Don’t let the leftover Halloween décor fool you. It may only be Nov. 1, but Wednesday night is expected to bring an early taste of winter, with the coldest temperatures of the season so far prompting a freeze warning in the D.C. area.
Wednesday was already shaping up to be the coolest day this week with temperatures forecast to be in the 30s to 40s during the evening hours with wind gusts up to 30 mph. Highs during the day only reached around 50 degrees — far below the average high for this time of year of 62 degrees.
“Don’t be fooled by the sunshine this afternoon. Even though we’ll see a lot of it, it is going to be very very chilly,” said 7News First Alert Meteorologist Steve Rudin.
After dark, lows are expected to dip into the 20s and 30s making it easily the coldest night of the season so far and winds will calm down to 2-5 mph.
That chill has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a freeze warning for the D.C. area for effect Thursday morning from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“A freeze warning for the entire area come early tomorrow morning signals the end of the growing season,” Rudin said.
Ahead of the falling temperatures, tender plants should be brought inside if possible or otherwise protected. Homeowners should also take precautions to avoid frozen pipes both indoors and outdoors if they have an in-ground sprinkler system.
First hypothermia alert of the season
Mayor Muriel Bowser activated a hypothermia alert in D.C. from Wednesday night to Thursday morning and encouraged residents to get out of the cold and cover-up when outdoors.
The DC Department of Human Services expanded the number of beds available in overnight shelters, opening nine overflow sites throughout the city, including space at the Church of the Epiphany at 13th and G Streets NW.
“We are able to host 30 [people] here. … This is our second year … we have managed to fill every cot, every night throughout the hypothermia season. As soon as it starts, there are people who are lined up to be present in this space,” said Rev. Glenna Huber, rector at Church of the Epiphany, which has a 30-year history in helping people experiencing homelessness, including feeding the hungry every Sunday.
“The District of Columbia makes sure that every time that there’s a hypothermia alert and through then throughout the cold season that anybody who needs a shelter bed has a safe warm place to come inside,” said Laura Zeilinger, director of DC’s Department of Human Services.
The department sends out additional outreach workers during the hypothermia alert.
“We have a good sense of where people are in our community and we let them know that the weather is going to be cold, that it is getting dangerous and that there are places where they can come inside, have a cot, have a warm meal,” said Zeilinger.
The frigid weather isn’t expected to last for long. Temperatures rise into the 50s by Thursday afternoon and skies will be clear.
Friday highs are back up in the 60s and winds are forecast to range 8-12 mph. The weekend forecast trends dry with highs in the 60s to near 70.
For transportation to a shelter, call (202) 399-7093 or dial 311.
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Temperatures: 40s to 30s
Winds: Northwest 10-20 mph
OVERNIGHT WEDNESDAY/EARLY THURSDAY:Mainly clear, cold, with a freeze warning Lows: 20s/30s Winds: South 2-5 mph
THURSDAY:Mostly sunny Highs: 50s Winds: West 5-10 mph
FRIDAY:Mostly sunny Highs: near 60 Winds: South 8-12 mph