First snow, Brightwood community garden, Jan. 17, 2016. ( Nathan Castellanos via Flickr )

* Wind chill advisory for Montgomery, Loudoun and Frederick counties until 12 p.m. Tuesday *

TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

2/10: Little redeeming about gusty winds and sub-freezing temps.

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Mostly sunny, windy, and cold. Highs: 25-30.
Tonight: Mostly clear, very cold. Lows: 9-15.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, still windy and cold. Highs: 24-28.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Winter is in command this week, beginning with a shot of the coldest air of the season so far. Wind chills dip into the single digits both Monday and Tuesday mornings. The cold begins to ease midweek, but by late week a major storm may affect the region with the possibility of substantial snow and/or mixed precipitation. The storm could span Thursday night into early Sunday across the region.

Programming note: Full update-analysis on late-week storm threat to be posted by mid-afternoon.

Today (Monday): We awaken to wind chills as low as the single digits. Today’s sunshine is deceiving as highs reach only 25-30 degrees. Winds from the northwest at 15-20 mph, gusting higher, hold wind chills in the teens even through the afternoon. Confidence: High

Tonight: Temperatures topple and winds hardly relent. That produces wind chills dropping from the teens into the single digits or near zero in some of our colder suburbs. Actual lows range from near 10 in our colder suburbs to the mid-teens downtown. Confidence: High

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Tomorrow (Tuesday): Punishing wind and cold continue even as it’s sunny and dry.  Highs only manage the mid-to-upper 20s in most locations, with wind chills mostly in the teens. Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: Winds finally subside but temperatures nose dive under clear skies. Lows range from near 10 in our colder suburbs to the upper teens downtown. Confidence: High

A LOOK AHEAD

Not as cold Wednesday, though still chilly, as some high clouds increase as the day wears on. Highs climb to 35-40. Cloudy Wednesday night with a 30 percent chance of light snow or flurries as a weak clipper dashes by. Lows range through the 20s. Confidence: Medium

Thursday may be the calm before the storm. Partly sunny skies to start the day become mostly cloudy by evening with highs of 40-45. Cloudy Thursday night with snow or mixed precipitation possible late at night and toward morning. Lows are around 30. Confidence: Medium

Snow, sleet and freezing rain, and/or rain are a good possibility Friday and Saturday. The dominant precipitation type will depend on the exact storm track, which can’t be pinned down at this stage, but areas west of Interstate 95 and especially toward Interstate 81 have the best chance of precipitation remaining mostly snow. And in those areas, snow totals could be quite substantial. Highs are in the 30s with lows near 20. Winds could begin to increase late Friday into Saturday if the storm cranks up off the coast. Confidence: Low-Medium

Any storminess pulls away Sunday, but there’s a slight chance of lingering precipitation into Sunday morning, and it’s probably on the windy side. Skies should at least partially clear by Sunday afternoon, with highs of 35-40. Confidence: Medium

SNOW POTENTIAL INDEX
A daily assessment of the potential for at least 1 inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.

4/10 (↑): Increasing chances of accumulation Friday-Saturday, but lots of details to work out.