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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 12/22/2008

Forecast: Bitter Cold to Steadily Retreat

By Jason Samenow

Above-average temperatures return Christmas Eve


Today: Windy and cold. 27-31 | Tonight: Clear and very cold, 9-14 | Tomorrow: Not as windy, but chilly. 34-38 | A Look Ahead


Sub-freezing cold and a biting wind start the week, but long-term indicators suggest high temperatures warm 20-25 degrees or so by next weekend. Temperatures will be more or less seasonable in between, from the 40s to around 50. During the gradual transition from cold to mild conditions, rain chances will present themselves -- most likely Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas.

Temperatures: Current area temperatures. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Refresh page to update. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Monday): With the heart of an Arctic airmass over the region, temperatures likely remain below freezing all day. Factoring in a wind from the northwest at 15-30 mph (with higher gusts), wind chills will frequently be in the teens, and even some single digits early in the day. Skies will be mostly sunny, but the sun won't take much chill out of the air. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: The winds finally will subside and temperatures will tank. Under clear skies, low will range from the high single digits in the colder north and west suburbs to the mid teens downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the detailed forecast through the week.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): Full sunshine will help temperatures climb well into the 30s after a frigid start in the teens in most spots. It will feel much warmer than today as winds die down.Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The next weather system approaches from the west. With some cold air in place at the low levels, a few of the colder locations in the region (north and west of the beltway) could experience light freezing rain late at night (30% chance). Everywhere else, plain rain is possible (50% chance). Lows will likely range from 31-35. Confidence: Medium


On Christmas Eve, patchy light rain is possible as a warm front lifts through the region. Temperatures should climb up to near 50. Overnight, a cold front will then move through late, with another batch of scattered showers possible. Lows will drop to near 40. Confidence: Medium

Christmas Day should be dry and pretty nice. The air behind the previous night's cold front won't be all that cold, and with some partial sunshine, temperatures will set their sights on 50. Clouds increase at night as a wave of low pressure develops along said cold front, stalled to the south. By early morning, another round of rain may develop, with lows 35-40. Confidence: Medium

The day after Christmas, Friday, rain showers are likely as waves of low pressure ripple along the front stalled to the south. The clouds and rain will probably hold temperatures steady, around 40 degrees. Friday night, the front may lift northward as a warm front, bringing a continued chance of showers. Temperatures will probably remain steady. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend may turn mild as the warm front lifts to the north. Despite some showers early Saturday and possibly again during the day Sunday, winds from the south may allow temperatures to climb into the 50s both days with overnight lows in the 40s.Confidence: Low

By Jason Samenow  | December 22, 2008; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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You did quite well with your DCA,IAD,BWI temp.cast last eve., some other folks were also close. Congrats. to all who were within 2 or 3 degrees!

10.7 degrees with a 10-15 mph wind at my place this super chilled morning.

The much despised s.e. ridge reappears for the next 10 days. This will result in above normal temps with some threats of mostly rain after we come out of the deep freeze by Wed.

Snowlovers, be patient, there are some signs of the pattern becoming more favorable as we enter the new year.

Merry Christmas to all and to all, may you soon enjoy the weather of your dreams.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 22, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Formerly Sara in Oakton. Hey guys, making the car trek to Ohio this week. I was going to go on Tuesday but it looks like some ice potential up in the mountains. Would Weds. be the better day? It looks like the warm front will be creeping in by then?

Posted by: SPS1 | December 22, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Heading to Seven Springs Resort on Friday, apparently just in time for rain, rain, rain.

I know it's a bit out of range, but is there any chance it will stay cooler and snow instead?

Posted by: cassann981 | December 22, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the note. The lows,as far as I can tell, were 17 at DCA, and 15 at both IAD and BWI. I predicted 19, 13, and 14.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I checked out this am for fun. Current summit temp is -10, with wind speed of 96.7 mph (highest gust last 24 hours 119.5 mph), wind chill -54. Now, that's downright scary cold!

Posted by: mchristinaw | December 22, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Looks like I might have to turn on the heater in the apartment for the first time tonight!

Posted by: LaurainNWDC | December 22, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I used to get responses to my questions. Apparently, that is no longer the case. I gave this new format a fair shot. Hate it. I'm outta here...Formerly an lastly, Sara in Oakton.

Posted by: SPS1 | December 22, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Trying to figure out the best night to take the family (visiting from out of town) up to the National Zoo to check out Zoolights before it ends on the 30th. Any guesses on the best nights (both in terms of precip chances as well as it not being bone-chillingly cold)?

Posted by: map408 | December 22, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

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