Temperatures plummet on wintry, windy Tuesday

WASHINGTON — Tuesday morning commuters will have to deal with wet roads
and wintry conditions — just one day after summer-like conditions.

Tuesday will bring a dramatic change in the temperatures. The highs reached 70
Monday, but Tuesday will remain in the 30s. The cold snap brings rain, sleet
and freezing rain with it.

A cold front swept through the region on Monday afternoon, and temperatures
fell behind the front, eventually ending up in the 30s for overnight lows.

An area of
low pressure rode along the front Monday night into Tuesday, bringing
precipitation with it. This setup generally makes forecasting more difficult,
especially determining what precipitation types to expect. That colder air
slid under
the warm air, making the precipitation more like a wintry mix of
freezing rain and sleet.

What to expect Tuesday morning

Just around daybreak and into the Tuseday morning commute, the region will
experience some spotty sleet and freezing rain, mainly north and west of D.C.
(Loudoun
County and Central and Western Montgomery County and points northwest).

Inside
the Capital Beltway, along Interstate 95 and areas to the south and east, this
event mainly
looks like very cold rain. But I can’t rule out some isolated pockets of
wintry mix around
D.C.

This is not looking like a major event. But because it’s expected during the
morning
rush, there could be some problems for commuters (as there tends to be, even
if it is just
plain rain). And we are really not expecting that much to accumulate at all
— perhaps just a glaze in some areas.

Surface road temperatures are above freezing. So, just like last Wednesday,
any frozen precipitation that falls will have a hard time sticking. However,
north and
west of town on some rural roads, elevated surfaces (bridges and overpasses)
and even exit ramps could have some slick spots.

futurecast.jpg

This in-house model of Tuesday’s morning precipitation includes rain (green) and a wintry mix (pink).

Again, I do not think this is going to be a huge event. But I don’t want it to
take anybody by surprise when our temperatures do not make it out of the 30s a
day after much of the WTOP listening area neared 70 degrees.

Warm air will start to erode the shallow layer of cold air and any wintry mix
will turn to plain rain by the afternoon hours. Most of the precip should move
north around the kickoff of the evening commute.

But I do expect there to be
some drizzle and fog around the region. There could even be some freezing
drizzle at higher elevations. Temperatures will rebound into the lower 50s on
Wednesday, but another bout of precip could be on the horizon for Friday.

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