10:15 a.m. update: Crowd-sourcing low temps! At the airports, the lows at Reagan National and BWI were 7 (coldest since 1996) and 3 (record low), respectively.
I asked readers around the region for their low temps (some are “waking up” temps, and not necessarily lows) and here’s a sampling:
Md.: Silver Spring -0.4, Gaithersburg 2, Poolesville 1.1, Montgomery Village -1, Westminster -4, -1 Germantown, Takoma Park 7, Kensington -2, Greenbelt 3, Rockville 1, Frederick 2, Laurel 4, North Bethesda 1, Hollwood 6, Ellicott City 2.5, Annapolis 7
Va.: Herndon: -2, Round Hill -1, Arlington 5 and 0.5 (two different reports), Leesburg -1, Strasburg -5, Sterling 1, Gainesville 5, Falls Church 2, Bristow 3.3, Manassas 2.3, Centreville 1.9, Purcellville 0, Fair Lakes 6.6, Dunn Loring 4.7, Clarendon 6, Alexandria 7, McLean 2, Burke 3, Fairfax 2, Broad Run 2, Vienna 3
DC: Friendship Heights 4, -0.2 Chevy Case circle (DC/MD), Columbia Heights 4, Adams Morgan 5, Chinatown 4 (roof top), Michigan Park 1.
(Note these temperatures are subject to user/measurement error)
In sum, temperatures ranged from about -2 to 7 in the D.C. area, with some colder readings to around -5 well north and west of town.
Note: We have no official temperatures at Dulles because of an equipment error according to the National Weather Service.
Malfunction of temp equipment at Dulles. We are troubleshooting and looking at additional data to determine final official high/low temp.
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) January 7, 2014
9:05 a.m. update: I just took a drive around northwest D.C. and my car thermometer read 4 degrees. Remarkably, Dulles Airport – which had been reporting readings between 7 and 10 degrees through 8 a.m., plunged to 3 degrees at 9 a.m., shattering the record for the date (8 from 1996). National Airport and BWI were up a couple degrees to 5 and 9 respectively. Winds are relaxing a bit, but wind chills are still between -7 and -14. Jason, CWG
8:00 a.m. update: The sun is coming up but temperatures are not budging. It’s still 7 at Reagan National Airport (for the third straight hour) with a wind chill of -9. BWI is stuck at 3 (with a wind chill of -10). Dulles is at 9 (with a wind chill of -4). Dulles’ 6-hour temperature report indicates it dropped as low as 7, a new record low for the date (beating 8 from 1988).
7:30 a.m. update: Generally speaking, air temperatures around the D.C. area are between about -2 F and 10 F, with wind chills between -5 and -20. It’s remarkably cold throughout the Lower 48.
Teens extend almost all the way to the Gulf Coast, with subzero readings covering a huge section of the Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Northeast. Sub-zero wind chills extend into Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Here’s one of our colder local readings:
— Paul Crumlish (@paulcrumlish) January 7, 2014
7:00 a.m. update: At 7 a.m., temperatures held steady at Reagan National and BWI at 7 and 3 degrees respectively (wind chills were -9 and -16). Dulles bumped up to 10 degrees. That observation seems suspect. The National Weather Service in Sterling, which is in Dulles’ backyard, reported a temperature of 1 degree.
6:30 a.m. update: At 6 a.m.. Reagan National Airport was 7 degrees, the coldest low temperature in Washington, D.C. since 1996 (when it hit 5), with a wind chill of -10. The 7 degrees is 2 above the record low for the date from 1884. BWI Airport was just 3 degrees, a record low for the date, shattering the previous record of 8 from 1988. Its wind chill was -16. Dulles, interestingly, was a tad warmer, at 9 degrees, and a wind chill of -5. At 4 a.m., it touched 8 degrees, tying a record from 1988. Winds are generally sustained at 10-16 mph, and gusting to 20-25 mph around the region.
*** Scroll down below for the full forecast through the weekend ***
FORECAST IN DETAIL
A powerfully painful arctic air mass cuts through our region today as the ballyhooed polar vortex passes by to our north early this morning. The combination of very low temperatures and windy conditions means extremely unpleasant weather today, quite dangerous to anyone exposed to it for an extended period. Wear lots of layers and limit your outdoor time as much as possible (more helpful tips here).
While cold tonight and even tomorrow, temperatures at least gradually trend warmer and winds die down. Highs return to the 30s to near 40 on Thursday with 40s on Friday and 50s to maybe even 60 this weekend. What a bounce!
Today (Tuesday): Super-chilled air greets us this morning with single digit lows with 15-25 mph winds from the west (gusts over 30 mph), causing morning rush hour wind chills well below zero (-10 to -25). At least we get sunny skies today, but temperatures make little headway with highs ranging mainly from the low to middle teens. This will likely set records for coldest high temperatures on this date. Wind chills might edge above zero by the afternoon, but just barely. Confidence: High
Tonight: Mostly clear and cold again, but the good news is that the winds slowly die down to rid ourselves of that wind chill factor. Lows range from 5-14 (suburbs-city). Confidence: Medium-High
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Wednesday): Sunny skies in the morning and partly cloudy skies in the afternoon as temperatures make a stronger attempt toward the freezing line. Most areas won’t make it though as highs should range just from 25-30F. Very light winds start coming from the south late in the day. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Partly cloudy and less cold with lows in the upper teens to low 20s mainly. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Thursday continues our modest moderation in temperatures with highs ranging through the 30s (this should be the first time above freezing for most locations since Monday evening!) under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Thursday night could see some light precipitation late as a mix of sorts (snow/sleet/rain). Chance of precipitation is just 30%. Lows in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Medium
Friday may find some lingering mixed precipitation in the morning changing to light rain if it hangs around long enough (40% chance), but this system seems very moisture-starved at the current time. Mostly cloudy skies most of the day with highs in the lower 40s. Confidence: Medium
The weekend is trending a bit wetter as of this writing, but at least it is also trending warmer. Cloudy skies and showers are more likely Saturday, especially by afternoon into evening as a storm system and associated front arrive. Highs range through the upper 50s to even around 60F. Lows Saturday night dip only into the upper 30s to low 40s. Sunday sees some clearing skies as temperatures stay fairly comfortable for January levels (upper 40s to low 50s). Confidence: Medium