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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 01/16/2008

Forecast: Coastal Storm Could Bring Snow

By Dan Stillman

Minimal accumulations possible; Super cold by Sunday

The coastal storm is usually a snow lover's dream come true. As low pressure rides up the Eastern seaboard, cold air streams down from the north -- a perfect recipe for a winter wonderland. Yet, for the second time in a week, a coastal storm is on the way and a lack of cold enough air means prospects for major snow accumulations tomorrow are slim, though minimal accumulations and some travel troubles aren't out of the question. Saturday may bring another chance of flakes, with bitter cold on track to arrive by Sunday.


Sunny, seasonable, low to mid 40s. High pressure settles into the area today, giving us dry and mostly sunny conditions with temperatures right around average for this time of year. We'll start out with a bit of a breeze (near 10 mph from the northwest) and morning lows in the 20s, before seeing the wind die down in the afternoon with highs in the low to mid 40s. Tonight, increasing clouds as a storm approaches from the south. Lows in the mid 20s in the burbs to near 30 downtown.


Mixed precipitation, overcast, mid 30s. Light snow may develop as early as late morning, with periods of light to moderate snow mixing with sleet and rain likely in the afternoon and into the evening. Temperatures near or above freezing through the day -- generally in the mid 30s -- should limit accumulations of snow or sleet across most of the metro area. But periods of heavier precipitation could push temperatures down to near freezing and whiten the ground, which could cause some travel troubles especially during the evening rush. Stay tuned for more details later this morning in the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball.

Overnight, precipitation should peter out with lows in the low 30s.

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend ...


Partly sunny, warmer, mid to upper 40s. Behind the storm, the atmospheric flow comes from the west rather than the north or northwest. Which means we won't see a dramatic drop in temperatures, yet. Actually, it'll be warmer than the previous day with highs in the mid to upper 40s under partly sunny skies. Overnight, partly cloudy with lows in the mid 20s in the burbs to near 30 downtown.


As it looks now, Saturday should start out partly sunny with highs headed for the low 40s. The real action could be during the latter part of the day when, as a cold front approaches from the west and a storm moves along the coast from the south, the winds could pick up and we might see some flurries or snow showers. More significant snow than that can't be ruled out, either. Those winds will be bringing in some mighty cold air, dropping Saturday night lows to the teens in the burbs to near 20 downtown.

The cold air settles in with a sting on Sunday, when it will likely be windy and wickedly cold with highs probably not making it out of the 20s, and wind chills stuck in the teens and single digits. Sunday night, colder still as lows could drop to the teens even in town, and single digits are a possibility in outlying suburbs.

Not as windy Monday and Tuesday, but still quite cold with highs somewhere in the 30s.

By Dan Stillman  | January 16, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Nice post Dan! LWX has me for 1-3 tommorow but not in the WSW, which is no biggie to me, makes me wonder though how a county to the south of me basically has the same forecast but under a WSW.
Also, you got my curiosity with this line "More significant snow than that can't be ruled out, either." I better go peak at the 00 and 06Z model suites ;)

Posted by: Mike from the Blue Ridge | January 16, 2008 6:04 AM | Report abuse

I have a couple of friends flying into DCA tomorrow evening from Florida. The wife has seen snow only once in her life... so I am keeping my fingers crossed she gets to see some more. Think it might hold up their flight? They are supposed to land at 6:40.

Posted by: Anne | January 16, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

News 8 is calling for snow at lunch, changing to rain for the rest of the day.

Posted by: Anne | January 16, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Hype is down, expectations are lowered so this storm will over perform....that's just how it it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

So my daughter is driving in tomorrow afternoon from Lynchburg...would there be more icy conditions that time of day from that area to the southwest of the metro or less? Think it will be all rain there by then?

Posted by: missy | January 16, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

And I totally love those Saturday/Sunday temps...brrrr rabbit!

Posted by: missy | January 16, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Of course all the chances for snow start to become more realistic STARTING THE DAY I'M SUPPOSED TO LEAVE TOWN FOR A WEEK AND A HALF. Somebody up there has it in for me...

Posted by: hobbes | January 16, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch for my area tomorrow, including 2-4 inches of snow and sleet,followed by freezing rain. My gut says this is on the high side of potential acc. I will stick to my thoughts from yesterday for generally 1-3" from the B.R. westward. East of the mts., I will also go with persistence from yesterday by saying you will probably begin as snow, transition to a cold rain and or mix. The mix continuing is more likely on the north and west side of D.C. with minimal impact to highways in most areas.

There is still a possible threat on Sat. especially from the JMA and ECMWF.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 16, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

*Nice rational, as always Jim. It actually wouldn't surprise me if we stay frozen (if not white) longer then progged....totally amateurish thing for me to say, but Geez the GFS gets that cold air out of here REAL fast.....we'll have to see if that happens.
*LWX point and click has me at 2-4, but LWX IWIN zones says 1-3....oy.....

Posted by: Mike from the Blue Ridge | January 16, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Watch! WOOOO!

