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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/ 8/2009

Forecast: Mix tonight; heavy rain early tomorrow

By Matt Rogers

Still watching a weekend winter worry...

* Flood Watch for entire region this evening thru Wed. a.m. *
* Snowy legend of Dec. 5 | Radar, clouds & more: Weather Wall *


Today: Mostly cloudy, chance of rain/sleet late. 40-44. | Tonight: Mixed precipitation to rain. 30-35 | Wednesday: Heavy a.m. rain. 47-52. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


A major Midwest winter storm swings into our area late today and tomorrow. Residual cold air means that the initial waves of precipitation could be of the wintry variety, especially in northern and western suburbs, By rush hour Wednesday morning most, if not all, of the metro area should be just plain rain. But that rain could be quite heavy. We'll get a breather Thursday and Friday, before a possible winter event this weekend.

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 (Tuesday): Mostly cloudy skies and continued colder than normal. Highs should generally be in the low 40s. Winds will be mainly from the north and east. There's a 30% chance of afternoon mixed precipitation (sleet and/or rain). Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Precipitation starts early, possibly impacting the rush hour, and is expected to be a mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain and maybe snow (no significant snow accumulation expected). The far northern and western suburbs could see enough ice to affect travel, while slightly warmer temperatures should limit any impacts closer to D.C. and to the south and east. Transition to all rain is expected before Wednesday morning's commute. Lows should be in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Moderate to heavy rain is expected for the morning (up to 1") and there may even be a rumble of thunder. Temperatures should warm into the upper 40s to low 50s with an early-afternoon cold front bringing drier weather along with an increase in winds (from the west up to 15-20 mph). Look for variable afternoon cloud cover. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy, breezy and turning colder with lows dropping into the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium


Thursday and Friday are forecast to be breezy and colder with highs both days ranging from the upper 30s to around 40. Sky conditions will vary, but we should see more sun than clouds despite the colder weather. Lows Friday morning will be quite chilly with 20s in the city and some high teens possible north and west. Confidence: Medium

The weekend is offering us yet another winter weather opportunity, particularly later on Saturday into early Sunday. A possible coastal low pressure (similar to last weekend) could affect the area, but this time we should have more cold air in place. Unfortunately, model guidance for this potential storm is quite unreliable right now, so our confidence remains low on the details. Weekend highs should be in the 30s to maybe low 40s with lows mainly in the 20s. Confidence: Low (especially on the snow chance!).

By Matt Rogers  | December 8, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Next storm arrives late tomorrow
Next: Another Saturday snow possibility


When was the last time we had three straight days of mostly sunny skies?

Posted by: jaybird926 | December 8, 2009 5:12 AM | Report abuse

Too iffy for the bicycle commute today especially the afternoon.

Posted by: sbg1 | December 8, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Jaybird926, I was wondering the same thing. I'd guess early October.

It's hard to believe how much rain we've had since October with yet another inch or two for tonight and Wednesday. This pattern is relentless and depressing at the same time.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 8, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Folks - In Montgomery County, what is the time line for the potential mess tomorrow afternoon? Will it affect the early parts of rush hour? Hate driving in that junk with young kids...

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 8, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm with david_in _stafford and jaybird.

This pattern is mind-numbing. We badly need to dry out. An extended dry period is sorely needed.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 8, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Interesting situation with the low temps at Dulles overnight. I was watching as I'm always concerned with melting snow and re-freezing on my morning commutes now. Forecasted lows were around 28 for Ashburn/Dulles, and were headed that way after sunset. But, temps rose to the upper 30's overnight.

Not complaining as it made for a worry-free commute, but what caused the overnight rise in temps there? I know there were clouds, but I believe that was already in the forecast.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 8, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Any update on Saturday's storm? In general, I really don't think the storm tonight is going to cause any problems within a 50 mile radius of DC. I think you are going to have to go out 100 mile N/W/NW to see accumulating ice or snow by dawn tomorrow. Unless of course, you view heavy rain as a problem.

Posted by: snowlover | December 8, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse


We'll have a Snow Lover's Crystal Ball up for Saturday's potential event around 10 am.


If there is any "mess" it will be this afternoon, not tomorrow afternoon... but with temperatures above freezing, shouldn't be a big deal. I'm thinking we may have some sleet or a rain/sleet mix for the PM Commute today.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jason. I meant to say 'this evening.' Thanks for reassuring me!

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 8, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

After tonight's drenching rain, you are guaranteed a 2 day period of sunshine followed by 3-4 days of more rain.

Posted by: jojo2008 | December 8, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Forecasting question...

Someone yesterday mentioned cold air damming. Does this mean today we have a front coming in from the West and our high pressure relatively cool air wants to go towards the low pressure (creating east winds), but gets hung up for awhile on geographical features, i.e. Catoctin/Bull Run Mtn, the Blue Ridge, and Alleghenies?


Posted by: spgass1 | December 8, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes, spgass1, that is correct...high pressure to our north and east wedges cold air in east of the Appalachians. Cold air is denser, heavier than warm air, so it is difficult to scour out when the warm air comes from the south and west. It gives us more chances of frozen precipitation.

Posted by: MattRogers | December 8, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot, Matt. Lately, I've been trying to understand some of this stuff better. So far it's given me a bit more appreciation of the challenges in forecasting.

Posted by: spgass1 | December 8, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Just checked NWS forecast for my area in Ashburn. They've completely removed any mention of wintry precip. It's all rain....and a lot of it.

Will certainly wash away the rest of the snow.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 8, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Looks like mainly rain down here...hopefully most of it's after 11 PM...the Fabulettes are at the Clarendon Ballroom tonight. Could also be windy--Ballston is always a problem when there's lots of wind; the buildings seem to create mini-tornadoes which can wreck umbrellas.

Wonder if high winds late Thursday and Friday might bring a few snow squalls across the mountains as happened last winter. I can't rule out a flurry or two in the wake of such an intense storm.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 8, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

storm after storm glad im goin to be back for this weekend but im looking forward to the 17th if that pans out dont know how im goin to make it to baltimore where cruise departs from ha what a winter this could be

Posted by: jmc732msstate | December 8, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Thought this was supposed to come in as rain with maybe a touch of sleet. Getting a taste now of what could have been. At 1200 ft. near Myersville, MD it is snowing heavily, almost 2 inches on ground over last 50 minutes, visibility less than 1/4 mile, temp 31, road snow covered. Probably all rain in an hour, but beautiful for the moment.

Posted by: dustygroundhog | December 8, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

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