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D.C.-area forecast: Snow showers drop a dusting; in the deep freeze by Friday and Saturday

Wind chills could drop to the single digits Friday night

Forecast for Friday night shows wind chills dropping to the single digits. Some spots could see wind chills near zero. (National Weather Service)
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Today’s daily digit

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

6/10: A decent first day of February after we shake off the morning clouds. On the chilly side for sure, but not bad compared to the cold blast to come.

Express forecast

  • Today: Becoming partly to mostly sunny. Highs: Upper 30s to low 40s.
  • Tonight: Mostly clear with light winds. Lows: Low to upper 20s.
  • Tomorrow: Light rain or snow shower to the south? Highs: Low to mid-40s.

6:45 a.m. update: We finally did it! We have our first measurable snow of the season, with about a dusting to a half-inch on the grass across the D.C. area, including a “jackpot” of 0.8 inches in Fairfax.

Most roads should be fine, although there could be some slick spots north and west of the Beltway, especially as you get into upper Montgomery, western Loudoun, northern Fauquier, Frederick, northern Howard and Carroll counties where temperatures are a bit colder (around 29-30 degrees). Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses which are usually first to freeze.

Some snow totals include 0.4 inches at the National Zoo, 0.5 inches in Laurel, 0.5 inches in Germantown, 0.5 inches in Alexandria, 0.8 inches in Fairfax, 0.3 inches in Herndon and Reston, 0.5 inches in Ashburn, 0.4 inches at Dulles Airport, and 0.3 inches in Leesburg.

Forecast in detail

Most of this winter has been relatively mild for the D.C. area and most of the Eastern U.S., but we’re about to get our second significant cold blast of the season. We’re just seasonably cold today and tomorrow before a cold blast lowers wind chills to the teens and single digits Friday and Saturday. No snow with this cold air, though, as temperatures moderate by Sunday afternoon.

Today (Wednesday): Snow showers exit to the southeast early this morning. Temperatures could be cold enough north and west of the Beltway, in the upper 20s and low 30s, for some slick spots during the morning commute. Otherwise we should see skies turning partly to mostly sunny later this morning into the afternoon with highs only in the upper 30s to low 40s, plus a bit of a breeze at times from the northwest. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Evening temperatures drop off quickly through the 30s. With mostly clear skies and light winds, lows should bottom in the 20s area-wide, ranging from the low to mid-20s outside the Beltway to the upper 20s downtown. Confidence: High

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Tomorrow (Thursday): Looks like a storm system stays mostly to our south, leaving us partly to mostly cloudy with only the chance of a light rain or snow shower south of town. Highs remain on the cool side, in the low to mid-40s with light winds. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Still that chance of a light snow shower, mainly south of town, during the evening. The colder air is on its way, but hasn’t arrived quite yet with lows in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Medium

A look ahead

Temperatures are headed nowhere fast on Friday despite partly to mostly sunny skies, remaining mostly steady through the day in the upper 20s to mid-30s with gusty winds. That means wind chills in the mid-teens to mid-20s as winds come from the northwest around 15-25 mph with gusts over 30 mph. Mostly clear and very cold Friday night with lows in the teens and a lingering breeze lowering wind chills to the single digits. Confidence: High

Plenty of sunshine Saturday but cold, with highs only in the upper 20s to low 30s. Winds ease up a bit, but they’re still breezy enough to keep wind chills from rising past the teens to low 20s. Partly to mostly cloudy Saturday night with lighter winds and lows in the upper teens to mid-20s. Confidence: Medium-High

After a frigid start on Sunday, we’ll take the edge off the chill with afternoon highs in the 40s as a light wind comes from the south. Can’t rule out a light rain or snow shower under mostly cloudy skies. 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.

1/10 (): Plenty of cold air the next several days, but not a lot of moisture to work with.