* Winter weather advisory from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday, northwest suburbs *
10:05 a.m. update: If you peeked outside this morning, you might have been fooled into thinking a nice day is unfolding. Despite abundant sunshine, clouds are hours from taking over, and a wintry mix will quickly follow. The extended sunshine helps to warm surfaces at least slightly, and helps temperatures reach their maximum potential before we turn the corner.
Radar and short-term models suggest that precipitation is still on target to arrive this afternoon, although it may be on the somewhat slow side compared to prior expectations. While it may be totally dry in the post-lunch hours, mixed precipitation should take over by late afternoon. Likely progression is still from brief rain to mostly snow, then a zone of mixed sleet/snow eventually turning back to rain. This all shifts north over time as described in earlier forecasts. It’s also possible that enough dry air is available to help cool the air and make the precipitation start as snow, even though it is near 40 today.
This storm hits fast and hard. A significant concern remains focused around the potential for a period of very intense precipitation in the hours around sunset. If this falls as snow in your location, it could quickly add up, especially on grassy and elevated surfaces. Despite the pre-warming from sunshine and temperatures well above freezing, the sun will be setting during the heaviest activity, which generally helps snow want to stick.
Continue to monitor our updates. This is an event where conditions could change quickly and may vary quite a bit throughout the region.
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.
5/10: Some time to get stuff done in the morning, and snowflakes in the afternoon. It could be worse!
Today: Rain, snow, sleet developing. Highs: Mid-30s to near 40.
Tonight: Wintry mix through evening. Clearing toward dawn. Lows: Mid-20s to near 32.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Highs: Low to mid-50s.
View the current weather at Washington Post headquarters.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
We’ve got it all this weekend. Below normal temperatures today are capped off by some snow. That turns to a wintry mix this evening before ending. By tomorrow, sunshine and warmer-than-normal temperatures are back. In other words, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a bit.
Today (Saturday) into this evening: If you want to get stuff done that includes outdoor time, you might want to aim early. There’s a good shot we stay dry into midday, but precipitation should be taking over as we get deeper into the afternoon. This is a quick-hitting storm, with the focus of intensity from late afternoon through mid-evening. Before precipitation starts, temperatures may rise to near 40 across much of the area, depending on how quickly clouds and precipitation arrive.
A mix of precipitation develops mid-to-late afternoon – perhaps briefly as rain in many areas before switching to more sleet and snow. The precipitation likely becomes moderate to heavy at times by early evening and temperatures fall back to 30 to 35. At the same time, the rain-snow line will be chugging north so that some areas, especially those from the District south and east, switch back to rain and sleet after a burst of snow.
In a lot of areas near the District and south, any snow accumulation would most likely occur on grassy areas, but a little slush could build-up on pavement during heavier bursts. Slick spots could be more widespread farther to the north and west, under a winter weather advisory. Precipitation in these areas are more likely to remain frozen, in the form of snow and sleet, and will have temperatures closer to freezing. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: Mixed precipitation should be raging through mid-evening (more snow and sleet north and west, and rain and sleet south and east) but end quickly around 10 p.m. This is a fairly mild background air mass, so it’s not that cold overnight, with lows in the mid-20s to near freezing. Still, in our colder areas, some re-freezing of earlier precipitation is possible overnight meaning the chance of slick spots through early morning Sunday. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Sunday): Some clouds may still be hanging out early, but the day should be remembered for its plentiful sunshine. If it’s remembered at all, since it’s a day with highs in the low to mid-50s in February. Unmemorable weather is a good thing if you like to spend time outside! Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Warmer air is flooding the pattern again, and it sends little waves of moisture toward us in the process. One is swinging by at this point, which means cloudier skies, and perhaps some light showers overnight and toward morning. Lows are spread out across the 30s. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Occasional raindrops might be our cap on temperatures for Monday. You may start to notice the increasingly moisture-filled air as the day goes on. Not quite muggy, but that could be around the corner. Clouds are prominent as highs head for the mid-50s or so. Confidence: Medium
Spring fever is in full effect again on Tuesday. Something of a Bermuda high is flexing its muscles, which helps clear our skies out a bit and send in much-warmer air. From here it looks like it’s going to be well above 70, but it’s way out there. So let’s play it somewhat safe with near 70 to mid-70s. I’m already thinking of spending some time outside… 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.
6/10 (↑): Northern and western parts of the area stand a pretty good shot to see snow accumulation Saturday afternoon and evening. It’s less certain in the city and south.