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D.C.-area forecast: Cool but tolerable today, then windy and cold Sunday

This cold snap peaks on Sunday and Sunday night

Sun and clouds over the Potomac River. (Jeannie In D.C./Flickr)

Today’s daily digit

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

5/10: Chilly but it could be worse. It will be worse tomorrow.

Express forecast

  • Today: Partly sunny. Highs: Mid-40s.
  • Tonight: Mainly clear. Lows: 20s
  • Tomorrow: Sunny and gusty. Cold wind chills. Highs: Upper 30s.

Forecast in detail

This early-season cold snap is headed toward peak tomorrow. But first, today’s not too bad despite chilly conditions. We can thank somewhat lower winds and plentiful sun. On the other hand, it’s probably a battle to try to get out of the 30s tomorrow, when we could also be dealing with wind chills in the 20s most of the day. Besides the cold and wind, there’s not much in the way of weather to worry about.

Today (Saturday): Unlike the past few days, cloud cover today may be most abundant in the morning. For most of the day it should try to be partly sunny or better. Highs reach the mid-40s most spots. Winds are from the southwest around five to 10 mph, with higher gusts. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Skies are mainly clear, although there may be a brief cloud increase after dark and toward midnight. Winds turn back to the northwest as another cold front slips through. It’s quite gusty again by sunrise. Lows are mainly in the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

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Tomorrow (Sunday): It’s the kind of day that looks way better than it feels. We’ll see plenty of sunshine but that’s the only good news. Temperatures struggle to climb into the upper 30s most spots. That would be a few degrees below normal in January. Winds are from the northwest around 10 to 20 mph, with gusts past 30 mph. Wind chills are a good 10 or so degrees colder than the actual temperature. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Winds diminish as skies remain clear. With plenty of dry air in place, it’s a great recipe for rapid overnight cooling. Some of the usual cold spots north and west could approach the midteens. Downtown it’s more like mid-20s. Confidence: Medium

A look ahead

We’ll start to see a temperature rebound Monday. It’s a slow one, despite mainly sunny conditions. Temperatures should rise to the mid-40s most spots. Then it’s another step upward Tuesday, perhaps along with some additional cloud cover. We gain about five more degrees most spots, which equates to afternoon readings near 50. Confidence: Medium