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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/30/2008

Forecast: From Rainy to Windy

By Dan Stillman

Morning showers give way to whipping winds

You can ditch your umbrella for today after overnight showers end this morning. But hold on to your hat, steering wheel or anything else that could be blown about by winds that will become gusty out of the west. The winds and weather calm down for tomorrow, before the next weathermaker -- which may begin with some wintry precipitation -- arrives tomorrow night.

TODAY

Showers ending, gusty winds, becoming mostly sunny, falling temperatures. Overninght showers should end this morning, from west to east, as a cold front sweeps through the area and skies become mostly sunny by mid morning. Morning temperatures in the 40s to near 50 will fall through the 40s and possibly into the mid to upper 30s during the day as winds -- sustained from the west around 25 mph, gusts to near 40 mph -- bring in colder and drier air. Winds should decrease during the late afternoon and evening. Overnight, clear skies and light winds will allow lows to dip to the low 20s downtown, upper teens in the burbs.

TOMORROW

Partly to mostly sunny, low 40s, then increasing clouds and overnight precipitation. Skies should be partly to mostly sunny for much of the day, as the center of high pressure passes near the area, with highs in the seasonable low 40s. The late afternoon or evening is likely to bring increasing clouds as an area of low pressure begins its approach from the southwest. Then, precipitation is likely after midnight, and with lows near freezing it could start out as a brief period of sleet or freezing rain, especially in the northern and western suburbs.

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend.

FRIDAY

Sleet/freezing rain to rain, breezy, 40s. I'm confident that rising temperatures will eventually change everyone to all rain, but for the time being I can't rule out some sleet and feezing rain lingering into the morning commute, especially north and west. Precipitation could be moderate to heavy at times before ending during the afternoon. Wet and breezy conditions will make highs in the 40s feel a bit colder than that. Overnight, clearing skies and continued breezy with lows in the upper 20s to low 30s.

A LOOK AHEAD

Early indications are for a partly to mostly sunny weekend with diminishing winds, highs in the low 50s, and Saturday night lows in the mid 20s to low 30s.

The outlook for Monday and Tuesday is for temperatures to continue above average -- highs in the upper 40s to mid 50s is my best guess as of now -- with a chance of showers both days.

By Dan Stillman  | January 30, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Comments

first

Posted by: missy | January 30, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

During the past several weeks there have been many comments concerning the lack of snow. Many seem to believe that snowy winters were common during yesteryear, whether this be 20, 40, 50 or 100 years ago. Some seem to think that "global warming" has ruined our chances of heavy snow. There may even be a few that believe it to be a conspiracy of the Gods that it doesn't snow like it "used to".

After research of NWS archives, I have some surprising data to report. I used the Reagan National area of record. My research revealed that we had an equal number of less than 10" snowfall winters from 1900 - 1950 compared to 1950 - 2000, a total of 13 for each 50 year period!!

I then looked at the other extreme, those snow filled winters that many(including myself) dream of. Surprisingly, we had 3 of these from 1950 - 2000, but only 2 from 1900 - 1950!!!

LESS THAN 10"
1900 - 1950 1950 - 2000
01-02 9.1 52-53 8.3
02-03 8.2 54-55 6.6
12-13 8.7 58-59 4.9
18-19 3.3 68-69 9.1
20-21 4.8 72-73 .1
26-27 2.3 75-76 2.2
28-29 7.5 80-81 4.5
30-31 2.5 83-84 8.6
31-32 5.0 88-89 5.7
37-38 5.4 90-91 8.1
43-44 4.6 91-92 6.6
44-45 7.3 96-97 6.7
49-50 3.4 97-98 .1

MORE THAN 40"
1900 - 1950 1950 - 2000
04-05 41.0 57-58 40.4
21-22 42.5 60-61 40.3
95-96 46.0

Yes, other than 02-03 (40.4"), we have witnessed below normal snowfall during the past 10 years, likewise we had the same pattern for an approximate 10 year period beginning during the late 1940's, after which the winter of 1957-58 introduced a decade of BLISS for snowlovers in the mid Atlantic area. Will this repeat??

Nothing is occuring with our winter snowfall patterns that is unprecedented.

It is a figment of imagination, convenient recall or inaccurate information that predisposes us to this mindset.

Let your heart and mind be content.


Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 30, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim:

Your research drives home a good point. A lot of adults, particularly of the "boomer" generation, grew up during a period that was very snowy (the 60s, I think). Thus, they think of that as the norm, and we get lots of "in the old days" comments.