Posted by: Chase, Luray (THE Valley King) | January 16, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The threat for Sat. that I first spoke of yesterday is growing with the 12z NAM, throwing some snow into the area, especially east of the mts. by late Sat. afternoon and evening. If the 12z GFS follows the NAM, the afternoon package from NWS will change from the "partly sunny" skies forecasted on Sat.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 16, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Dratted WAA!!! Too darned much warm-air advection tomorrow night will ruin this one for us! At least that's what Sterling's saying now.

Posted by: El Bombo | January 16, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on the move to WaPo--big time now! But I'm really missing the icons that ran across the top of the old CapWeater site that told the upcoming forecast for the week, day by day. Is a similar feature on the new WaPo site and I'm just missing it? I enjoyed being able to take a quick glance at the forecast temps without reading an entire post. Any way to bring back this feature if it's gone? Thanks as always for a great site!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous -- We hear ya. We're working hard to get an at-a-glance type forecast onto the page (within a couple weeks is the best guess right now). It probably won't be in quite the same format as the old one, but it will provide the same kind of quick, snapshot info. Bear with us as we work on this and other new features for the site.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | January 16, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Any models still keeping the storm for NEXT Thursday?

Posted by: Mike, Ashburn | January 16, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I take it that the old feature where we could post photos is a goner?

Posted by: JT | January 16, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Any thought of doing live webcam weather discussions so that questions can be answered real-time. Say 1/2 hour twice a day?

Posted by: Snowlover | January 16, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Looks like a "hit" down here tomorrow. 1-4" of snow, followed by some sleet, topped off with a bit of freezing rain. Winter weather advisories have been posted. Current GFS also shows us staying snow for a lot of this, with not insignificant accumulations possible.

I think we pick up at least 2 inches of snow prior to the changeover. Maybe more thanks to elevation.

Should be an interesting storm in any event!

Posted by: Jim in Blacksburg | January 16, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

12z GFS supports earlier thoughts for tomorrow.

It also keeps the trough axis far enough off shore to hold most precip for Sat. to the east of us except for perhaps some light snow for eastern areas in the p.m. Later model runs could be interesting for Sat.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 16, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

slcb still 30% for tomorrow? What about my Lynchburg question...still too far out to know?

Posted by: missy | January 16, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Already 40 at DCA. If the clouds move in early enough tonight, they may keep low temps tonight higher than expected, thus meaning less chance of any accumulations, particularly on the roads. Roads are already fairly warm anyways with the recent above normal temps.

Posted by: Ivan | January 16, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This is my first time reading your weather blog ... I'm guessing I'll get used to all of the acronyms - eventually.
Second - "We here you"??? How about using the right word - 'hear'. Just because it's a blog and therefore somewhat informal, doesn't mean you don't need to know proper word use.
Third and last - if it's going to snow in the Washington area, it'll usually do it sometime around the 20th of January.

Posted by: christine | January 16, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Gosh I miss the old comment boards...

Posted by: Jake in Reston | January 16, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

christine -- Welcome ... always glad to correct a spelling error when it's pointed out. The comment area is pretty informal. You may see folks throw around some acronyms and even a typo every so often. But we try to keep acronyms out of our actual posts (and spelling errors, too), so that anyone and everyone can better understand what's going on with the weather. And if we do use an acronym in a post, we make every effort to explain what it stands for.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | January 16, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse


Whoa Miss Perfection! Welcome to the boards but relax a little.

Posted by: MoSnow | January 16, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse


Since it looks like you're answering questions (and congrats for doing that) can you answer another please? Can you bring back the radar link from the old site? Weatherunderground, I believe. Much more useful than the Accuweather one you're liked to now.

Thanks. Long time reader gradually getting used to the change.

Posted by: Dave | January 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dave -- In fact, we have added it! Kind of hidden, but it's the "Animate Radar" link under the radar on the left sidebar. Thanks for being patient with getting used to things. As we've said before, we are working on getting an At a Glance forecast back on the page, and various other additions to make this the best site for your DC area weather needs. It will just take some time, so we hope you stay and keep checking back.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | January 16, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

More of a question - anyway that we could have one string of comments - for the whole Capital Weather site, rather than a string for each post??


Posted by: marlee | January 16, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Oops I meant "any way" not "anyway" in my post above!

Posted by: marlee | January 16, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm heading out of BWI tomorrow (Thursday) at 4 PM to Miami to catch a flight to Trinidad. What do you think my chances are of my flight leaving from BWI on time? Is the storm going to be directly over BWI at that time?


Posted by: David | January 16, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Having lived in the DC area all my life these are the sotrms that scare me. Anyone remember Jan 87 around the same time. Just a light dusting. Decided to use Metro and the bus to get to work and home that day. Big mistake it took me 10hours to get home to Burke, Va from the Pentagon.

I am already working on my 9yo nice to become a TV weather person in DC. Doug and Bobby make over $600k and are wrong 80% of the time. And they keep their jobs.

I have used a combination NOAA weather radio and accuweather for years and its been reasonably reliable. For long term winter predictions I use my rough collies and my herding instructors border collies.
The thicker the coat especially their roughs the colder the winter. This winter will contine to be mild our dogs are blowing coat now.

Posted by: dave | January 16, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

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