Christmas forecast: Cloudy and unusually mild for DC region

It’s finally feeling more like winter — but don’t expect a white Christmas: December is on track to be one of the D.C. region’s warmest and driest on record, a trend likely to persist until the holiday weekend.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will see milder air come back to the D.C. and Baltimore metro areas following an early week hard-freeze. If you’re traveling out of state ahead of the holiday, expect mostly dry conditions, warmer daytime highs and little more than a passing light rain or snow shower across much of the eastern half of the country.

“Dry travel weather will extend from our area all the way to Florida and Texas,” Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said. “There will be some lake effect snow showers for Pennsylvania and New York, but no serious travel concerns.”

The main weather story across the country from Wednesday through Christmas Day will be a series of storm systems bringing heavy rain to coastal areas and snowfall to higher elevations west of the Rockies.

If your destination is along the West Coast later this week, plan ahead for flight delays.

“Several major winter storms are likely to cause significant travel disruptions,” Bell said. “All of the western hubs — Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles — will be dealing with weather delays and slowdowns through Christmas Day, at least.”

High temperatures in the D.C. region will be at or just above 60 degrees on Christmas itself, with a small chance for a few drops of rain early in the morning, but a mostly cloudy day overall.

Residents of northern Maryland, Pennsylvania and southern New York could see a period of heavier rain or snowfall later on Saturday into Sunday as a low pressure system ejects eastward from the Great Lakes.

For the immediate D.C. region, the last full week of 2021 will be a much-needed opportunity for measurable rainfall with several storm systems moving through the region between Christmas weekend and New Year’s.

The first 19 days of December ranked as the fourth warmest and the fourth driest in D.C. weather records going back 150 years.


Wednesday: Morning clouds clearing after noon. Cold and windy with wind gusts over 40 mph possible at times. Highs in the mid to upper 40s.

Wednesday night: Breezy evening with winds calming overnight. Frigid, with lows in the low to mid 20s.

Thursday: Mostly to partly sunny. Cold and dry. Highs in the low to mid 40s.

Friday (Christmas Eve): Mostly cloudy, with light rain possible after dark. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

Saturday (Christmas Day): Mostly cloudy and mild. A passing shower possible. Highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s.

Current conditions:

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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