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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 11/24/2010

Forecast: A colder, quiet day before Thanksgiving

By Dan Stillman

Showers threaten at times Thursday-Friday

* Doug Hill & Doug Kammerer winter outlooks | Big forecast busts *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *

updated at 10:45 a.m.

Today's Daily Digit
 
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

 

We'll miss yesterday's mildness. But dry travel weather is worth quite a few points.
 
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EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Mostly sunny, breezy a.m. Increasing p.m. clouds. Near 50 to low 50s. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers late. 30s to near 40. | Tomorrow: Cloudy with chance of showers. Near 50. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

For all the extreme weather affecting the West and into the Central U.S., conditions in the D.C. area will be about as quiet as can be for today - the big travel day before Thanksgiving. In fact, most everyone east of the Appalachians should stay mostly precipitation-free thanks to a large area of high pressure, though strong winds from New York to Maine may delay air travelers. Some showers may threaten for Thanksgiving Day itself here in the D.C. area and on Black Friday too, but neither look to be a washout.

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Wednesday): You'll feel the power of last night's cold front in the form of a much colder day today. Despite mostly sunny skies through early afternoon, highs only manage near 50 to the low 50s as clouds increase come afternoon. Morning breezes may gust a bit from the northwest before dying down by afternoon. Confidence: Medium-High

East Coast travel weather looks great except for those strong winds in the Northeast. The Midwest is a different story with storminess possible from eastern Oklahoma northeastward to southwestern Michigan and western Ohio, including places like St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Tonight: The mostly cloudy skies are courtesy a warm front working its way in from the west. The front threatens some showers as well, mainly after 10 p.m. or so. Areas north and west of the Beltway may even seen some non-accumulating sleet mix in late tonight, with overnight lows in the 30s (suburbs) to as high as near 40 (downtown). Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the Thanksgiving weekend...

Tomorrow (Thanksgiving): Any of those areas north and west of the Beltway that see non-accumulating sleet overnight should change to all rain during the morning. In general, we'll be toward the southern edge of precipitation associated with a warm front to our north. It's hard to say whether the entire metro area sees occasional showers through the day, or whether the showers mainly strike northern portions of the area. Cloudy skies cap highs near 50. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tomorrow Night: Thanksgiving night shoppers may catch a break between shower chances, with the warm front moving away to the north and a cold front still well off to the west. A breeze from the south keeps the air mild for a late-November night - lows in the mid-40s to near 50. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

It doesn't look like an all-day soaking rain. But some gusty showers are possible through much of the day on Friday as the cold front marches across the area from west to east. So you'll probably want to keep the umbrella close, as it could be dry on your way into a store but raining on your way out. Highs make the low-to-mid 50s or so, but likely drop quickly into and through the 40s late in the afternoon and toward evening as skies clear. Confidence: Low-Medium

Friday night is breezy and one of the chilliest nights of the season so far. Lows sink to the low 30s downtown and mid-to-upper 20s in the burbs. Confidence: Medium-High

Highs top out around 50 on both Saturday and Sunday. But Saturday's should be a less comfortable 50 with gusty breezes from the west and partly cloudy skies, compared to Sunday's light winds and mostly sunny skies. Saturday night lows bottom in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Medium

By Dan Stillman  | November 24, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Comments

Accuweather is forecasting 2.5+ inches of rain next Tuesday (11/30). Is that accurate?

Posted by: FH59312 | November 24, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

@FH59312

Well, it's an accurate representation of what one model is saying nearly a week in advance. What that equates to in real life is anyone's guess. If, as the GFS model predicts, low pressure develops along a cold front that is estimated to be approaching around that time, then an inch or more of rain is plausible. Right now, can't say with much confidence how likely or not likely that is to happen. We'll be watching it though.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Interesting twist in the forecast from NWS. This is for Northern MoCo with elevation of 610ft:

"Tonight: Rain likely, possibly mixed with sleet, mainly after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. "

How realistic is it to have some sleet tonight or tomorrow morning? The HWO covers the most of the area... all the way to the bay, but stipulates 'higher elevations'.

Pure curiosity on my part.

Posted by: dprats21 | November 24, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

dprats21 - Dan is welcome to weigh in, but it would be sleet for a very brief time, if at all. And I dont believe 610ft will be high enough to align with their high-elevation warning. More likely than not, you will be fine and not notice the sleet --but this is one meteorologist's opinion :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

What are the warmest and coldest Thanksgiving Days hereabouts. For highs, I've seen everything from the 70s to the 30s over the years. (I don't recall the exact high in 2007, maybe 77??, but it was a toasty Turkey Day.)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | November 24, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@dprats21

I agree with Camden. North and west of the Beltway, sleet may briefly mix in late tonight/early tomorrow morning during the onset of precipitation. Shouldn't have any material impact.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | November 24, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1--below is copied from NWS Public Information Statement issued 11:38. Maybe you've already seen it? (Their formatting retained.)

Now for Washington...

Since Thanksgiving is a floating Holiday occurring on the fourth
Thursday of the month instead of a set day... the day ranges from
the 22nd to the 28th based on current law. Over the past 30
years... the average high of Thanksgiving day has been 52.9 degrees
with an average low of 37.2 degrees. That is deceiving however...
because the range of weather has been broad.

Over the past thirty years... there have been just as many thanksgivings
in the 60s as in the 40s. The rare extremes are days with highs in
the 30s or 70s... which have been just a handful over the past three
decades.

The highest maximum temperature was 77 degrees in 2007... and the coldest
Thanksgiving in the past 30 years was in 1996. In 1996... the morning low was
26 degrees... and the afternoon high was only 35 degrees. That 26 degree
temperature was the coldest temperature of that month and was part of a four
day cold snap when temperatures did not exceed 45 degrees.

Statistically... about one in every three thanksgivings features measurable
rain. But snow falls on only one out of ten thanksgivings... and is almost
always non-accumulating. Just one year in the past thirty had measurable snow
on Thanksgiving... 1989.

A couple of days before Thanksgiving 1989... a cold front moved through and
caused temperatures to drop into the 20s and 30s. The cold front stalled over
the southeastern states. Low pressure formed along the front and passed just
south of the area. During Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving day... 3.5 inches
of snow fell in Washington... 1.9 inches of which fell on Thanksgiving day
itself.

From that point through the end of the year... temperatures never recovered.
The year ended as the third coldest December and featured nine additional
inches of snow. In fact... much of the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas that
year had snow on the ground. That winter was quite volatile in terms of
temperatures... as the cold December ended with a warm January.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | November 24, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Tinkerbelle, I hadn't seen the NWS material, so thanks very much for posting. Have a nice Thanksgiving; tomorrow, I'm traveling out to Oakton, which I'm told is somewhere between Arlington and West Virginia. ; ))

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | November 24, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Camden/Dan: Thanks. It seemed either the local forecast and the HWO posted were out of sync, or 'higher elevation' took on a whole new meaning and I missed the memo. Thanks again.

Posted by: dprats21 | November 25, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

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