PM Update: Showers overnight and tomorrow; cold by late Tuesday… snow?

* Freeze watch late Tuesday night into early Wednesday *


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Another afternoon of 80+ in D.C., the third in four days now. Highs made the mid-70s to near 80 across the broader area. Not too bad, and those clouds helped keep things “cooler” here on the ground with no sun rays beating down. This morning’s low of 65 at National Airport ends up a record warm minimum for the date if it holds as well. We’ve got another 18 hours or so until the bottom falls out. Enjoy the warmth while it lasts.

Through Tonight: We should stay mostly dry through the evening, but shower odds go up to about 50% by midnight, and it’s likely we’ll all see some before sunrise. Nothing too heavy through the night, and it should mostly be quick-hitting before sunrise. Overnight lows are mainly in the near 60 to mid-60s range, but they’ll be reset in the evening as temperatures fall behind the cold front.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): A strong cold front blasts through during the midday through afternoon, but we’ll see showers and periods of rain common on both sides. There could even be a few rumbles around ahead of the front. Though it may feel warm and muggy when you leave home, you’ll almost certainly want a jacket by evening. Highs for the day may end up just after midnight. It’s also possible we’ll spike back to near 70 out ahead of the front during the day as well, particularly if we can get any rain-free time.

Either way, once we get into afternoon it’s all downhill when it comes to temperatures. Possibly in quite a hurry. We’ll be heading home with readings falling through the 50s and 40s, on their way to the 30s by late evening. Windy too, with south winds as high as 15-20 mph sustained ahead of the front and north winds as high as 20-30 mph sustained behind the front! With the advancing cold air, some snow may fall during the evening or overnight as well too (more on that below). It’s also going to be a cold night — a freeze watch currently in place across the area.

See Jason Samenow’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter . For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.

Mid-April snow? The cold front tomorrow means business. Some model simulations show temperature differences on the order of 35 degrees between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in and around D.C., bringing readings from near 70 to the mid-30s in that time. Given the quick punch of cold air, it is possible we’ll see showers and rain end as sleet and/or snow tomorrow.

The American GFS has continued to be bullish on the idea, bringing a transition to snow during the evening, and having it persist until around midnight.  Surface temperatures also quickly dive to and below freezing on this model.


GFS precipitation type and sfc freezing line ending 8 p.m. Tuesday. (Weatherbell.com)

GFS precipitation type and sfc freezing line ending 2 a.m. Tuesday. (Weatherbell.com)

The European model is considerably milder at the surface, and it’s questionable whether much or anything would fall as snow. Accumulation odds on the Euro are basically nil regardless.


Euro precipitation and sfc freezing line ending 2 a.m. Tuesday. (Weatherbell.com)

Even the colder GFS would likely have significant trouble getting anything to stick, save perhaps on mulch and grass should it come down hard enough. But it also gets us up to near 70 during the day prior to cold air.

Most signs point toward “conversational” snowflakes, if anything frozen, locally. Further west and north it’s more possible the ground could briefly get coated, but even there it’s not super likely. Fine by me at this point in the year.

Tomorrow night’s gonna be cold no matter how you cut it. The MOS output below may even be a touch warm given its slant toward climatology.


Model output statistics for temperatures at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, near lows for the day. (Weatherbell.com)
Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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Richard Anthes and Thomas Bogdan · April 14, 2014

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