Much colder air will lag this rainfall by about two hours. Temperatures fall toward and below freezing west of Interstate 95 by around 10 a.m., with the rest of the region falling below freezing by late morning.
While it is still quite wet as we await temperature drops, strong winds will kick up over the next hour or two, helping dry surfaces. Gusts may approach 50 mph for a time later this morning, which could lead to isolated wind damage or power outages.
Cumberland, Md. has recently clocked gusts around 50 mph as its temperatures have fallen through the 20s.
7:15 a.m — Arctic front on the doorstep
The much-awaited major cold front is plowing through the Interstate 81 corridor to Washington’s west early this morning. Out ahead of it, we’re seeing some moderate to heavy showers sweep across the region. Those showers continue to rapidly push east through the area this morning with the front.
We’re still generally on track as far as the timing of the front’s passage. If anything, the cold air may arrive on the early side of forecasts. It should fully pass the area around 10 a.m.
The National Weather Service is warning of a quick temperature drop leading to some ice on roads and sidewalks.
“Temperatures will rapidly fall well below freezing within one to two hours after the frontal passage,” the agency wrote.
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10. Some morning rain/snow showers, then temperatures plummet from 40s early to teens around sunset. Winds gust near 40 to 50 mph for a time. Do we even notice afternoon sun?
- Today: Morning rain and snow showers. Windy. Highs: 40s to teens (rapid fall).
- Tonight: Mainly clear. Frigid wind chills below zero. Lows: 7 to 12.
- Tomorrow: Partly sunny, gusty. Highs: Around 20 to mid-20s.
- Sunday: Mostly sunny, breezy. Highs: Mid-20s to near 30.
Wind gusts today top out around at least 40 mph and may hit 50 mph as the front passes the region. With rapidly falling temperatures on those winds, we may have some flash-frozen ice patches to contend with, but we’re not expecting major problems. Note that wind plus temperatures falling equal wind chills close to zero degrees by day’s end. Our coldest wind chills in quite a while bottom out tomorrow night at several degrees below zero.
Arctic blast threatens flash freeze Friday in D.C. and then subzero wind chills
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Today (Friday): Passage of the Arctic front in the morning means temperatures fall all day. We’re near or even above 40 at sunrise into early morning, then the teens near sunset. Winds gust around 40 to 50 mph as the front passes, perhaps strongest in any showers.
A swath of rain showers — some possibly heavy, maybe with thunder? — may mix with or even change to snow as it ends by late morning. It’s not impossible someone gets a quick dusting or so. Despite little to no accumulation, patchy wet spots may flash-freeze (beware of ice!) as skies trend clearer in the afternoon and we dry out. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Strong west winds may continue to gust around 30 mph. Wind chills dip below zero around sunset and head close to minus-10 by morning. Skies are mostly clear. Actual low temperatures on the thermometer fall into the upper single digits west and northwest of town. Downtown may stay at or just above 10 degrees. Be careful if outside for long, please. Confidence: Medium-High
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Tomorrow (Saturday): Westerly winds still may gust above 25 mph, creating wind chills that are slow to climb above zero in the morning hours. Most spots should top out in the 20-to-25-degree range. (D.C. may tie or beat the record-coldest high temperature of 23 degrees from 1989.) Skies should remain fairly clear, although some cloud buildup may occur midday. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Skies turn mostly clear, so be sure to look for the crescent moon sliver, plus Venus on the western horizon at dusk. All of us should drop into the teens for low temperatures before dawn. Fortunately, winds come down a bit. Confidence: Medium-High
Christmas Day (Sunday): Sunshine dominates, but wind chills are still in the teens. At least our “warming” trend gets high temperatures into the mid-20s to near 30 degrees. West and northwesterly wind gusts are slightly less intense but still may top out near 25 mph at times. Just continue to bundle up, if you have to be out. Confidence: Medium
Sunday night: Skies are expected to be nearly clear with west-northwesterly breezes diminishing quickly after sunset, as it looks now. The entire region should bottom out in the teens. Brrr. Continue to bundle up! Confidence: Medium
Temperatures continue to “warm” Monday and Tuesday, with highs at least in the 30s. We may even crack the 40-degree mark on Tuesday. Mid- and high-level clouds could arrive late Monday and last into Tuesday. Breezes and wind chills may be the tamest we’ve seen since the Arctic front moved through. Stay tuned for slight tweaks to the cloud levels and temperature forecast as we get closer. Confidence: Medium
Read more about Capital Weather Gang’s confidence rating.
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 Friday morning may bring patchy coatings. Nothing on the horizon afterward.