Read below for the forecast through the weekend and to the bottom for earlier updates on how this wind event unfolded early this morning
Original post from 5 a.m.
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10: Be careful with wind gusts as high as 60-70 mph. Showers could end as snow. Clouds may break a bit late day, too.
Today: VERY windy. Precipitation exiting. Highs: Low to mid-40s; plus wind chills.
Tonight: Still very windy. Quick shower or flurry possible. Lows: Low to mid-30s.
Saturday: Windy, partly sunny. Highs: Upper 40s to low 50s.
Sunday: More sun than clouds. Gentler winds. Highs: Upper 40s to mid-50s.
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FORECAST IN DETAIL
Please be cautious when outside during strong winds today and even tonight. Tomorrow is no treat either, but not quite as gusty — and the sun may come out a bit more than today. Sunday’s the relative gem of the weekend, so try to focus all needed outdoor activities this weekend on that day. Tranquil conditions return just in time for the workweek, sorry!
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Today (Friday): Winds are 25-40 mph sustained from the northwest. Gusts could be higher, perhaps as high as 60-70 mph. There could be a few peaks of wind during the day, with one early, and another late seemingly most likely. Please refrain from high-profile vehicles, stay out of wooded areas as much as possible, and keep the devices charged. Prepare for the potential for lengthy power outages. Dangerous debris may fly. Be very careful when commuting. Downtown buildings may amplify wind gusts.
Clouds could decrease in the afternoon, once morning showers finish. Snowflakes mixing in possibly, especially northern areas. Temperatures barely rise into the low to mid-40s but wind chills as cold as low 30s. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Evening winds could still gust toward 55 mph and only slowly ease toward 20 mph (gusting to 30 mph) near dawn. Clouds generally dominate. Low temperatures likely bottom out in the low to mid-30s. We’ve got an outside chance of a late evening rain sprinkle or snow shower, but nothing of high impact is expected. Watch our Twitter feed @capitalweather for any updates from us. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Saturday): More sunshine is the good news, but continual — very noticeable 20 mph gusting near 35 mph at times — northwesterly wind is the bad news. High temperatures may get a smidgen warmer, into the upper 40s to low 50s. Dress for wind chills about 10 degrees colder than the thermometer displays, though. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: North-northwesterly winds may take their time relaxing; but 20 mph possibly during the early evening could head toward 10 mph by dawn. Let’s take it! Low temperatures may hover around the 30-degree mark outside of the Beltway, but perhaps mid-30s downtown. With a well-stirred, windy atmosphere, temperatures shouldn’t plummet too far. But do continue to dress for wind chills in the 20s! Confidence: Medium
A LOOK AHEAD
Sunday: Gem of the weekend. Mostly clear skies prevail, with only some periodic clouds moving through, especially in the afternoon. Breezes, huzzah, are a bit weaker out of the north, perhaps around 10-15 mph. High temperatures head for the upper 40s to mid-50s perhaps (highest chance of warmth would be south and east of town). A fine late winter/early spring day! Confidence: Medium-High
Sunday night: Any patches of clouds, along with northerly breezes, should diminish as the evening wears on. Temperatures could get a bit nippy once again, around 30 degrees downtown, with 20s likely outside of the Beltway. Make sure you haven’t jumped the gun with potted plants outdoors? Move them inside. Allergy sufferers, this freeze potential may give us some temporary relief, too! Confidence: Medium
Sunshine continues on Monday but with northerly breezes calmer, we can look forward to more tranquil conditions. Take a long lunch break, as mid-to-late-afternoon high temperatures reach the upper 40s to perhaps mid-50s! Confidence: Medium
Clouds and showers enter the picture again on Tuesday. High temperatures could struggle to get into the mid- to upper 40s. Even if rain doesn’t start in the morning, you may want umbrella or other rain gear for the commute home. By late weekend, we should have an even better read on this next storm system. Check back soon. 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.
1/10 (→): Conversational flakes possible as precipitation ends Friday. Watching another storm toward the middle of next week.
9:10 a.m. update: Have winds peaked? Maybe. Or close. It doesn’t totally matter just yet.
Some of the wind gusts already seen this morning will be tough to top, but modeling has suggested that the peak wind speeds may come during the mid-morning into early afternoon. This might not mean peak gusts, especially in places that have seen crazy high gusts. It is, however, worth staying on guard in the hours ahead. For instance, National Airport gusted to 60 mph again last hour. Patuxent, MD also recently gusted to 69 mph. In other words, damaging wind gusts continue, and that should persist for a while still, despite some occasional fluctuation in wind speeds.
8:35 a.m. update: We already shared a few images of trees down, but there are a whole lot of them going by in the stream at this point. This event is definitely verifying on the higher end of expectations, and the comparison to Sandy’s impact looks pretty good so far. Dulles recently reported another 62 mph wind gust. Damaging winds are ongoing. Hold tight indoors if you are able.
7:50 a.m. update: We’re getting some of the first visible satellite imagery of this storm. It continues to rapidly intensify offshore.
7:40 a.m. update: With daylight, we are receiving images of damage. Plenty of downed trees out there for one. Unless it is necessary to go out, we advise continuing to stay indoors for the next several hours. There is some hope we’ll end up getting past the worst of the wind by noon or so, but this is a long-duration event, and winds will rip through tonight.
7:18 a.m. update: We’ve got a new list of wind gusts from across the area. Keep in mind, this story is very much moving, so this is all potentially temporary. Here are the 60 mph+ reports to NWS locally so far.
Ballenger Creek, MD – 69
Gaithersburg, MD – 69
Dulles, VA – 67
Patuxent River, MD – 66
Sabillasville, MD – 64
Flint, MD – 62
Andrews AFB, MD – 62
Washington National, VA – 62
Leesburg, VA – 61
Winchester, VA – 61
Chaptico, MD – 60
Manassas, VA – 60
7:05 a.m. update: If the wind wasn’t enough, we’ve got some snow falling in the area now. Given temperatures around 40 and light intensity of the precipitation, nothing is expected to come from it. Conversational flakes (as long as you’re watching from inside!)
6:45 a.m. update: Getting proper wind gust info can be tricky as its ongoing, and we’re still reaching peak here. As such, we have new reports already. National has now reached 62 mph, with a 69 mph gust recently reported in Gaithersburg. Dulles has also reached 67 mph. If this was a thunderstorm, it would be rated severe. Stay inside if you can!
6:15 a.m. update: As anticipated, the wind is roaring this morning. It may have woken yo up last night. So far, we’ve seen widespread gusts between about 55 and 60 mph, with the potential for higher still. In the last hour, National gusted to 56 mph, its high so far. Dulles has made it to 54 mph for a high gust, and BWI to 49. Other locations have reached or topped 60 mph, like Manassas (60 mph), Ft Belvior (60 mph) and Andrews (62 mph).
In addition to the gusts, winds sustained in the 30-40 mph range are likely to continue this morning.