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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 01/15/2009

Forecast: Bitter Cold Blasts Into Town

By Josh Larson

Cold pattern through the Inauguration

* Inauguration Weather Forecast: Cold, Flaky? | Cold Now? Just Wait. *


Today: Partly sunny; blustery. Upper 20s, falling late. | Tonight: Frigid. 8-12 (sub-zero wind chills) | Tomorrow: Sunny; brutally cold. 16-20 | Tomorrow Night: Mostly clear. Dangerously cold. Single digits. | A Look Ahead

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Extreme Cold Tips


No matter how you spin it, the next few days are likely to feature the coldest weather of the entire winter. In fact, as Dan mentioned yesterday, this Arctic blast may bring the most frigid temperatures in nearly a decade to the region! Strong winds today and tonight will make matters even worse. In no uncertain terms, a plethora of clothing -- hats, gloves, scarves and the like -- will be needed if you venture outside over the coming days.

Today (Thursday): If you're out and about this morning, you may catch a glimpse of a passing flurry, with wake-up temperatures in the low 20s. But, the balance of the day is likely to feature partly sunny and dry conditions. A biting northwesterly wind will make afternoon highs in the upper 20s feel some 10 or more degrees colder. Even for the most hardened cold weather enthusiasts, this means that the warmest clothing or outerwear you have in your closet are probably advised. Confidence: High

Tonight: Clear and -- no beating around the bush -- bitterly cold tonight, with lows ranging from the upper single digits in colder spots like Herndon and Rockville to the low teens downtown. As if the air temperatures aren't already bad enough, a stubborn 10+ mph breeze will foster dangerous wind chills near or even below zero. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the beginning of next week.

Tomorrow (Friday): Friday may very well turn out to be the coldest day of the entire winter, with afternoon highs in the upper teens -- struggling to hit the 20 degree mark; for perspective, that's nearly 25 degrees colder than the average afternoon high in mid January for the region. To make matters even worse, northwesterly winds around 10 mph may produce dangerously cold wind chills in the single digits at times. Confidence: High

Tomorrow Night: Mostly clear skies and calming winds will probably allow for the coldest night of the winter, with temperatures ranging from the low single digits across the outlying suburbs to the upper single digits downtown. (The last time we've seen temperatures below 10 degrees in downtown D.C. was January of 2004). Confidence: Medium-High


Mostly sunny conditions continue on Saturday, but it won't be quite as frigid as Friday. Still, we're talking afternoon highs only in the upper 20s -- a far cry from our average high temperature in the mid 40s (or last year's high on the same day of 49). Luckily, winds should not be much of a factor on Saturday, so temperatures will more or less "feel" close to what the thermometer says. Confidence: Medium-High

Saturday night, a weak disturbance passing through may produce mostly cloudy skies and perhaps a few snow showers (20% chance). The clouds will probably keep temperatures from dropping much below 20 in most places, some 10-15 degrees warmer than the previous night. Confidence: Medium-High

Clouds may persist into the day Sunday, with afternoon highs making a run for (just) above freezing for the first time since Wednesday! An optimistic forecast produces highs in the mid 30s; a realistic one puts them in the low 30s. By late afternoon or early evening, some snow showers may develop (30% chance). Confidence: Medium-High

Like Saturday night, some clouds around should prevent temperatures from completely bottoming out Sunday night. Most locations will drop to 20-25. Snow showers will remain a slight possibility (20% chance) until late at night. Confidence: Medium-High

The outlook for Monday -- Martin Luther King Day and Inauguration Eve is for mostly sunny skies with highs probably, though not assuredly, rising above the freezing mark -- into the mid 30s, with Monday night lows in the low to mid 20s. Confidence: Medium

See our special Inauguration Weather Forecast for the outlook for Tuesday...

By Josh Larson  | January 15, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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A slight dusting of snow on all surfaces here in Gaithersburg at 5:30. Any other year this might not merit a mention.

Posted by: MDScot | January 15, 2009 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Dusting on most surfaces in Laytonsville, including roadway (Brink Rd.)but very fluffy.

Posted by: dprats21 | January 15, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Saw you in the paper this morning! Not sure if that's a first, but congrats anyways! It's great to see your own forecasts in the newspaper (albeit only until Jan. 20th!).

Posted by: PeterBethesda | January 15, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

@MDScot and dprats21: Somewhat more exciting here in Sterling. About a half of an inch of light snow, and it stuck on the roadways immediately as a result of the cold!

Loudoun has a 1 hour delay; now this winter isn't a complete failure.

