D.C.-area forecast: Cold and wind are back, and we may have a storm on our hands by midweek
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10: It is midwinter, so I suppose we could only keep the cold wind away for so long.
Today: Windy, cold. Snow showers? Highs: Near midnight, falling into/through 30s.
Tonight: Cold, wind chills near zero overnight. Lows: Near 10 to near 20.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Highs: Mid-20s to near 30.
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FORECAST IN DETAIL
Our brief taste of warmer air is already a memory as the Arctic comes rushing back into town. We’ll see temperatures headed generally downward through tonight, then a fairly steady cold through the rest of the holiday weekend. Other than wind and those bitter temperatures, there’s not a whole lot to think about until we get back to work. Snow by midweek? Maybe so.
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Today (Saturday): We’ll all be waking up to gusty northwest winds in the wake of last night’s Arctic front. How deep we are into the cold air will depend on how soon you rise. It’s really something of guesswork until it happens, but it seems likely that much of the area will be in the 30s by shortly after sunrise, although a lag in the cold air could mean somewhat warmer. Temperatures should settle somewhere in the near-30 to mid-30s range, then they may turn steady for a time before dropping again with sunset. I don’t think we see much in the way of snow falling, but it wouldn’t be shocking if there are a few snow showers around at times, especially during the first half of the day. Winds are sustained at about 20 to 25 mph from the northwest, with gusts toward 35 mph or so. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Get ready to go back into hibernation mode, unless you love really cold wind. Those winds weaken just a little bit with the loss of daytime heating, which helps mix the air. But when you add in plummeting temperatures, we spend a good chunk of the night with wind chills not too far from zero. Probably a bit above through midnight or a little later, then dipping below, especially north of the city. Actual temperatures range from about 8 to 17 by dawn. Skies are mostly clear. Confidence: Medium-High
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Tomorrow (Sunday): Skies remain largely cloud free as these crisp Arctic air masses tend to do at peak. We’ve got high pressure more in control, but winds are still up around 10 mph from the northwest. High temperatures are mostly or fully below freezing, with a range of about mid-20s to near 30 expected. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: As winds die off and skies stay clear, this should be the coldest night of the weekend for most spots, at least outside the urban heat islands of the cities. Lows range from about the mid-single digits to the mid- and upper teens. If only we had some snow cover… Confidence: Medium
A LOOK AHEAD
Despite the cold weather — standard for Martin Luther King Jr. Day — this isn’t a bad Monday. Skies are quite sunny, although some increase in clouds is likely with time. Winds are light and perhaps slowly turning toward the south. High temperatures range from near 30 to the mid-30s. Confidence: Medium
On Tuesday, the beginning of an evolution that may end up creating an East Coast snow event gets underway. The first wave is an upper-level disturbance entering the region. This will at least get skies turning cloudier, and increase the chance of some snow or rain showers by late in the day. High temperatures are mainly in the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium
For the midweek, the pattern will be increasingly favorable for the formation of a storm system near the East Coast. It’s certainly possible, although not yet likely, that steadier snow could break out across the region as soon as Tuesday night into Wednesday. The risk may last as long as Wednesday night or so, depending on when and where the low pressure ends up forming, if it does so. Certainly one to watch, and we’ll have more in closing. Confidence: Low-Medium
SNOW POTENTIAL INDEX
A daily assessment of the potential for at least an inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.
3/10 (↑): Plenty of time for details, but we can often squeeze a little snow out of a pattern like we get toward midweek.
Source: Local Weather