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Ahhh...The Ups & Downs of April

Josh Larson @ 12:00 AM

It must be April in DC: after this afternoon, we'll bid adieu to the 60s and 70s (and even 80s) we've experienced recently, to be replaced with temperatures some 10-15 degrees below normal for at least the next week. Along with this much cooler air comes the very real threat of a hard frost for the city (and freeze for the NW suburbs) this weekend.


Forecast Confidence: HighDay of transition. Expect mostly cloudy conditions during the first half of the day with scattered showers and thunderstorms around before noon. We'll look for high temperatures in the low to mid 60s during the early afternoon -- falling into the upper 40s by dusk. Expect partly cloudy and breezy conditions tonight, with much colder overnight lows in the from the low to mid 30s across suburbia to near 40 downtown.


Forecast Confidence: MediumMuch cooler. Expect plenty of sunshine early in the day, but numerous clouds will develop (due to the cold air aloft) by late morning -- turning the sky mostly cloudy by afternoon. We'll look for blustery NW winds 15-25mph with high temperatures in the low 50s, but feeling colder due to the clouds and wind. Mostly clear Thursday night with a light frost/freeze possible, as lows drop to the upper 20s (coolest suburbs) to mid 30s downtown.


Forecast Confidence: MediumMostly cloudy & chilly. Again, due to cold air aloft, we'll look for widespread "instability" clouds during the day Friday with high temperatures struggling to rise above 50 degrees. Friday night looks partly cloudy and cold, with overnight lows expected from the mid 20s across the 'burbs to the low 30s downtown. Bundle up!

The Weekend

For Confidence: High-Very HighBrrr! A reinforcing shot of cold air will push into the area on Saturday, bringing with it mostly cloudy skies and a chance of a rain or snow shower, especially during the early morning hours. High temperatures will only make it into the lower 40s, with overnight lows again ranging from the mid 20s to lower 30s downtown. Sunday looks to offer more in the way of sunshine and slightly milder temperatures, with highs in the mid to upper 40s and overnight lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s.

Pattern Overview

A very deep trough of low pressure aloft -- especially for this time of year -- will bring much below normal temperatures to the region (and most of the eastern US) from tomorrow through the start of next week. The first shot of cold air will come later today, while the second shot of re-enforcing cold air will likely push through during the first half of the day Saturday. It is with that second push of cold air that scattered showers of rain or wet snow (perhaps even accompanied by thunder!) are possible, due to the instability caused by the cold air aloft. In addition, there will be several nights over the weekend where a hard frost/light freeze is possible depending on where you live. ...And the cherry blossoms might not like that too much.

Image above: the GFS forecast model's representation (centered on Saturday) of a deep trough of low pressure over the entire eastern US, which will lead to unseasonably cold weather for the end of this week into the start of next week; courtesy


Next week's forecast
Forecast highs/lows: 56/41 (normal = 65/44)
Forecast precip: Near-normal

Forecast Confidence: High-Very HighMonday looks to feature mostly sunny skies and milder conditions -- though temperatures will likely remain some 10 degrees below average; expect daytime highs in the low to mid 50s, with overnight lows in the mid 30s to low 40s. Tuesday looks party sunny with highs creeping back closer to normal -- in the mid to upper 50s -- with overnight lows from the upper 30s to mid 40s. The forecast for Wednesday is for partly sunny skies with highs from 55-60 and overnight lows in the 40s. From this far vantage point, Thursday and Friday look to feature mostly cloudy skies with unsettled weather and showers possible. Highs will likely range from 55-65, with overnight lows again in the 40s.

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