WASHINGTON - It may still be October, but the first snowflakes of the season will be possible later next week in the western D.C. region.
A strong push of cooler air will arrive in the region during the middle of the week with a cold front, sending high temperatures from the mid-to-upper 70s over the weekend down to the low 60s by Thursday.
A storm system has the potential to bring some heavy rain showers to the DC region on Tuesday, particularly during the first half of the day. Tuesday looks quite breezy as well as the storm strengthens to the north.
Winds wrapping around the storm will turn out of the west and northwest of D.C. on the back side of the storm Wednesday. There will be enough instability and atmospheric moisture present that some mountain endured showers will be possible for portions of West Virginia later Wednesday afternoon and evening as an upper-level low passes the region, particularly westward facing slopes.
There will be enough cold air present in the atmospheric column that the highest elevation may mix with a period of light snow. At worst, an isolated coating is possible. The snow would not stick in most areas as ground temperatures are far too warm.
While many of us may scream this is "too soon," October snow is nothing new for the mountains to the west of D.C.
Snowshoe, an area that may mix with a little snow Wednesday night, averages about 3.4 inches of snow in the month of October and has recorded as much as 20 inches of snow back in October of 2011.
It would be much rarer if snowflakes were seen east of the Appalachian Mountains, but currently, there is no expectation of this as we enter the final days of October.
D.C. has not seen October snow since a very small amount fell after rain on Oct. 29, 2011. The cold blast the District gets at the end of October will certainly be the coolest air so far this season, but the cool wave won't be sticking around.