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Posted at 9:00 PM ET, 12/23/2008

PM Update: Pre-Holiday Thaw, Plus Showers

By Dan Stillman

Touch of ice tonight? Holiday travel mostly wet, not wintry

Winter Weather Advisory from 10 p.m. tonight to 10 a.m. Wednesday

* Travel Forecast | 'Nothing Takes Longer Than Waiting for Snow' *

The onset of light breezes from the south this afternoon and evening spells the beginning of the end to our early-week bout with biting cold. Temperatures rose today from morning lows in the teens to the low 30s in most spots this afternoon, and will stay near that mark through tonight before truly thawing out during the day tomorrow.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of some spotty light freezing rain and rain, with coverage increasing towards morning. With temperatures holding mostly steady in the low 30s, a few icy spots could develop overnight where any rain occurs. Be cautious if a road or sidewalk looks wet through the early-morning hours -- it could be icy instead.

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve): Clouds remain tomorrow and showers are a better threat, with the best chance being early in the morning and then again in the late afternoon and evening. Temperatures, however, will rise steadily through the morning to afternoon highs in the low 50s. So any early-morning patches of ice will quickly melt away.

See Matt Rogers' forecast for Christmas Day and beyond. Leaving the D.C. area? Continue reading this post for our travel forecast...

Computer model depiction of rainfall tomorrow, Christmas Eve. Courtesy NCEP.

Travel Weather: Other than the potential for some light icing early Wednesday morning from the D.C. area northward into Pennsylvania, the only precipitation Christmas Eve travelers in the eastern U.S. are likely to encounter is rain (not that that's any fun). The heaviest showers look to set up along a line from southwest to northeast in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, western Maryland, Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey and into the New York City area.

I-95 northbound up the East Coast could be along the eastern edge of Wednesday's heavier shower activity, with the best chance of precipitation probably in the afternoon and evening. So if you're headed that direction, the earlier you go (but after any early-morning iciness) the better. Those going south should hit only light showers, if any.

Snow and sleet in Chicago could have ripple effects at airports in the D.C. area and nationwide.

Virtually the entire eastern two-thirds of the nation clears out nicely for Christmas Day.

Related Stories: Delays Eyed at Area Airports | Returning to Normal at Sea-Tac, For Now

Updated 12:00 a.m. Wed. Dec. 24, 2008

By Dan Stillman  | December 23, 2008; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Nothing Takes Longer Than Waiting for Snow'
Next: Forecast: Warmer Weather is Welcome Gift


When should I expect precip to begin out here in Odenton, MD and when do you anticipate temps to rise above 32 degrees? Thx!

Posted by: snowlover | December 23, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Getting a bit of sleet out in western Loudoun right now.

Posted by: rumbly45 | December 23, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

NO, It has to be raining becuase that what the models say............also bet temp do not get out of 40's Wed.

Posted by: ntrlsol | December 23, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

There was a rain-sleet mix the last time I stepped outside. I'll have to see if the temps have warmed/cooled since then.

Posted by: KBurchfiel | December 23, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

We're hoping to head due west on I 70 starting late am to noon on Wed. Given the rain forecast in western Maryland and West Virginia, any sense of the chances of us hitting freezing rain, sleet, or snow instead. Its our experience that even when there is no snow anywhere else, that route can be treacherous. Thanks!

Posted by: brislar | December 23, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse


I think by 10 a.m.-- even as you head west on I-70, the precip should mainly be liquid.


Near freezing temps may linger for a few more hours, then temps will probably rise above freezing after 2 a.m. or so. Spotty precip will be on and off.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

1:07 AM...Temp = 35 in Lake Ridge

NWS says that because the dewpoints are in the teens, once the precip starts to fall the air temp may drop a few degrees (see LWX discussion). So, even if the temp where you are is above freezing, it may drop to or below freezing when the rain starts.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 24, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

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