PM Update: Rain changing to sleet and snow as it exits, then freezing

Freeze warning late tonight into early Wednesday | Freeze watch Wednesday night *

8:50 p.m. update: Rain has mixed with or changed over to sleet and snow over most of the area this evening. Some locations, particularly in the north and west suburbs, have even see a dusting on elevated and grassy surfaces – a trend that may continue east as the storm ends. The mix and snow is often dependent on rates, with lighter areas tending toward more rain. Precipitation should begin to wind down over the next few hours, and is already done out across Loudoun County and west.

Temperatures are still above freezing across the region, ranging from about 33 far north to the mid-and-upper 30s most other locations. Patchy icy spots may develop late tonight after precipitation ends, but winds should help dry roads and they were quite warm going in.


Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area 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’s dramatic cold front passage brought eerie skies, heavy rain, bursts of wind, and rapidly falling temperatures. The mercury continues to plunge this evening and lingering rain may briefly change to sleet and/or snow before ending by midnight.  Most spots ultimately drop to freezing or a little below overnight before only modestly rebounding on Wednesday.

Through Tonight: After topping out near 70 midday, temperatures have plummeted into the 40s.  By dark (8 p.m.-ish), some locations reach the 30s with rain showers mixing with and perhaps changing to snow showers for a brief time.  Our colder north and west suburbs have the best chance of seeing wintry precipitation with a brief coating possible – mainly on grassy areas – especially at higher elevations.  Short-range models suggest precipitation cuts off between 10 p.m. and midnight.  Expect up to another 0.2-0.4 inches of additional rainfall and/or melted snow. Skies then slowly clear, with lows from 32-35 in urban areas, and 28-32 surrounding.  Winds blow from the northwest at 15-25 mph, with some gusts over 30 mph this evening.  Early Wednesday morning, wind chills are as cold as 20-25.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Mostly sunny, breezy and unseasonably chilly.  Highs range from the upper 40s in our colder suburbs to the north and northwest to the low 50s in the city.  It’s breezy as well, with winds from the northwest at 10-15 mph, with some higher gusts.

See Matt Rogers’ 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.

Pollen: Washed out due to rain.

Record warmth and record cold within 48 hours? Reagan National, Dulles  and BWI Airports set records Monday for the warmest low temperature on record for the date of 65, 63, and 62, respectively.  There’s a chance – two days later – records for the coldest low temperatures could be set in some of these same spots.  BWI’s record low of 30, from 1962 is in reach, as is Dulles’ 28 from 1981.  Reagan National’s record of 29 from 1928 (actually set at 24th and M St. downtown) is probably safe.

If Reagan National Airport somehow manages to drop to 32, it will be the latest freeze there since 1956!

Breathtaking skies: As the cold front approached and passed through the area this afternoon, some readers took some amazing photos/video.  Take a look…


A cold front blows in from west to east through Prince George’s County, Maryland, as seen from a plane en route to DCA. (Phil Yabut via Flickr)
Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · April 15