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FORECAST IN DETAIL
It’s hard to recall a forecast so complex, but the message here is simple: Expect a sloppy mix of precipitation that slowly transitions from rain to sleet to perhaps snow between early Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. The farther you live to the northwest, the earlier this transition happens and the more snow and sleet you should see. The farther southeast you are, the more rain you’ll see, and you may never fully switch to snow.
Moderate snow and sleet accumulations are possible near the Interstate 81 corridor, causing disruption. Accumulation prospects are more limited near and especially southeast of Interstate 95 but can’t yet be ruled out entirely.
Programming note: We’ll have an in-depth update on this storm event by around midday Monday.
Once this storm system moves out of the way, it remains unseasonably cold, with another chance for mixed precipitation by Saturday.
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Today (Monday): Today is the calm before the storm, probably the week’s mildest day, and pretty enjoyable overall. Most spots should see temperatures nudge above 50 degrees even as high clouds slowly increase. Winds are light from the northeast. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Most of us should remain dry through the commute, but we start clouding over as the evening wears on, with precipitation moving in toward the predawn hours. Most of us start with rain, although a little sleet could mix in. In our far west and northwest areas, temperatures may fall enough for some icy areas on untreated surfaces. Lows range from the mid-30s downtown to near 30 in our colder northern and western suburbs. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Tuesday): Rain, freezing rain, sleet and/or snow are likely, especially during the morning. We’re most concerned about frozen precipitation and possible slick spots for the commute in our normally colder areas north and west of the Beltway. But this will be a morning everyone wants to monitor temperatures and conditions before heading out. Precipitation may ease a bit in the afternoon, with highs from near freezing in our cold spots to the mid- to upper 30s near the city and south and east. Toward the evening commute, there is a chance precipitation redevelops, probably taking the form of sleet and/or snow rather than rain. But the specifics are uncertain, so stay tuned. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow night: The storm’s second wave takes shape and probably will result in more sleet and snow than rain, especially from the Beltway north and west (southeastern areas may stay more rain and sleet). But it’s not clear how heavy the precipitation will be in this second round and if/when mixed precipitation transitions more to snow. Temperatures should fall back to 30 to 34 degrees. With this precipitation falling overnight, accumulation of snow and/or sleet is possible, especially in the colder locations. Confidence: Low-Medium
A LOOK AHEAD
Snow and/or sleet are possible Wednesday morning, tapering off in the afternoon. Depending on the intensity of the precipitation, which is uncertain, the morning rush Wednesday could be tricky. But conditions should slowly improve during the day. High range from 35 to 40. Partial clearing Wednesday night and cold, with lows 25 to 30. Confidence: Low-Medium
Thursday and Friday are both tranquil but unseasonably cold. Despite abundant sunshine, highs are from 45 to 50. Thursday night could see a passing flurry as a weak disturbance swings by, as lows dip to 25 to 30. Confidence: Medium-High
Clouds increase Saturday with a chance of rain or snow late in the day and/or at night. Highs are 40 to 45 Saturday, with lows 30 to 35 Saturday night. On Sunday, we’ll have a chance of rain or snow in the morning, with increasing chances to dry out during the second half of the day. Highs range from 45 to 50. 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 (↑): We’re looking at a lot of cold, messy winter weather Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon, but squeezing out an inch of snow is 50-50 right around D.C.