A major storm will blast through the D.C. area on Christmas Eve, bringing a risk of flash flooding and dangerously high wind gusts before Santa delivers a blast of Arctic air.
The worst of the storm is expected from sunset on Christmas eve until sunrise on Christmas morning.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
A flash flood watch will be in effect from Thursday afternoon through late at night for much of D.C. and surrounding areas of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. Thursday will be a weather alert day, Storm Team4 says. Here's a full list of weather alerts.
Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell says you should avoid travel during that storm if possible — only Santa should be out!
The first sprinkles of rain will arrive before noon Thursday, with steadier rain and more powerful winds set to arrive by 4 or 5 p.m. Highs will near 60°.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
By sundown on Christmas Eve, both the rain and the wind will increase rapidly.
Rainfall amounts could total 1-2 inches, with very heavy downpours possible overnight. There's a chance of some snow at the end of the storm but no accumulation.
There’s even a chance for some rare Christmas thunder.
Gusts could reach 40-50 mph and are expected to be strongest from 8 p.m. until early Christmas morning. That strong wind could fell branches, trees or power lines, a risk to any travelers who don’t have Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to guide their way.
The combination of wind, blinding rain and flooding should be taken seriously.
Santa will deliver Arctic air, so plan for tumbling temperatures and frigid wind chills in the teens and 20s on Christmas morning. Christmas Day will be the coldest in years and a passing snow flurry or snow showers will be possible.
The weather will improve over the weekend. Saturday will be sunny, cold and breezy with highs barely above freezing. Sunday will be sunny and chilly with highs back above 40° and a chance for rain will return on Monday.
Stay with Storm Team4 for the latest forecast