Emmi Horne, 8, tries to catch snowflakes on her tongue as she walks through downtown Silver Spring during a brief snow squall with her mom, Terry Horne. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

* Wind advisory through 1 p.m. for upper Montgomery and Loudoun counties and to the north and west *

7:50 a.m. update: A wind advisory is in effect for our north and west areas, from upper Montgomery and Loudoun counties to the north and west. Gusts in this zone could reach 40 to 50 mph through 1 p.m. The best chance for gusts over 45 mph is at higher elevations (above 1,000 feet). Elsewhere, peak gusts should range from 35 to 45 mph.

So far this morning gusts have been mostly around 30 mph but are expected to increase through midday before easing slightly.


Forecast wind gusts at 11 a.m. from HRRR model.

TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

3/10: The wind is a fright, giving this cold a bite, setting the stage for a possible snow lover’s delight.

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Mostly sunny with gusty winds. Highs: 38-42

Tonight: Mainly clear and blustery. Lows: 20-26

Tomorrow: Sunny, winds diminish. Highs: 37-41

View the current weather at The Washington Post headquarters.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Hello, winter. Long time no see. The return of the cold is one thing, but the howling winds both today and tomorrow are the real pain. For the snow-loving crowd, all eyes are on the storm coming into the area Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Snowfall should generally be light, but the risk for a burst of heavier activity still can’t be ruled out when the storm hits the coast Sunday.

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Today (Thursday): Sunshine is back in control. A few scattered clouds race by as northwest winds gust as high as 35 to 45 mph. Highs in the upper 30s to low 40s feel about 10 degrees colder thanks to those unabating winds. Confidence: High

Tonight: Clear skies allow good views of the crescent moon in the western evening sky, but gusty northwest winds make the viewing from indoors a better option. Lows fall to the low to mid-20s. Confidence: High

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates. For related traffic news, check out Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend . ..

Tomorrow (Friday): Sunny skies and weakening northwest winds are welcome, but it is still cold, with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. Dry air makes skin moisturizer a good idea. Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: Clear evening skies give way to increasing clouds after midnight. Lows range through the 20s. Confidence: High

A LOOK AHEAD

Clouds thicken Saturday morning, but snowflakes hold off until afternoon. Most of the snow should remain light, but a period of moderate snow toward evening cannot be ruled out. In any event, look out for slick spots. Highs struggle to reach the mid-30s, and temperatures fall below freezing once snow begins. Little change is expected overnight, with mainly light snow that could even pause for a time late at night. By early Sunday morning, about an inch or so of snow may have fallen (first estimate, subject to change). Lows fall to the 20s across the area. Confidence: Low-Medium

Light snow is likely for a good part of Sunday. The best chance for a moderate to heavy burst would occur between the late morning and early evening hours. Our initial estimate for total accumulation, subject to change, is about 1 to 4 inches, with the heaviest amounts in our southern areas (where locally higher totals are possible). Highs should be around 35. Light snow gradually tapers off to flurries through the evening. Overnight lows fall to the low to mid-20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Monday clears gradually, with highs in the mid- to upper 30s, making snow melt a slow affair. 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.

7/10 (): The chance that we’ll get at least an inch keeps ticking up. But even though snowfall is likely to start Saturday afternoon, reaching an inch could string out until Sunday morning.