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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/28/2010

Forecast: Temperatures primed to tumble

By Josh Larson

Weekend snow risk remains; likely focused south

* Ann & Antarctica: How's the air? | Latest on snow chances *
* Outside now? Temps, radar, winds & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2Nice and mild before temperatures take a nose dive.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Partly sunny & mild. Low 50s. | Tonight: Blustery and turning sharply colder. 16-22. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy & cold. Low 30s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


We've got one day of mild weather today before the Arctic front we've been advertising for several days comes sweeping through this evening, causing temperatures to crash. Tomorrow's highs will be some 20 degrees colder than today, where it's possible we may have our first sub-freezing day in 3 weeks. Then all eyes turn to our south as an area of low pressure approaches our region by late Friday into Saturday. At this point it appears that areas south of D.C. have a much better shot at significant accumulating snow, though the entire area could see some flakes.

Webcam: Latest view of D.C. from the Netherlands Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy National Park Service. Refresh page to update. See this image bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Thursday): As mild air rushes north ahead of our approaching cold front, we'll see a mild day today: highs in the low 50s under a blend of sun and clouds -- more of the latter as the day wears on. We expect the front to push through the region sometime during the early evening, kicking up gusty winds from the northwest and dropping temperatures some 10+ degrees within an hour's time. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: After the front passes, temperatures will be in free fall -- from the 40s all the way to the 20s, even the teens in some areas -- with blustery northwesterly winds to 20 mph making the cold feel even more biting. Overnight lows will range from the mid-to-upper teens across the cooler spots to the low 20s downtown. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the frigid, and possibly snowy, forecast through the weekend...

The sun sets behind the distant Blue Ridge Mountains, photographed from Tysons Corner, Va. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Tomorrow (Friday): The proverbial calm -- and cold -- before the potential storm? We'll have mostly cloudy conditions to wrap up the work week, with temperatures struggling mightily to break the freezing mark. Luckily, winds will die down to the 5-10 mph range. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Plan on overcast skies Friday night with a 50% chance for some light snow, especially areas to the south and southwest of the immediate metro area, to overspread the area during the late evening or overnight hours. It will be quite cold once again, with overnight lows bottoming out in the upper teens to low 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium


Overcast skies will prevail on Saturday with a 50/50 chance for light snow during the day, especially in areas south of D.C. (Please see the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball for a detailed synopsis of the snowfall potential.) In any case, we won't make it out of the frigid mid-to-upper 20s for highs. We'll see partial clearing Saturday night -- with likely dry conditions -- and very cold overnight lows ranging from 15-20. Confidence: Low-Medium

Regardless of how the snow situation plans out on Saturday, high pressure will build back over the region on Sunday bringing with it mostly sunny skies. Despite the sunshine, highs will be hard-pressed to make it out of the low 30s. Clear with another frigid one on tap Sunday night, with lows from the upper teens to low 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

The outlook for back-to-work Monday is for continued mostly sunny skies and slightly milder afternoon highs shooting for the 40 degree mark. It won't be as cold overnight, either, with lows probably in the mid-20s. Confidence: Medium-High

By Josh Larson  | January 28, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Best chance for significant snow is south
Next: Farewell to Mt. Washington's wind record


The 12Z GFS showed the precip moving closer to our area. I think this will surprise a lot of people!

Posted by: snowedin85 | January 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Could the low above Maine draw in/hold back some of the high pressure or is it too far away?

Posted by: spgass1 | January 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

That is a great sunset picture. You can see Thorton Gap at the right-most edge of the distant range; this is where US-211 crosses the Blue Ridge, and Luray is just beyond. I make that to be almost 100 miles off.

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 28, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@spgass1, that strong low off of Maine will not affect the developing area of low pressure to our south.

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot, Josh.

I like Kevin's sunset picture as well... guessing it was taken from a building or parking garage? Centreville often has good distant views of the Blue Ridge.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 28, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It's allegedly 53F outside? The wind is howling and it feels pretty cold!

Posted by: chunche | January 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Another upside temperature bust; temps at 3 pm (not necessarily highs):
Fred'burg 58
Pax River 56
Quantico 54
Salisbury 54
National 54
Stafford 54
Ft. Belvoir 54
Culpeper 54

Posted by: CapitalClimate | January 28, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The strong low to the north does indirectly support the larger-scale flow pattern which is likely to keep the southern storm on an eastward track.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | January 28, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

chunche, last observation was probably 53. Not anymore, you can bet that!

Temps seemed pretty moderate before dropping lately as the wind begins to howl (brrrrrr!). DCA made it all the way to 54 this afternoon, but Dulles got to 51 and BWI got to only 50. While it seems the city and south saw a brief moment of mid-50's, I wouldn't exactly treat today as a flame thrower or a temp bust. Made DCA got a bit higher than we thought, but 3/4 of our readership seemed to come in right where it was expected. I just wish i was down in Frdsbrg to get those upper 50's!

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Dulles was 52 and BWI 51.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | January 28, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

So ... 54, 52 and 51 at the area's three main reporting stations. I'd say the forecast above for low 50s was almost spot-on. You could make an argument that low-to-mid 50s would've been slightly more accurate when you consider National and some of the stations south of D.C. But a "bust" on the warm side? Not even close. We actually have busted several times on the warm side in recent weeks -- and in fact have made it a point of emphasis to improve on this -- but today was not one of those times.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

spgass1: Good guess, the sunset photo was taken from the 10th floor of an office building in Tysons, Corner.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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