D.C. area forecast: Strong front brings rain, cold air, and maybe snowflakes; freeze likely tonight

* Freeze warning late Tuesday night into early Wednesday *

Today’s Daily Digit

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

2
It’s a messy goodbye to our recent warmth with rain, wind and cold on the way.

Express Forecast

Today: Periodic rain and showers, temperatures falling. Highs: 65-70 (early), 40-50 (5 p.m. or so).

Tonight: Rain or snow showers early, cold. Lows: 27-33.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Cool, breezy. Highs: 50-54.

FORECAST IN DETAIL


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.

Don’t forget to bring your jackets to work today.  Our surge of “sprummer” comes to a screeching stop thanks to a powerful late season cold front.  The farewell is a messy one with needed rain and unneeded gusty winds as temperatures collapse through the afternoon and evening.  The rain may mix with or change to snow later this evening at the end of the event, but no accumulation is expected. Very cool weather dominates tomorrow and only slowly moderates for the balance of the week into the weekend.

Today (Tuesday): Windy, cloudy, and showery to rainy as a powerful cold front cuts through the region.  Seems like the heavier rain potential periods (maybe some thunder?) are around the morning rush and then again around midday to early afternoon when the main front comes through.  Showers and drizzle should be found in between and after these peak precipitation periods.  Temperatures start the day very warm in the middle 60s to near 70, but then gradually decline into the midday time frame before plummeting more harshly this afternoon through the 50s careening into the 40s by evening.  Winds from the south and southwest at 15-20 mph with higher gusts shift to coming from the northwest by middle afternoon and increase to 20-30 mph with higher gusts toward this evening.  Confidence: Medium

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 ()Rain may still end as snow/mix late today, but it shouldn’t amount to anything.

Tonight: Showers end before midnight, but could mix with or change to snow before ending.  No accumulation is expected, but the far north and west suburbs could see a brief light grassy coating if it comes down hard enough.  Total liquid equivalent for the entire event from early today could be in the .75″ to 1.25″ range in max zones, with others perhaps less.  Conditions are windy through the evening hours with 20-30 mph from the northwest along with higher gusts that enhance the wind chill impact of temperatures falling through the 40s and into the 30s.  Partial clearing after midnight with temperatures dropping through the 30s settling into the middle to upper 20s in the outer suburbs and low 30s in the city toward dawn.  Winds stay breezy to sometimes gusty, making it feel colder and keeping our heaters grumbling.  Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Wednesday): This is the coolest day of the week.  Modified Canadian high pressure slides across the region, providing mostly sunny skies, but breezy conditions and very cool temperatures compared to normal makes this more like a late February day vs. a mid-April one.  Highs in the lower to middle 50s frequently feel like 40s (or even 30s in the earlier morning) due to winds from the northwest at 10-15 mph with gusts at times to 20-25 mph.  Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Expect mostly clear skies and winds finally calming down as temperatures drop again into the 30s.  The air mass is moderating at least, so the lows by dawn should just be around 30-35 from the suburbs to the city (normal lows right around now should be in the low-to-middle 40s).  Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Thursday finds mostly sunny skies with temperatures working hard to warm up toward the upper 50s to low 60s as the air mass continues to modify. High pressure stalls over New England and offers us a bit of a cool wedge to prevent faster warming.  Thursday night looks partly cloudy with lows ranging from the middle 30s in the outer suburbs to low 40s right in the city.  Confidence: Medium-High

Friday still has high pressure stalled over New England, offering us a wedge of very slowly modifying cool air.  Highs range from the upper 50s to low 60s and could be a bit cooler than Thursday due to a few more clouds- we’ll call it partly sunny for now.  Friday night looks mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers as temperatures fall into the 40s.  Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend is trending back drier as a storm system may stay farther offshore now.  We still may get clouds at times and a second system could bring showers back by Sunday night per some modeling.  For now, we favor partly sunny Saturday and Sunday conditions with highs in the mid-to-upper 60s (near normal) with a 40% chance of showers earlier on Saturday and then again later on Sunday.  Saturday night aims for partly cloudy skies with lows in the 40s to low 50s.  Confidence: Low-medium

Also on Capital Weather Gang

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