Bundle the heck up! The coldest and driest air yet this season is whooshing into the region. Take some care to adjust to this shock. Make sure all those around you are warm enough and note the hypothermia hotline: 1-800-535-7252.
Today (Friday): Fairly unobstructed but “useless” sunshine can’t quite negate the chill of 15 to 25 mph gusty northwest winds. Some early-morning wind-chill readings may hover near the 15- or 20-degree mark. This perceived temperature won’t improve much during the day. Winds continue as we struggle toward high temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s. Confidence: Medium-high
Tonight: It’s the coldest night of the season! Winds slowly diminish a bit, but still wear all that winter gear (gloves, hat, and scarf!). Before even considering westerly winds around 10 mph at times, temperatures get into the low 20s well outside the Beltway, with still-chilly, upper 20s possible downtown. At least we have some stars and a growing moon visible under clear skies. Confidence: High
Tomorrow (Saturday): There is more sun than clouds, but the brightness is partially a mind game. As soon as you step outside you’ll feel the core of this cold air mass enveloping us. High temperatures are in the mid-30s to near 40 (if we are lucky). Westerly breezes around 10 mph still keep us bundled up with all the winter gear we can find. Confidence: Medium-high
Tomorrow night: A hard freeze is likely everywhere in the region. By just before dawn, temperatures plummet into the upper teens to mid-20s (downtown likely makes the upper 20s). Northerly breezes around 5 mph keep that bite going for any exposed skin. You’ll likely still feel that wind-chill factor. Skies may begin to turn overcast by dawn. Confidence: Medium
Sunday: Clouds likely dominate after some morning sun, making our odyssey toward upper 30s and low 40s quite a struggle. We may have to shave a couple degrees off of these temperature expectations as we get closer. While a few sleet pellets or snowflakes could mix in with isolated showers nearer dark, moisture is relatively limited. We will watch it but we don’t expect much. Confidence: Low-medium
Sunday night: We see a higher chance of rain and perhaps wintry mix (some sleet and freezing rain, north and west) as we get through the night. Colder spots in higher elevations north and west of the city could see very light icing if enough precipitation falls. Pre-dawn low temperatures likely stay in the mid-30s downtown, with low 30s possible well away from the Beltway (coldest spots likely north and west). Confidence: Low-medium
Showers and/or some steady rain seems possible for Monday. At this point let’s call it a 60 percent chance of some precipitation, especially earlier in the day, with clouds dominating the sky — even during any dry periods. Much of this falls as rain across the area, thanks to south winds pumping in milder air, although we can’t rule out cold hanging on a bit north and west. We’ll have to watch. Even with temperatures eventually reaching the mid-40s to low 50s, it will be chilly in the breeze. Bundle up a bit. Confidence: Low