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D.C. area forecast: A cold week with major pre-Thanksgiving storm

Today’s Daily Digit

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

Winds die down, but highs in the 30s are several weeks too soon.

Express Forecast

Today: Increasing clouds, cold. Highs: 34-38.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, light mix possible towards morning. Lows: 27-31.

Tomorrow: Chance brief wintry mix, then rain. Highs:  37-42.


Temperature Map

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

For the next week, high temperatures won’t come close to reaching normal. This unseasonably cold pattern coupled a with highly energetic storm system spells midweek trouble. We’re talking potential for heavy rain that may start and end briefly as a wintry mix.  Travelers in the region Tuesday and Wednesday should anticipate delays.  Tranquil, but cold weather settles in for Thanskgiving, Black Friday and the holiday weekend.

Today (Monday): No weather worries today, but bundle up.  We start the day with temperatures in the high teens and low 20s. Morning sunshine yields to mid-and-high level clouds in the afternoon.  A light breeze from the south (5-10 mph) helps temperatures reach the mid-to-upper 30s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Mostly cloudy skies with a 30 percent of a wintry mix of snow, sleet, and/or freezing rain towards dawn.  Temperatures are not nearly as cold as the past two nights, but – with lows mostly at or below freezing – that’s cold enough to perhaps cause some trouble.  Lows range from the upper 20s in the colder suburbs to low 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium

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

Tomorrow (Tuesday): Rain is likely (greater than 90 percent chance), possibly beginning as a brief period of mixed precipitation (snow/sleet/freezing rain) early in the morning (40 percent chance).  I can’t rule out a few slick spots or even delays from a light coating, especially in our colder north and west suburbs. But temperatures will rise above freezing from southeast to northwest by mid-morning, when precipitation gradually becomes all rain.  During the afternoon, rain gradually increases in intensity, with highs around 40.  0.25-0.5 inch of rain is possible by dark. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tomorrow night:  A driving rain is likely, with over 1 inch filling gauges overnight; some areas may see 2 inches with localized thunder and flooding a possibility.  Temperatures may actually rise overnight, especially east of I-95 (to 50 or so), as fetch of milder air streams northward. Locations farther west may stay in the cold side of the storm, with temperatures hovering close to 40.  Confidence: Medium

NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center shows the potential for over 3 inches of rain in the region from the Tuesday-Wednesday storm. We think this may be overdone, but 1-3″ is definitely possible. (NOAA)


Rain gradually decreases in coverage and intensity during the day Wednesday, but may end as a brief period of sleet and/or snow, especially north and northwest of the District.  Temperatures near 40 (40s east of I-95) to start the day may fall back into the 30s during the afternoon – but they’re unlikely to fall fast enough to cause icy roads (still, we’ll keep an eye on this).  If there’s any consolation for travelers, it’s that the truly heavy precipitation falls the night before, and just another 0.1-0.3″ of rain is likely during the day. Accumulating snow doesn’t seem likely. But strong winds could be an issue, coming in from the northwest at 15-20 mph with higher gusts. Gradual clearing, windy, and cold Wednesday night, with lows 24-28 (suburbs-city). Confidence: Low-Medium

Here’s the easy part of the forecast: the period from Thanksgiving through the weekend is dry and cold.  The coldest, most blustery day of the  stretch is Thanksgiving itself, with highs only in the mid-to-upper 30s.  Winds relax and temperatures moderate somewhat over the weekend with highs Friday near 40, and into the low-to-mid 40s Saturday and Sunday.  Morning lows range from the mid-to-upper teens to low 20s (suburbs-city) Friday, to 18-25 (suburbs-city) Saturday and 21-29 (suburbs-city) Sunday. Confidence: Medium

Programming note: We’ll have an update that takes a closer look at the midweek storm midday today

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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