are fairly used to, with periodic warming above freezing coming tomorrow into Sunday. However, the storm approaching Sunday brings many questions, with the only well known fact that precipitation is on its way to us by Sunday night. So please enjoy the calm before our long-winded storm, which may last perhaps through all of Monday. Messy is the key word. We’ll give you updates as we digest the complicated nature of this winter storm potential heading our way.

Temperature Map

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

Today (Friday): Strong sunshine should not have to battle too many clouds, but it shall struggle against a cold core of air over top of us. High temperatures for many of us may only briefly touch mid-to-upper 20s, but a few sunny spots—especially south of town—could eye 30 or even a little higher. Such a dry air mass could produce lots of static shocks, chapped lips, and dry skin. Winds finally die down into lighter 5-10 mph breezes from the north, turning more easterly by afternoon. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: We’ve got clouds on the increase. A small disturbance is trying to head toward us and is considering dropping a few flurries or snow showers, but any flakes should hold off until around sunrise. Clouds help blanket and insulate us so that low temperatures only go down a bit (from our high temperatures) into the low-to-mid 20s. Light breezes blow out of the easterly direction, generally. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Saturday): We could have some flurries or snow showers in the morning but chances may only be around 10-20%. We’ll watch to see if our weak disturbance—which should at least provide us some morning clouds—ends up with enough moisture to produce some snow for us. Don’t expect too much though. Temperatures could rise quickly through the day toward afternoon high temperatures heading for the upper 30s to the mid-40s. You can thank 5-10 mph southerly breezes and clearing skies during the afternoon aiding in our possible temperature spike. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: We may cloud over again. Low temperatures stay in the relatively mild mid-to-upper 30s. Hey, any chance for a quick thaw, I will take. Light south-southwesterly breezes should continue, and assist with this overnight steam bath. Confidence: Medium

Sunday: Skies could stay mostly cloudy as our messy wintry system approaches. Our protracted (over 30hrs-long, perhaps) period of precipitation could start on Sunday afternoon, but hopefully no earlier than late afternoon, and more likely toward evening. High temperatures should get into the 40s (perhaps some 50s, especially south of town), assuming we keep our southerly and westerly flow ahead of a low pressure system moving toward us from the west. So far, it looks like rain showers are our first precipitation type to experience. We have about a 30% chance of afternoon rain showers as it appears now, and nothing too heavy initially. 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. More info

5 (↑) While the storm late Sunday into Monday appears pretty messy still, odds are up for some accumulation in the area.

Sunday night: Here it is, the wintry mess upon us (80-90% chance of precipitation). If rain showers did not begin before sunset, they shouldn’t be far behind dinnertime. And precipitation does look to get heavier. Please keep in mind that the weather models are still differing significantly on just how much of the precipitation will fall as rain, freezing rain, sleet, vs. snow. Overall impact is still in question, but it appears that temperatures will want to fall overnight, perhaps turning rain to freezing rain and sleet at first. With cold air continuing to try to seep in, overnight lows should range from upper 20s to low 30s by just before sunrise. Given what we see as dipping surface temperatures, we have the chance of iciness developing, especially north and west of the city. Confidence: Low

Monday may demonstrate that this is another one of those events where the biggest threat of winter weather will be north and west. However, most of us may see at least a period of winter weather during the day. There are still many question marks. High temperatures in the above freezing range are likely early, but temperatures at the surface and aloft may cool throughout the day, and perhaps substantially. This means we may see an area-wide transition from the wintry mix over to snow, with the highest accumulation risk generally north and west but not necessarily confined there. Confidence: Low

Tuesday should see the storm fully exit the region and another jolt of cold air arrive. Most precipitation should taper before sunrise, but a couple snow showers cannot be ruled out. High temperatures in the upper 20s to around 30 appear possible, and we cannot discount some stiff breezes behind our storm either. Bundle up. Sunshine may also be a commodity that can’t warm you up too much, through the somewhat cloudy skies. Confidence: Low

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