6:25 a.m. — Winter weather advisory expanded east for areas just west of I-95 for brief wintry mix
Overnight, the National Weather Service extended the winter weather advisory into areas just west of Interstate 95, including Fairfax, Montgomery, Howard, northern Fauquier, eastern Loudoun and Prince William counties. It’s in effect until 8 a.m.
A little wintry mix (sleet and freezing rain) is possible in these areas briefly as the precipitation moves in this morning, which could cause a few slick spots. Temperatures are mostly above freezing in this zone but some colder pockets of Howard, northern Montgomery, eastern Loudoun, northern Fauquier and western Prince William counties are right around 32 degrees. See the map below.
Where temperatures are 32 or lower, use caution heading out, especially for the next couple of hours. Surfaces that look wet could be icy. After 8 a.m., most spots should rise above freezing with just plain rain falling.
The main trouble areas will mainly be along and west of Route 15 and especially toward Interstate 81 this morning through around 10 a.m., where mixed precipitation will cause more widespread slick surfaces.
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
3/10: Hit by a train of rain, snow lovers are in pain.
- Today: Rain, occasionally heavy. Highs: 44-48
- Tonight: Rain pauses, gusty winds. Lows: 40-46
- Tomorrow: Rapidly falling temperatures into the 20s. Early rain and snow showers. Windy.
Rapidly changing weather is the rule for the next 48 hours or so. Downpours today transition to plummeting temperatures Friday morning combined with strong winds and perhaps some snowflakes. That’s when the Arctic front arrives with temperatures dropping 20 degrees in an hour or two, possibly causing some slick spots on area roads. The cold is really entrenched by Friday night, when wind chills plunge to near zero. Christmas weekend is then sunny but frigid.
Today (Thursday): Patchy light rain early becomes steady as the morning wears on, with occasional downpours. Our colder areas (generally along and west of Route 15 from Warrenton to Frederick) probably start the day with a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain but should switch to plain rain by midmorning after a light accumulation. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are widespread, prompting a flood watch. Highs slowly climb to the mid-to-upper 40s, except to only near 40 in our colder areas to the west and up to 50 to 55 toward Southern Maryland. Confidence: High
Tonight: Rain should taper to just showers during the evening. South winds build with gusts to 20 mph, potentially pushing temperatures to 50 degrees briefly. Showers become spottier through the night. Lows drop to near 40 as the cold front moves in toward dawn. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Friday): The Arctic front should come crashing into the area during the morning. Along the front, a band of heavy showers is likely and could flip the rain to snow for a very short time. Accumulation is unlikely as west winds plow through gusting to 40 mph bringing in much drier air and clearing skies. Temperatures are expected to fall from 40s to 20s in an hour or two, so beware of icy patches. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Strong west winds are likely to continue through the night under mostly clear skies. Lows fall to the upper single digits in our colder areas to the midteens downtown. Wind chills zip to near zero or even a little below. Bundle up! Confidence: Medium-High
Saturday is still quite breezy as highs only inch up to the upper teens to low 20s. It may be cold enough to set records, including flirting with the record coldest high temperature of 23 degrees. Skies remain mostly clear Christmas Eve, and there is a nice view of the sliver of crescent moon and Venus on the western horizon in the dusk. Overnight lows should drop to the teens. Confidence: Medium-High
Christmas Day (Sunday) is still mighty chilly but highs inch a little higher, reaching the mid-to-upper 20s. Sunny skies and tamer winds are a plus. Just bundle up if you have to be out. Lows at night range through the teens. Confidence: Medium
Mostly sunny skies and light breezes on Monday are still deceiving as highs are not likely to do better than the low 30s. Confidence: Medium
A daily assessment of the potential for at least 1 inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.
1/10 (→): Snow showers are a distinct possibility Friday morning but are probably too brief for any significant accumulation.