D.C. area forecast: A mild, sunny welcome to spring today; back to winter next week

Today’s Daily Digit

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

8
A little breezy, but this March, sun and mild temps are as good as one dares hope.

Express Forecast

Today: Clearing early, brisk breezes. Highs: 56-60.

Tonight: Star-filled skies, calming winds. Lows: 33-37.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, calm. Highs: 57-61.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Temperature Map

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

Today is a fine day for the vernal equinox which occurs a little after noon. Tomorrow is just as nice. Saturday is even better. Can we just stop there? Well, for you never say die to winter fiends, your wish is granted. Another Arctic surge begins pushing into the area by Sunday and we return to readings more appropriate for January to start the work week. While any sprinkles late Sunday should be liquid, a storm next Tuesday still carries a credible threat of snow.

Today (Thursday): Clouds may linger at sunrise but west winds build and send them scurrying out to sea by mid-morning. The direct rays of the sun cross the equator somewhere in southern Colombia at 12:57 p.m., officially welcoming in astronomical spring. Breezes build to 10-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph by afternoon. Fortunately, no wind chill factor as highs reach the relatively pleasant mid-50s to near 60. Confidence: High

Tonight: The winds lighten up quickly by sunset but readings slip into the 40s for the evening hours. Lows bottom out in the 30s with nearly calm conditions. Confidence: High

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

Tomorrow (Friday): While temperatures are not much warmer than Thursday, winds are notably lighter (5-10 mph) from the southwest. Sun prevails until later in the afternoon when clouds bubble up. Highs top out in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: The evening is a delight with 50s and calm winds under starry skies. Overnight, winds pick up from the southwest and that keeps lows from falling any lower than upper 30s in the suburbs and likely holding in the mid-40s downtown. Confidence: High

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

1 (→) Winter storm risk lingers for Tues-Wed. next week, but details are blurred.

Saturday contends with a fair amount of clouds zipping in and out of the area. However, given a warmer start to the day and brisk southwest winds, temperatures still soar into the mid-to-upper 60s with downtown very likely to top out at 70 or better. The evening is even better with calming winds and readings still near 60. Overnight lows hold in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday is still salvageable, just a let down from the day before with more frequent bands of clouds pushing across the sky and even the chance for a few sprinkles in the afternoon. Highs are expected to peak in the low-to-mid 50s. Winds shifting from southwest to northwest in the afternoon signal the Arctic air’s arrival. Those winds are likely to become downright gusty overnight with lows reaching the mid-20s northern suburbs to near freezing downtown. Confidence: Medium

Monday looks good, from a window view as winds calm and mainly sunny skies prevail. However, highs only manage the low-to-mid 40s so grab the winter gear as you head out. Confidence: Medium-High

Also on Capital Weather Gang

PM Update: Showers and drizzle depart tonight; warming trend starts Thursday