DC-area forecast: Cold and calm today, then wet tomorrow before an Arctic onslaught


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

6/10: Too high, you say, for sunny but chilly 40s? Just you wait for what’s to come.

  • Today: Mostly sunny and cold, light winds. Highs: Low to mid-40s.
  • Tonight: Increasing clouds, wintry mix late? Lows: Upper 20s to mid-30s.
  • Tomorrow: Early mix north and west? Rain, heavy at times. Highs: 40s.

Today is the day to prepare for the bitter cold and wind arriving Friday and lasting through the weekend, especially since tomorrow looks like a rainy day. It’s not exactly warm today, with highs only in the 40s, but it’s not terrible, with mostly sunny skies and light winds. Our north and west suburbs could see a touch of wintry mix early tomorrow morning before changing to rain, then early Friday is when the Arctic front comes through, sending us into the deep freeze for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Today (Wednesday): Another chilly one out there as we start from lows this morning in the low 20s to near 30. Plenty of sunshine does the best it can, lifting afternoon highs to the low to mid-40s with light winds. Confidence: High

Tonight: Clouds are on the increase this evening, and then skies become mostly cloudy overnight, as low pressure develops to our south. Light rain or a wintry mix could make it into our southern and western suburbs by 4 am or so. Overnight lows range from the upper 20s to mid-30s. Confidence: Medium-High

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Tomorrow (Thursday): A brief period of wintry mix is ​​possible, mainly north and west of DC, before 9 am or so, but any significant icy concerns should be confined to north of Frederick and west of Leesburg. For the metro area, it turns into a rainy day, with rain increasing in coverage during the morning and heavy at times through the afternoon into the evening. Afternoon temperatures should rise well into the 40s as winds turn breezy from the southeast late afternoon into evening. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: The rain moves out from west to east during the evening hours, but skies remain cloudy through the night. Temperatures hover in the mid-40s to low 50s thanks to a relatively mild breeze from the south. Confidence: Medium

Gusty rain showers come through early Friday, between approximately 6 am and noon, possibly ending as snow showers. Can’t rule out a light coating on grass, especially north and west of DC The main story is crashing temperatures and gusty winds. Most of us start the day in the 40s, but we’re in the 20s to near 30 by around lunchtime, and in the teens to near 20 by late afternoon or evening with clearing skies. Wind gusts from the west, generally in the 30-40 mph range with a few gusts to around 50 mph possible, should dry things out fairly well. But any remaining wet spots will certainly freeze over (what we call a “flash freeze”) during the afternoon into evening. Confidence: Medium

Friday night winds continue to gust near or past 30 mph with mostly clear skies. Overnight lows plummet to the upper single digits to midteens, with wind chills down to the single digits to as low as around minus-5 degrees. Confidence: Medium-High

Christmas weekend is partly to mostly sunny and absolutely frigid. Both days start with morning lows in the upper single digits to midteens, before struggling to afternoon highs in the 20s to near 30. Saturday winds, gusting from the west around 20-30 mph, keep wind chills in the single digits and teens all day long. Not as windy on Sunday, but still enough of a breeze to keep wind chills from rising past the teens to near 20. Confidence: Medium-High

High temperatures should recover to the 30s to near 40 Monday and Tuesday.

A daily assessment of the potential for at least 1 inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.

1/10 (): As the Arctic front blasts through the area early Friday, rain showers could turn to snow showers before ending. We usually don’t see accumulation in situations like this, but can’t rule out a light coating on grass, especially north and west of DC

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