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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Forecast: Sun and cold back in town

By Matt Rogers

Variable week with a rainy weekend looming

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


The sun helps, but the chilly breezes from the north don't.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny skies, breezy. 45-50. | Tonight: Mostly clear and cold. 28-33. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny. 55-60. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Welcome to the first day of meteorological spring! It certainly feels like spring-time transition with temperatures bouncing every day. Today is cold, tomorrow is mild, Thursday is cold, and Friday is in-between. Yeah, it's spring. Unfortunately, the weekend is looking messy, but there is a chance that we could salvage Saturday (see below). But my big question- with sunshine and cold winds today, is March coming in like a lamb or a lion? Or maybe a lion in lamb's clothing?

Snow Potential Index: 0 → - No threats on the horizon and our normal low at National Airport is now 33 degrees.

The SPI is a daily assessment of the potential for accumulating snow for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter

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 (Tuesday): Weather systems are moving fast and furious across North America and that means we see frequent air mass changes and significant storminess every 4-5 days. So despite the colder weather today, we should try to enjoy the sunshine. Look for highs in the mid-40s to near 50 today with cold winds from the north up to 15-25 mph. The wind chill makes it feel like the 30s for most of the morning. Mostly sunny skies help though. Confidence: High

Tonight: Mostly clear skies and calming winds allow temperatures to drop into the upper 20s in the outer suburbs to the low-to-mid 30s in the city. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): A dry cold front sweeps the area in the mid-to-late afternoon. Partly sunny skies and winds from the west allow us to pop into the milder mid-to-upper 50s before colder air returns in the evening. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The coldest night of the week is seen here with clearing skies and evening breezes fading late. Lows should reach down to the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Medium-High


Thursday continues the colder theme with highs in the 40s under mostly sunny skies and accompanied by very light breezes. Partly cloudy skies on Thursday night means more lows in the 20s, but they should be a few degrees warmer than Wednesday night due to the extra clouds. Confidence: Medium

Friday sees some temperature recovery, but not much. Warm air tries to return, but high pressure over New England hangs tough a bit longer so that we see an influx of high clouds that filters the sun. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s. Mostly cloudy skies on Friday night too with lows in the 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

The first weekend of meteorological spring is not looking all that great right now. I believe there is a chance we could salvage Saturday if a warm front (with showers) can lift north of us by around midday. That could mean partial sunshine and highs heading into the 60s. However, if it stalls (and it very well could), then we are stuck in the 50s with more clouds and probably more showers. Saturday night and Sunday look cloudy and wet with lows in the 40s and highs in the 50s. The rain could be heavy on Sunday. Confidence: Low

By Matt Rogers  | March 1, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Weather image of the day: Red snow moon


Ahhhh...meteorological spring. Welcome, my friend. And only 19 days til the real thing!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 1, 2011 7:30 AM | Report abuse

What was the low temp at DCA this winter? thanks in advance...

Posted by: weatherdude | March 1, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Weatherdude, the lowest DCA temperature this winter was hit twice in January: 17F.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | March 1, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

i see 0" of snow on the GFS for the next 16 days... sigh....

the ground is very soft and soggy. this site tells us we are -2.74" of precip since december 1.

so, does anybody know how much "behind" we were as of december 1? i.e., what's our total deficit? or, when was the last time we were "even" on precip? and how much "behind" are we since then?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 1, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Walter.
But we had one decent snowstorm. Some years the area completely strikes out. They can't all be like Feb 2010.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | March 1, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I saw my first robin this morning, that eternal harbinger of spring... I'm going with ThinkSpring and anyone else with spring fever. :)

Posted by: MKoehl | March 1, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

No connection to spring, but I saw a handful of bright, vibrant red cardinals alaong the C&O canal this morning between Georgetown and Fletcher's.

Posted by: marathoner | March 1, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It's met spring...but still feels too much like winter...and that darned groundhog spoiled my hopes of a cold met winter across the board...darn it, February was warmer than normal!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 1, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

You all planning on heading outside for lunch and sunshine? Are you comfortable enough to do so?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 1, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Walter, since Nov 1 we have a 30% deficient in prec. We've had 8.37" of prec., average is 11.90".
For Dec thru Feb we r down 33%. We've had 6.25" of prec., & 9.27 is average.
Oct was the last mon. with above prec.
This winter finished -1 degree below average.

Posted by: VaTechBob | March 1, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Walter, sorry I missed your question. Check out the latest Drought Monitor to see that VA is still in a moderate drought; however, MD & near DC... doing much better, relatively. Minor drought only.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 1, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It would appear that everyone has completely written off the rest of the snow season, which does include the month of March.

I would not however give the snow index a rating of 0. The GFS has been showing both the coastal storm and sufficient cold air for a potential significant snow event in the Sunday night/Monday timeframe.

As usual, this far ahead of time the odds don't favor a snow event, but the POTENTIAL is there.

One reason that snow lovers should not abandon all hope is that the source region for cold air is now extremely cold. Mid day temp today at Williston, ND is 6 below and it's 20 below in parts of Saskatchewan.

The 500 mb block over NW Canada will ensure that unusually cold air will be available if we are fortunate enough to get the storm to develop and have it take the right track.

Posted by: frontieradjust | March 1, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@frontier adjust,

It will be a rain event.

Posted by: weatherdude | March 1, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Putting away the shovels, etc until Dec 5

Posted by: TBAlexandria | March 1, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

How can there be a substantial snow event when, as per the National Weather Service the high for DC on Sunday is supposed to be 57 (with rain) and on Monday 52 (partly sunny), with a low of 36 in between?

I presume the forecasters have taken the potential tracks of storms and cold air into account, so there would have to be a massive and unexpected shift to drop the high the 20 or 25 degrees lower for snow.

Posted by: mkarns | March 1, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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