- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2013

The D.C. area is facing its first serious winter storm of the season this weekend, as sleet, snow and single-digit temperatures make their way into the area.

The National Weather Service predicted a “wintry mix” for Sunday, the result of an eastbound storm that dumped several feet of snow on the Plains and drove temperatures into the negative double-digits earlier this week.

“We’re forecasting a wintry mix, which is freezing rain, sleet and snow,” Weather Service meteorologist Heather Sheffield said. “Sunday is going to be cold.”

Ms. Sheffield said the weekend would start with rain, and temperatures would continue to drop beginning Saturday — a far cry from balmy temperatures in the mid-50s on Thursday.

Rain is predicted to start at the end of the morning rush hour Friday, Ms. Sheffield said, “then pick up through the afternoon and evening and continue into Saturday morning. It will taper off Saturday morning and Saturday should be dry.”

While the mercury should still be in the mid-50s on Friday, as cold air begins to filter down from Canada, the temperatures will drop to below freezing Saturday night.

“The last couple days there’s been a southerly flow bringing up a lot of warm air,” she said. “Sunday morning, we do have a high of 34. That’s just around the freezing point. Going into Sunday night, the temperature will drop more.”

The cause of the temperature drop is a powerful storm making its way across the country and leaving snow, ice and Arctic temperatures in its wake.

Montana residents shivered through temperatures as low as 27 degrees below zero in Havre, Mont., while parts of Minnesota were buried under 2 feet of snow.

At least seven people nationwide died in car crashes caused by the bad weather.

Ms. Sheffield said the weekend storm wouldn’t be as severe in the D.C. area as it could be west of Interstate 95, which could see a “significant icing.”

“The waters are still in the 40s. That kind of acts as a warm body next to it,” Ms. Sheffield said.

A notice posted on the website for the Jingle All the Way 8k race in the District, scheduled for Sunday morning, stated that organizers are monitoring Sunday’s weather.

“Currently there are no major alterations planned for Sunday, however, we are in communication with our municipality partners and our health and safety providers,” the message stated.

Ms. Sheffield said Monday could be cold enough for snow flurries, but the worst will have passed by the end of the weekend.

“Monday it will get into the 40s,” she said. “Next week will be cooler than average because we do have a lot of colder air dropping down. But there’s no big storm on the horizon after Sunday.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports

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