11:05 a.m. update: If wind chills of today — hovering in the 0 to 10 degree range so far — aren’t cold enough, wait until tonight. A wind chill advisory goes live at 6 p.m. for wind chills of 0 to -5 overnight. Here’s what the GFS model is showing for shortly after midnight, and it’s pretty representative of what we should see throughout the night.
You’ll want to limit exposure in these types of conditions, as frostbite or hypothermia may develop fairly rapidly.
9:40 a.m. update: Since it’s not too often we see a lake enhanced snow band like that around here, a loop of it impacting the area is below. While the squall followed the Arctic front, it can be tracked back to at least Lake Erie.
9:00 a.m. update: A thin band of snow squalls that passed through D.C. and surrounds dropped a quick half inch to inch in the spots that got the most. This snow streamer hit mainly the city itself and northwest or southeast. The most intense of this activity should be winding down but some more snow showers may blow through today.
— Dorothy J (@DorothyASJ) February 13, 2016
— Nathan Cutler (@nmcutler) February 13, 2016
7:20am update: Narrow bands of light to moderate snow showers are rolling through the area and can occasionally reduce visibility significantly while quickly whitening surfaces including untreated roadways. NWS suggests maybe a half inch but some areas may get a bit more.
From 5:00 a.m..
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
1/10: Too cold, too windy. At least this is likely the worst we’ll see all winter.
Today: Scattered clouds, windy. Snow showers? Highs: 20-25.
Tonight: Mostly clear, diminishing wind. Lows: 5-13.
Tomorrow: Sunny, clouds increasing late. Highs: 21-26.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Unless you love lots of cold, you’re probably going to want to plan on indoor activities today and perhaps tomorrow as well. Today’s certainly the less enjoyable of the two as winds will roar and temperatures will be painful. Not much if any warmer tomorrow, but less wind. Then we have to start thinking more and more about a winter storm approaching. It could begin to drop some snow as soon as Sunday night into Monday morning.
Today (Saturday): It’s one of those days that looks sort of nice from the inside but is quite the opposite once you’re in it. Fairly sunny skies of the morning become somewhat cloudier during the day, perhaps with mostly cloudy intervals as very cold air aloft promotes that kind of thing. The day dawns windy and only gets windier into the midday and afternoon. Sustained winds between 25 and 30 mph are a good bet, with gusts near 40 mph likely. Paired up with daytime highs (actual highs were near midnight) in the near 20 to perhaps mid-20s zone, wind chills in the single digits seem possible for much of the day. We could even see some passing snowflakes as stuff blows in off the Great Lakes. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Winds die off considerably once we lose the heating of the day, but sustained between 10-20 mph is probable early in the evening. With time, winds continue to subside. We may be down to the 5-10 mph range by sunrise. It’s brutal either way, with lows in the single digits much of the area, to probably a degree or a few above 10 degrees downtown. Wind chills near and below zero are likely overnight. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow (Valentine’s Day): There’s a slight relaxation in the brutality of Saturday, mainly because winds are not as strong, and there’s more sunshine overall. However, temperatures probably struggle to the low-and-mid 20s, which is very cold however you slice it. Clouds should tend to increase late in the day as our next storm system approaches. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Clouds thicken and lower through the night as moisture begins to ride in over the cold air mass still lingering from the weekend. Since we never got too warm on Sunday, lows make the mid-to-upper teens in the coldest spots, while reaching the low 20s downtown. Some light snow may move in before sunrise. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Light snow tries to work into the area in the pre-dawn hours or by sunrise on Monday, although it initially battles very dry air so it could end up delayed until after the sun is up. We could see at least off and on light accumulating snow throughout a good chunk of the day. There may be lengthy breaks without any. The most impressive snow may come late in the day as warmer air begins to work its way in from the south. One to a few inches of snow seems a possibility into the evening. Daytime highs are in the near 30 to low 30s range, but likely rising heading into the night. Confidence: Medium
As the storm system gathers further, warmer air pushes through much or all of the area Monday night. How easily it does so is largely related to the low location as it approaches, but as a high pressure drifts further east into the ocean it should also help warm us up as south and east winds around it pick up strength. The transition from snow to freezing rain to plain rain should be quick many spots locally, but it could take a while as you get progressively further north and west. Some icing is possible overnight, mainly west of I-95, and perhaps ultimately focused west of the Blue Ridge. Temperatures rise through the 30s and maybe near 40 before sunrise. Confidence: Low-Medium
Heading into Tuesday, low pressure should be passing by the area. The most likely track seems to be quite close, which should tend to send most of the wintry precipitation to the west of the Blue Ridge. A weaker low that ends up further to the east could make things more wintry, especially for western suburbs. Moderate to heavy rain is possible for our area if the low passes nearby, and we may briefly warm through the 40s or even beyond 50 in spots. Winds could be gusty as well! Confidence: Low-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.
5/10 (↑): Accumulating snow on Monday seems a good bet. Totals before potential change to rain to be determined.