D.C. area forecast: Wild and warm Wednesday with gusty storms late, whipping winds tonight, and single-digit wind chills by tomorrow morning

7:15 a.m. update: Wind advisory 6 p.m. tonight to 11 a.m. Thursday morning for sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph. Scattered tree and power line damage possible.

Today’s Daily Digit

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

7
High score for the midday warmth in the 70s, then downhill with nasty late-day storms possible.

Express Forecast

Today: Partly sunny and warm. Showers and gusty storms likely. Highs: Low-to-mid 70s.

Tonight: Showers and storms exit. Strong winds and plunging temperatures. Lows: Upper teens to upper 20s.

Tomorrow: Windy, cold, mostly sunny. Highs: Near 30 to mid-30s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

If we’re going to go from the 70s one day to wind chills in the single digits the next, this is definitely the month to do it. But even for March our incoming weather swing is rather extreme. As you might imagine, such a dramatic change comes with the risk of showers and gusty thunderstorms today into this evening, and strong winds tonight and tomorrow. After highs only in the 30s tomorrow, we’ll warm up again heading into the weekend, yet we must keep tabs on a wintry threat late Sunday into Monday.


Radar & lightning: Latest regional 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.

Today (Wednesday): Let’s admit up front today is a complicated forecast and ripe for error, especially in terms of timing for showers and storms. Look for increasing morning clouds and a possible first round of showers early-to-mid afternoon. We may then see some sun break out mid-to-late afternoon, helping to boost highs to the low-to-mid 70s as breezes increase from the south. All that comes before a likely stronger line of showers and thunderstorms, with winds that could gust near 40 mph and a few possible tornadoes, barrels through  during the late afternoon or evening (approximately 4-9 p.m. from west to east). Confidence: Low-Medium

storm threat

Tonight: Showers and storms should exit by late evening. But strong winds continue through the night, gusting from the northwest near 50-55 mph. Temperatures plunge and skies clear during the late evening and overnight, incredibly all the way to lows in the upper teens to upper 20s by morning. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Thursday): It’s back to the dead of winter by the time we wake up Thursday morning, with gusty winds and wind chills for many of us likely in the single digits. Winds continue sustained from the northwest near 25 mph with gusts near 35-40 mph. And it’s freaking cold with highs only near 30 to the mid-30s despite mostly sunny skies, not to mention wind chills stuck in the teens and 20s. 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. More info

2 (→) Winter weather threat remains on the table Sunday night into Monday. Details still fuzzy.

Tomorrow night: Winds decrease during the evening and become light overnight. Temperatures drop back to lows in the upper teens to mid-20s (suburbs to city) under partly cloudy skies. Confidence: High

A LOOK AHEAD

Partly to mostly sunny skies and light winds from the south help Friday highs rebound into the 50s after those chilly morning lows. Uneventful weather should stick around through Friday night as lows settle in the mid-30s to low 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Most of the weekend should be decent. Saturday sees a 30% chance of a few showers with highs at least near 60 and perhaps into the 60s. The shower risk wanes Saturday night into Sunday, with Saturday night lows in the upper 30s to mid-40s and Sunday highs in the 50s. But then — in the category of “will this winter ever end?” — we run the risk of a wintry mix late Sunday afternoon or night into Monday. Confidence: Low-Medium

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.
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