Low-temperature forecast from the high-resolution NAM model for Sunday morning. (Capital Weather Gang and Pivotal Weather)

* Freeze warning for the Interstate 95 corridor and locations to the east Saturday night and Sunday morning *

While many of D.C.'s western suburbs have already seen at least one freeze this fall, some areas inside the District and to the east have not. As the first seriously wintry air mass of the season arrives this weekend, widespread freezing temperatures are possible pretty much everywhere overnight Saturday.

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for much of the Interstate 95 corridor and locations to the east Saturday night into Sunday morning. Temperatures are expected to dip into the upper 20s and low 30s, effectively ending the growing season.


Areas under a freeze warning the night of Saturday into Sunday. (National Weather Service)

Freezing lows in the 20s are expected in locations west of Interstate 95, but they are not under a warning since the growing season there has already ended.

On the heels of Friday’s soaking rain, a blast of Arctic air will dive into the area during the predawn hours Saturday. You will notice it moving in if you are outside on Saturday, as winds buffet the region and send wind chills into the 20s and 30s and temperatures struggle into the 40s for highs.


Windy conditions Saturday help deliver colder air to the region. Places locally seem likely to struggle through the 40s for highs. (Capital Weather Gang and Pivotal Weather)

It is not impossible that some of the District’s distant north and west suburbs, especially those with some elevation (e.g. in upper Montgomery County, Loudoun and Frederick counties) do not even reach 40 during the day Saturday. It will definitely feel like winter for the first time this season.

This all sets the stage for a very cold Saturday night.

Temperatures should head below freezing in outlying suburbs shortly after sunset Saturday, and some spots may spend about 10 to 12 hours in the 20s. For now, weather models suggest even the city could get into the upper 20s. Pretty much everyone except perhaps those in an isolated urban location or spots right along the Potomac River should experience freezing temperatures.


Temperature forecast from 7 p.m. Saturday through 7 a.m. Sunday from the high resolution NAM model. It shows freezing conditions overtaking the region. (Capital Weather Gang and Pivotal Weather)

The occurrence of Washington’s first freeze this weekend would be about normal in our current climate. In 2017, the first came Nov. 10, and the most recent 30-winter average first freeze is Nov. 18. If it does happen, it will be on the early side compared with recent cool seasons with a developing El Niño. For instance, ahead of the snowy 2009-2010 winter, Washington’s first freeze did not come until an exceptionally late Dec. 6.

In the suburbs, the hard freeze — with minimum temperatures of 28 degrees or lower — expected this weekend is also about on time. At Dulles, the first average hard freeze (over the past 30 years) is Nov. 1 and at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, it is Nov. 8. Both saw their first hard freeze right around now last year as well.

This is a quick-hit of intense cold. Another freeze is possible in much of the area Sunday night into Monday morning as well, but temperatures will moderate somewhat compared with Sunday morning. Another cold shot is coming next week, and it will not be long until freezes at night become the norm.