Posted by: Sterlingva | January 15, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

nada a fake inalexandria

Posted by: pvogel88 | January 15, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Shenandoah Co. has a 2 hr. delay on schools with up to an inch of snow. Highways mostly covered with snow and ice.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 15, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I awoke to a heavy dusting of snow west of Oakton. The wind and snow has created white swirl patterns on the side roads. I watched the radar loop and it looked like the line of snow showers dissipated rapidly as it moved east through our area.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 15, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

@ Kevin - a "heavy" dusting - like jumbo shrimp and northern hospitality ?

Posted by: MDScot | January 15, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

what are the chances of sat.'s snow accumulating?

Posted by: strangldangel | January 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

the forecast for tomorrow night continues to get colder. i'm going to have to wear half the clothes in my wardrobe just to stay warm that night.

Posted by: bjaurelio | January 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

CWG - Wow, that was fast! Yesterday I said I'd give you $50 for even a dusting and I live in Rockville and woke up to a dusting! Where do I pay up? How is the weekend's potential shaping up?

Posted by: authorofpoetry | January 15, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

1/10th of an inch on south side of Rockville this morning which DOUBLES my seasonal snowfall to a whopping 2/10" !

Posted by: DOG352 | January 15, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What are the chances that Richmond and points south get snow Sunday and we get left out? Wouldn't that be great....

Posted by: tjack55 | January 15, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

MDScot, that's a good one. With this winter, about the only time I can use the word "heavy" related to snow is with dusting. I suppose "coating of snow" may have been a better word choice. I am anxiously waiting for the storm when I can report, "Heavy Snow in Oakton!" :)

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 15, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

1/8" snow this morning in eastern Warren County. Elevation 1900 ft.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 15, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey poet, I think I'll try it, too....I'd give 50$ for a snowstorm in Manassas this weekend.

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 15, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

It seems like everyone else posting here lives pretty far outside the city. I wish we could get some snow downtown. Instead, my walk to work was just plain cold without a sign of a potential snow flake

Posted by: bjaurelio | January 15, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Good luck Manassas! I think the CWG have been waiting for bribes to bring snow since this blog was started!

Posted by: authorofpoetry | January 15, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Was downtown at 12th and G st. early this morning. Flakes were flying at 6 a.m. on my walk to grab a bite to eat. Made my day. :D

Even better is when I returned to Rockville to find streets smothered in salt, and barely a bit of snow accumulated in the grass. Either Rockville's commute was a hellish one, or the county was REALLY excited when they saw snow flakes this morning. The amount of salt on the road is deeper than the total snowfall we've received this winter!

Posted by: Havoc737 | January 15, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, back to seasonably cold winter weather. But I have five issues this morning:

(1) It's too dry. We need enough moisture for a good snowstorm.

(2) TV news was full of snow coverage and traffic issues in Maryland---and NARY A FLAKE in these parts of Virginia!

(3) I'm sick & tired of these dry "clippers"! When will we get something subtstantive???

(4) Again, TV news spent huge blocks of time on two-hour school delays in spots like Hardy County, West Virginia. Meanwhile, my mom tells me that it was extremely cold back home in West Central Wisconsin but NO SCHOOL SYSTEM UP THERE had to shut down for cold weather! Back there you need 4-6 inches of snow to even CONSIDER closing schools, and the heat rarely fails. Schoolchildren in Wisconsin are generally expected to attend school in subzero weather.

(5) Today is my 62nd birthday. I seem to be getting the long-johns cold wave, but would like to see something better on the storm track than "dry clippers".

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 15, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse


Happy Birthday!
Also a belated welcome back!


Posted by: pjdunn1 | January 15, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse is talking about a possible storm Sunday night into Monday. They are saying it will start out as a clipper and gain moisture as it nears the coast - possibly bringing us "accumulating snow?" What are your thoughts on this???

See their forcast here:

Posted by: capsnumber1 | January 15, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Mr_Q | January 15, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Please do not think or say this is seasonably cold weather. It is extreme weather; crops and lives are at risk. If I said 100 degrees in July was seasonable, you heat-haters would be all over me.

My school wants to have a "scheduled" (but unannounced) fire drill tomorrow. I hope they are joking. Weather forecasters, would you let them?

Posted by: dynagirl | January 15, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

At least persistent below freezing weather is a decent enough excuse not to worry about washing your car... since any moisture you forgot to towel off would just turn into layer of ice.

Posted by: Michelle57 | January 15, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

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