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Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 12/31/2008

Forecast: Windy, Cold Countdown to New Year

By Dan Stillman

A few a.m. snow showers; midnight wind chill in teens

Wind Advisory until 10 p.m. this evening; power outages possible

* Predict Inauguration Weather | Later: Top 5 Local Weather Stories of 2008 *


Today: Fierce winds. A.M. snow shower. Upper 30s to mid 40s, dropping in the late afternoon. | Tonight: Mid-to-upper 20s at midnight, then low-to-mid 20s | Tomorrow: Cold. Less Windy. Partly sunny. Mid 30s | A Look Ahead


Umm, what happened to 70 degrees? New Year's Eve won't be a day to saunter or stroll outside like you might have on Sunday when we reached the upper 60s to near 70. Instead, you'll want to walk with purpose to get out of today's cold and ferocious wind as fast as you can. Winds wane by tomorrow, but we stay on the cold side through the weekend.

Current Temperatures and Wind: Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Wind barbs point in direction wind is coming from (see key to interpret wind speed). Refresh page to update. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (New Year's Eve): Cold and really windy. That's about all you need to know about today's weather. Under partly sunny skies, temperatures hover in the upper 30s to mid 40s for much of the day -- maybe a sprinkle or snow shower during the morning -- then start dropping through the 30s come late afternoon.

Sustained winds will blow at around 20-35 mph from the west or northwest with gusts to near 55 mph -- and they'll stay that way through the day. Wind chill?... most spots will struggle to get much past the mid 30s all day long. Confidence: High

Tonight: Still quite windy this evening with temperatures by midnight down to the mid-to-upper 20s. Winds gradually decrease overnight as skies become mostly clear and lows dip to the low 20s in the burbs, mid 20s downtown. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend, and use the comments section to tell us about the weather where you are (some of you have even reported lightning accompanying our scattered morning snow showers)...

Tomorrow (New Year's Day): Winds will be much less of a factor tomorrow. But still quite chilly with highs only in the mid 30s and skies partly sunny. Confidence: High

Tomorrow Night: Increasing clouds Thursday night with lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High


Skies become mostly cloudy on Friday with a 50% chance of some light rain or snow (no accumulation expected) as the center of a weak storm system passes to our north. Highs in the upper 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium

A snow or rain shower could stick around early Friday night, then clearing skies and breezy overnight with lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium

We go mostly sunny Saturday, but stay cold with highs in the upper 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium-High

Clouds increase on Sunday and may or may not produce some rain showers. We'll try to get a better handle on this forecast in the coming days. Highs in the upper 30s to near 40. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Dan Stillman  | December 31, 2008; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Top Five Local Weather Events: 2008


Just want to get your read on the radar returns v. forecast. Radars are showing precip. heading our way, no mention in any forecasts I have seen. Is this one of those surprises or echos of precip not hitting the ground?

Posted by: dprats21 | December 31, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I think wind gusts are going to be the big story today...pressure changes behind the front are amazing. +9mb in 2 hours in some cases. Big temp change as well behind the front.

High wind warning in spots might verify this time.

Posted by: Kmlwx | December 31, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It is drizzling very gently near Union Station

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | December 31, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Was drizzling on my car as I walked out this morning around Union Station/Capital Hill around 8:15ish. Was very suprising.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

dprats2: There have been some reports of showers/snow showers with those radar returns. Either way, they should be quick moving and very minor.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 31, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

snow showers here in madison va the wind is about as wild as i have ever seen.

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | December 31, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Snow shower in Montgomery Village-10AM

Posted by: DOG352 | December 31, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Snow squalls have been coming through for the last 10 minutes or so here in Sterling. An abrupt end to them, as I type this, with blue sky now visible. It really surprised me... was beautiful to watch!

Looks like the band is moving east. The snow was coming down at a moderate clip, amplified by the very strong winds that were blowing at the same time. No accumulation, but the squall was enough to wet the streets and sidewalks.

Posted by: Sterlingva | December 31, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Snowing in Chevy Chase, wild winds and my kids are rollerblading. If they go in the right direction, it's rather effortless.