As for younger weenies, I think we all know what you say is true at heart, but we don't like to admit it, because it would be admitting that where we live is a terrible place for snow, all things considered. We are one step above the southeast - and that's not saying much.

With all that said, to me what is concerning is how *warm* winters have been of late. Snowfall is fickle, but temperatures should be much less so. Lately, though, we've had a string of top 10 or top 20 warm winters. And in this area, its just not cold enough to get much snow when we get an above average winter in terms of temp. Put another way, if we do not start having colder winters again, what is a fairly normal 10 year snow slump may turn into an unprecedented long-term change in snow climatology. This is already happening just to our south in places like Richmond, which, based on 30-year averages, is likely to become a single digit snow station when averages are re-calculated.

Posted by: Jim in Blacksburg | January 30, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This may be more user friendly:

REAGAN NATIONAL
LESS THAN 10" SNOWFALL
1900 - 1950................1950 -2000

00-01 - 9.1................52-53 - 8.3
02-03 - 8.2................54-55 - 6.6
12-13 - 8.7................58-59 - 4.9
18-19 - 3.3................68-69 - 9.1
20-21 - 4.8................72-73 - .1
26-27 - 2.3................75-76 - 2.2
28-29 - 7.5................80-81 - 4.5
30-31 - 2.5................83-84 - 8.6
31-32 - 5.0................88-89 - 5.7
37-38 - 5.4................90-91 - 8.1
43-44 - 4.6................91-92 - 6.6
44-45 - 7.3................96-97 - 6.7
49-50 - 3.4................97-98 - .1

MORE THAN 40"

1900-1950..................1950-2000

04-05 - 41.0...............57-58 - 40.4
21-22 - 42.5...............60-61 - 40.3
...... 95-96 46.0

Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 30, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the work, Augusta Jim - very informative. But just have to say - WOW! Look at 72-73 and 97-98. Just .1 inches of snow! Don't ever want to see a repeat of those seasons.

Posted by: Tim in Kalorama | January 30, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

That's great data on historic snow- it does seem the snow amounts haven't changed so much. Does anyone know of some studies about even earlier weather? I was surprised recently at Elenor C. Lawrence park in Fairfax, there is marker next to a pond saying that people used to harvest ice from that pond, several inches thick. Yet today it remains unfrozen through most of the winter. Also, anybody ever watch the videos they have at Jamestown depicting colonists trudging through the snow in Virginia's harsh winter? I remember asking myself when was the last time it snowed like that in Jamestown?

Posted by: CM | January 30, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Interesting statistics. My hopes are we are in a snowless cycle this winter. Above average temperatures does bother me. Thats my big question. Will they keep steadily rising above average? Just as Richmond may be recalculating their annual snowfall totals, has this ever happened before in place to our south (TN or GA) where they recieved more snow years ago but now have trended warmer

Posted by: ChrisfromVa | January 30, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

freezing rain thursday night into friday?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

CM -

I believe the colonial times were during the "Little Ice Age" or at least the tail end of it - so it would have been much colder indeed back then. I remember reading somewhere that Thomas Jefferson reported that in harsher winters, the Atlantic would sometimes freeze in Virginia out to the Cape Henry lighthouse. That's something none of us can expect to see in our lives, in my view. Its hard to freeze a puddle of water on the Virginia shore these days, let alone the ocean!

Also during the little ice age, the Thames froze in London every winter - and we know London is not exactly a winter paradise. The globe as a whole is simply in a more temperate period now than it was in colonial times.

Posted by: Jim in Blacksburg | January 30, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Question:

How much snow has to fall for the storm to be considered a "Big Daddy" snowstorm?

Question #2

Does the storm that has the possibility of hitting the D.C. area around Feb. 10th, have the possibility of being a "Big daddy" storm?

Posted by: manassas45 | January 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

manassas45:
That threat for a snowstorm around Feb. 10, has at least for the time being disappeared, which is not surprising.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | January 30, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm making plans possibly to stay home all day Friday if it's nasty during my morning commute time. I will have to go home after lunch to take a phone call at 3 PM so windy rain would definitely be UNWELCOME!!!

Haven't seen anything yet re Feb. 10 so I don't know if there's a "Big Daddy"/"Knickerbocker" in the works. Note to Manassas45: If it's on the GFS, please disregard. The GFS has been doing rather poorly this winter. That said, we're getting close by then to Presidents' Day, often the peak period for snow expectations in Washington. After Presidents' Day the higher sun angle tends to work against sticking snows. To be sure, when the snowdrops and crocuses start blooming in the lawn, the snows are shorter and less frequent.

Posted by: El Bombo | January 30, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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