The Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow tells you what to expect from the weather as the Arctic blast arrives. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Winter weather advisory for much of the area from midnight tonight through Saturday morning *

* Winter storm watch for northern Maryland counties, including Frederick *

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

3/10: Deep freeze lasts one more day, but less breeze helps dull the bite. Except darn those clouds! Bundle up.

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Less breeze. Turning overcast. Highs: Upper 20s to low 30s.
Tonight: Late-night light snow to freezing rain and rain. Lows: Low 20s to near 30.
Tomorrow: Freezing rain to rain, drizzle by afternoon. Highs: Mid-40s to mid-50s.
Sunday: Showers, very breezy with next cold front. Highs: 50s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Still cold. But manageable? Even for mid-December, we’re well below average. We then, of course, have some snow, ice and rain to watch out for late tonight, heralding our warming portion of a temperature roller coaster. See possible hypothermia? Call: 1-800-535-7252

Today (Friday): Cold, yep, but not as bad. Big thanks to lighter 5 to 10 mph breezes that come with some higher gusts. They may slowly shift from northwest to a more southerly direction during the afternoon as well, the beginning of warmer air coming back. Bad news is increasing clouds, which sock us in by afternoon. High temperatures are still well below average, mainly in the upper 20s to lower 30s. But you have all the mid-winter gear dug out to wear anyway, right? Confidence: Medium-high

Tonight: Radar may start showing some moisture moving in overhead, but our air is very dry. Thus, no precipitation is expected until the overnight hours. By 3 to 5 a.m. we ask anyone out to use caution. Any snowflakes that may fall — and duration of snow should be short — will start sticking almost immediately. Road surface temperatures have been chilled by the Arctic air. I’d expect a dusting to a half inch or so — these higher amounts of one inch or more are mainly north of town, and toward the Mason-Dixon line. From there, the atmosphere continues to morph, with warm air surging over the cold air at the surface. This quickly switches the snow to freezing rain and rain. Driving may be difficult in at least parts of the area Saturday morning. Low temperatures range from the upper teens to mid-20s. Confidence: Medium

For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast into next week.

Tomorrow (Saturday): Freezing rain and rain are the stories by morning, probably neither terribly heavy. Any ice is bad ice. It lasts longest and accumulates the most north and west of town. Everyone should be plain rain by midday or so. Untreated roads and sidewalks could be extremely slick, especially early. Precipitation tapers off as time goes. Lingering drizzle is possible in the afternoon. High temperatures top out in the mid-40s to near 50 north and west of town, with mid-50s possible around the Beltway, plus points south and east. Southwest breezes may pick up from 5 mph toward 20 mph gusts by sunset. Confidence: Low-medium

Tomorrow night: Mild temperatures persist through the evening and overnight hours. More rain showers are possible as we get toward dawn. Clouds hang tough. Other than that, gusty southwesterly winds ranging from 15 to 25 mph. Confidence: Low-medium


A cold day to bike. (Joe Flood via Flickr)

A LOOK AHEAD

Sunday: South-southwesterly winds may continue to blow stiffly toward 25 mph. Clouds dominate, and we may be a bit damp with some moderately heavy showers (80 percent chance) at times. At least we are mild and can thaw out momentarily. Early-afternoon high temperatures should still make it into the low- to mid-50s. By late afternoon or evening, we’re heading back into the cold air as the front passes. Temperatures may start to go down, as gusty 25 mph breezes shift toward the west and northwest. Confidence: Low-medium

Sunday night: Behind this secondary cold front, some rain showers may be slow to exit. We could see some rain mix with sleet and snow during the evening. Drier air does of course win out before long — and we dry out quickly — thanks to, you guessed it, strong northwesterly winds ushering in cold, dry air. Low temperatures will probably bottom out around 20 to a few mid-20s around the Beltway. Confidence: Low-medium

Below-average chill, but likely sunnier and calmer, for Monday into Tuesday. At least with high temperatures projected in the mid-30s to around 40, we have more opportunity to enjoy some thaw. Arguably, we have acclimated to January-like temperatures, so maybe this won’t have quite the apparent bite in our faces as soon as we step outside? Bundle up a bit, of course, though. And stay tuned to slight forecast tweaks as we get closer. Confidence: Medium

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

2/10 (↓): Pre-dawn snow risk is brief Saturday. Then it’s a pretty quick transition to light freezing rain and rain.