Posted by: SoMoCo | December 31, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

What the heck? We had bright blue skies, now I can hardly see anything out the window..... Visibility has really dropped, here in Bethesda.

Posted by: JedinBethesda | December 31, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

And now it stopped and it looks like the sun is coming out. :P Yeesh.

Posted by: JedinBethesda | December 31, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We just had about 2.50 minutes of snow here in Vienna. Now it's stopped and the sun is coming back out.

Posted by: Strawberry23 | December 31, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

What are the chances of snow this Friday along with Sunday. A few are calling for a snow/rain event to begin with ending with snow for Friday.

Posted by: ZmanVA | December 31, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Brief fun snow squall in Clarendon, then even a bolt of lighting and clap of thunder!

Posted by: novajeffc | December 31, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable snow here for about 10 minutes in Ballston. Could barely see the building next door. Now we have bright blue sky and a clap of thunder? odd... but beautiful! Now if only it was about 25 degrees and it did that for about 10 hours instead of 10 min.

Posted by: AnneinSand | December 31, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Very loud thunder clap over Old Town Alexandria @ 10:29 am.

Posted by: KEBV | December 31, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I work near Pentagon, where we have flurries. I just heard what sounds like thunder but could be aircraft due to nearby national airport operations. Anyone else?

Posted by: shackleton | December 31, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Snow flurries mixed with rain - West Springfield

Posted by: bikerjohn | December 31, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

That was thunder and a lightning bolt. I saw it from my window. I am near the Pentagon too.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 31, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Here at Ballston the wind was blowing so hard it was shaking the inside doors to our department. Then the snow started and was blowing sideways. Finally there was lightening and a crack of thunder followed by blue skies. I swear it's the end of world!

Posted by: dre7861 | December 31, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

We've been experiencing the final flakes of 2008 out here too .... snow blowing sideways, roaring gusts shaking the windows, and then blasts of blue skies and sunshine. No thunder though!

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 31, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Heavy snow shower here in Arlington - 2.5 minutes sounds about right, but it was almost white-out condition. Then just as suddenly as it started, the sky turned blue and it was completely gone. Utterly bizarre. That was the fastest moving, most compact squall line I've seen since East Texas (and the storms there can be absolutely insane: I've watched them rip parts of the roof off of one side of the Minute Maid Stadium in Houston, while the other side of the Stadium was literally dry.)

So it could be a very, very interesting day. . . .

Posted by: badmommy | December 31, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The wind is whipping around my Lake Ridge aerie like something out of the Wizard of Oz - I shudder to think what it's done to the stuff I set out for recycling earlier this morning. Haven't seen any snow here yet.

Posted by: meta2 | December 31, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

At about 10:45 I was walking in the Capitol Hill area. To the north I saw some dark clouds and was not too concerned since I had seen them earlier. All of a sudden they rolled in. It got really dark and I was being pelted with a shaved ice snow mixture. Winds, ice and darkness. It was amazing. I ran into my bank and about 5 minutes later they were all gone. Now it’s just like before. Patchy clouds with sunshine and windy.

Posted by: jojo2008 | December 31, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I saw a lightning bolt as well driving down the Dulles Toll Road around 10:35am - this included a heavy band of snow and winds gusting at around 50 mph.

Posted by: GregRAINMAN | December 31, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It flurried for 10 seconds here in Burke. Now we need a snow storm!

Posted by: Yellowboy | December 31, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

No snow or thunder in Kingstowne (although the wind is quite loud). I went outside early this morning to bring in my flag because of the wind and found the flag and the flagpole on the ground--the wind had snapped the flagpole holder in two.

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 31, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I missed the snow squall this morning, but it sounds to me (from talking to other people) that it was one of those very rare events here that mimic a spring thunderstorm. I was in the middle of one in College Park, MD a few years back. I could literally see the wall of snow coming, it lasted about 2 minutes or so, and that was it. These are different from your typical snow shower/flurry and are very rare, at least in the DC area where snow is not the norm.

Posted by: swishjobs | December 31, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Strong winds here in Darnestown. Lost power for about 4 hours. Back on now. Wind toppled neighbor's 30-year-old 40-foot-high pine tree into my yard. Glad it wasn't near either house.

Posted by: taylorbt | December 31, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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