Washington area temperatures plummeted yesterday and were expected to dip into the 20s in the suburbs overnight as the end of a storm that dumped up to three feet of snow in parts of the Midwest whipped across the eastern seaboard, packing winds in excess of 40 mph.

Forecasters predicted that the Washington area would be spared the brunt of the storm that paralyzed some areas around the Great Lakes.

After enjoying a warm November, Washingtonians got a rude introduction to winter yesterday as temperatures dropped from a high of about 50 degrees at noon to 35 by early evening. The mercury was expected to continue its plunge into freezing temperatures by morning with a low of about 30 in the city.

Meteorologists expect the cold trend to continue through tomorrow. National Weather Service forecaster Larry Wenzel said that some areas west of the city along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia could receive a light dusting of snow by this morning. And a few flakes could fall on the city tomorrow, he said. But most of the snow will stay farther north.

The weekend storm created treacherous conditions for parts of states in the upper Midwest.

Yesterday's gusty winds created scattered power outages in parts of suburban Maryland and Virginia. Pet owners are advised to bring their animals indoors.