Forecast: Unsettled & wintry through Friday
Today: Partly sunny. Slight chance of light sleet or rain late. Near 40. | Tonight: Cloudy. Wintry mix likely. 32-36. | Tomorrow: Morning mix, then mostly cloudy. 37-40. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail
FORECAST IN DETAIL
The next 36 hours are marked with wintry uncertainty. First, a slim chance this morning of a bit of sleet or wet snow across the southern suburbs; most likely a non-issue. Then, by later today another -- stronger -- system will approach from the south. However, how far north this precipitation will make it and whether it will be cold enough for snow are still questions we're grappling with. At this point we think the best potential is for a light sleet/snow mix overnight through early tomorrow, mixing with rain south and east of the beltway. A slushy 1-2" of sleet and snow accumulation is possible in the normally colder north and west suburbs.
Today (Thursday): We'll wake up to mostly cloudy skies across the area with a very slim chance of a few flakes of wet snow across our (far) southern suburbs. The balance of the day will be partly sunny and cool with highs around 40. By late afternoon clouds increase again and some light sleet or rain is possible (30% chance). Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: We'll have cloudy skies with a 60-70% chance of intermittent sleet and/or snow, possibly mixing with rain south and east. Most of the precipitation will likely begin after rush hour this evening and continue through the early morning hours Friday. Overnight lows will range from the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium
Keep reading for more information on this winter weather threat, including detailed questions and answers...
Tomorrow (Friday): Overcast skies at wake-up with a 70% chance of a wintry mix in the immediate D.C. metro area, with more snow and sleet north and west of the beltway and more rain south and east of the beltway. The coastal system responsible for this threat of precipitation should push off to the east by mid-day so any precipitation should end around this time. Mostly cloudy skies will linger for the rest of the day, though, with highs in the upper 30s. Confidence: Medium
What type of precipitation do you expect? It appears that temperatures will be at, or a couple degrees above, freezing through most of the duration of the event in the immediate metro area. The dreaded wintry mix appears to be most likely. Meaning, a blend of sleet and snow (sometimes more of one than the other), with rain mixing in at times, especially south and east of town.
Who stands the best chance for accumulating snowfall? Probably locations north and west of the beltway such as Sterling, Germantown, Clarksburg and Leesburg and Warrenton, assuming the precipitation does not cutoff south of these locations. These areas may see 1-2" or so of snow and sleet accumulation. A sloppy inch of sleet and snow is possible (50% probability) inside the beltway, with little accumulation to the south and east.
When will this storm start? Some spotty light mixed precipitation is possible by late afternoon. But we expect that the bulk of the precipitation will enter the region sometime after evening rush to as late 1 or 2am. The precipitation associated with the system will generally be entering the region from southwest to northeast; precipitation start times will vary accordingly.
If this system is mostly snow, will it stick? If some heavier bursts of snow and/or sleet materialize, some light accumulation is possible, even on roads. However, cooler surfaces like grassy areas, car tops, will probably get the bulk of the accumulation etc. In the immediate D.C. metro area we think there is a better chance than not that roads will remain wet (or at worst, slushy) as opposed to icy.
What will conditions be like in the wake of this system? Precipitation should exit the region by mid-day Friday. We'll be left with mostly cloudy skies and chilly highs struggling to reach 40. We'll have partly to mostly cloudy skies Friday night with lows in the upper 20s. On Saturday we're expecting the return of sunshine, but high temperatures will remain on the cool side: in the low 40s. Milder Sunday, but with rain likely with highs near 50.
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