DC’s getting the wintry preview it probably didn’t want

A view of the United States Capitol building on a cold rainy day in winter.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/wellesenterprises)

An autumnal morning gave way to a blustery winter preview on Tuesday, with temperatures around D.C. dropping from the 50s into the 30s.

Snow, too, made a minor appearance in some areas. A mix of showers and flurries remains in the forecast for the rest of the night, and lows could dip into the teens.

The good news? Accumulations are not likely. The snow won’t stick around long. It isn’t expected to stick to anything at all, in fact, except maybe some grass.

The snow may get the headlines and Instagram posts, but the real news is the potential record cold that will greet the area Wednesday morning, when the temperatures will certainly be in the 20s. That’s a number that usually isn’t seen in the mid-Atlantic region until late December or January. In fact, along the Interstate 81 corridor, morning temperatures may drop into the teens.

Stay on top of the weather at WTOP’s Weather Center.

Expect much of Wednesday to remain frigid with some sun bringing temperatures into the 30s. Slight relief comes on Thursday as temperatures head back into the mid 40s after a below-freezing start.

Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell said that while the mid-winter-like cold relents a bit by Friday, expect cooler weather to dominate the area through the middle of next week, so keep those insulated jackets handy.

This first blast of chilly weather may be in line with Storm Team4’s winter forecast from Doug Kammerer, who predicted about 6 to 10 more inches of snow for the region than usual.

He’s predicting extended periods of bitter cold, especially in February and March.

“I’m expecting not just days at a time, but potentially weeks at a time, to be well below average and really cold. Of course, we’ll have some milder days, too, but some really cold air coming in,” Kammerer said.

Current conditions


Tuesday night: Isolated snow showers and flurries before midnight, then clear and frigid.
Lows will be in the upper teens to mid 20s.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny but near-record cold. Highs in the mid to upper 30s.

Thursday: Partly sunny and somewhat warmer. Highs in the mid to upper 40s.

Friday: Cloudy with showers possible to the south and east of D.C. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this report.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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