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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 01/18/2010

Forecast: Mild start to week then a wintry tease

By Jason Samenow

* Outside now? Temps, clouds, webcam & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
6Sunshine makes a glorious return, but not without a brisk breeze.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Becoming mostly sunny, breezy. Low-to-mid 50s. | Tonight: Mostly to partly clear and cool. Low-to-mid 30s. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny. Near 50 or low 50s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Relative to Sunday's dreary chill, the week begins on a banner note. Considerable sun today allows us to make a run at 50 degrees and above, and 50 is within reach tomorrow as well. By Wednesday, though, colder air tries to nose its way down from the north as moisture approaches from the west. This means the Wednesday though Friday period may be unsettled (especially late Thursday & Friday) with a chance of intermittent rain, mixed precipitation and/or snow. A break in the action should arrive for a good part of the weekend, though another storm could start impacting the area late Sunday.

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): Sunshine returns in the wake of yesterday's rain storm, though we will have a bit of a breeze from the northwest at 10-15 mph or so (with gusts to 20 mph) to contend with. Highs reach up to the low-and-mid 50s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Mostly to partly clear skies and calming winds will allow evening temperatures to fall into and through the 40s. Overnight and toward morning, clouds may increase in coverage with lows in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the week...

Ice floating down the Potomac River south of Alexandria, Va. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): Despite more clouds than today (we'll call it partly sunny for now), highs should still make it up to around 50 or into the low 50s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Cool air will continue to work its way into the region from the north overnight. At the same time, some moisture may try to creep in from the west. So we should see an increase in cloud cover and a slight (1 in 4) chance of mixed precipitation towards morning. Lows will likely be in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium


Mostly cloudy Wednesday, with a slight (1 in 4) chance of light rain or mixed precipitation. More likely, it will be dry as high pressure to north cuts off any moisture approaching from the west. Highs should range from 40-45. Variably cloudy Wednesday night, with a 20% chance of light snow, sleet, or rain. Lows should be in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Precipitation chances should increase late Thursday and Friday as low pressure finally ejects out of the southern Plains. Enough cold air may (25% chance) initially be in place for mixed precipitation or even snow, but as our source of cold air looks to push offshore, rain will probably be the predominant precipitation type. Highs both days should be around 40, with lows Thursday night in the mid-30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

High pressure looks to briefly build back into the region Saturday meaning sunshine returns. There probably won't be much cold air behind Friday's storm, so Saturday's highs may head back up towards 50. Sunday should also see temps heading up towards 50 or even higher, before a chance of rain late ahead of the next possible storm system. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Jason Samenow  | January 18, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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You all could do a segment on the January Thaw - we seem to be in the midst of it now (it typically comes in the 3rd or 4th week of Jan and lasts 5-10 days). I think. It's sort of a "halftime" break in winter in the northern hemisphere, and it has inspired holidays like Candlemas (UK) or Groundhog Day (US); six more weeks of winter, etc.

Posted by: fleeciewool | January 18, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

They could also do a segmet about how the January thaw inspires CWG commenters to complain how winter "isn't like it used to be anymore . . . "

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | January 18, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Why winter isn't what it used to be..."

In a couple of words...GLOBAL WARMING!!!

There has always been a January thaw. We generally have a good one most years. Last time we had a white Christmas it started on New Years Day and didn't let up until early March. Then we had a cold to cool miserable spring.

I found a reference to Larry Cosgrove's report yesterday on the Eastern U.S. weather board. He is currently saying that we will have the usual El Nino spring once meteorological winter ends. This could mean cold, nasty, raw weather through much of March and April, and possibly into May. In other words, no different from our recent last few spring seasons. Last year we had a cold, very dry winter, followed by a cold to cool raw very wet spring. Two years ago, spring wasn't very nice as I recall.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 18, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

We've already hit 51F downtown! all my friends are raving about the weather today :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the suggestion to do an article on January thaws. Will try to work that in in the next couple days...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

continuing my fixation on that NWS "at a glance" forcast:

thursday's cloud has now changed from that lovely snow white to dreary gray. (will the fangs come out?) but the predicted temps keep dropping for later in the week. maybe "the thaw" is ending sooner than thought? what's happening with the models to make NWS temp predictions trend colder for late next week?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Jan. thaw will cont thru the rest of the month, a few upper 30'- low 40's followed by highs around 50. Month will probably end up with close 2 average temps after a cold start.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 18, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I was unable to dig up any crew at the last minute today, and so did not sail. I didn't see anyone else out when I went down to the marina, though, so I don't feel too bad about it. I might start leaning hard on my sailing friends, though - I have learned that VaTechBob's predictions are reliable. If that record continues, it could be warm enough to grab a quick mid-day sail here and there.

Posted by: --sg | January 18, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

With my birthday approaching this coming Sunday (January 24th), I'm trying to hit up the ski slopes at Massanutten (Harrisonburg, VA). Are the temps out there looking favorable for such this Saturday, or should I wait for the 30th (or later)?

Posted by: TheAnalyst | January 18, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

What seems to be a Jan thaw is the weather returning to slightly above normal after weeks od very cold conditions

Posted by: pvogel88 | January 18, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

An ICESTORM is on the way for the I81 corridor Thur. night.

Still have 3 inches snow on the ground from Dec. 19.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 18, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

00z NAM continues cold for western areas.

Sleet and freezing rain later Thur. and Thur. night

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 18, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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