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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 01/16/2008

Small Storm May Cause Small Problems

By Matt Ross

Snow eventually changing to rain ... but when?

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Thursday
Probability: 50%
Potential Impact:

First things first: This does not appear to be a big storm, or that it could turn into a big storm. We're talking minor accumulations at best. But around here, a light coating of snow at the wrong time can be as problematic as several inches. With that in mind, we are watching this storm closely. Here's how we see things unfolding tomorrow ...

Light snow should spread over the area by late morning, as a fairly weak storm system approaches from our south. By early afternoon, as some warmer air pushes up from the south, the snow will likely change over to a cold rain to our south and east. But the changeover may be delayed for much of the metro area, especially north and west of the District. Some sleet may also mix in during the transition.


With temperatures expected to be maily in the mid 30s, any accumulation is likely to be focused on grassy areas, sidewalks and cars. But areas that happen to see a burst of heavier precipitation could see temperatures drop enough to whiten road surfaces and cause slick spots. Places north and west of town, such as Frederick County and northern Montgomery County, would be at greatest risk for such accumulation. Areas that remain snowy the longest may see up to an inch of accumulation, especially on grassy areas.

Eventually, almost everyone should see a change to rain before precipitation tapers off overnight. But uncertainty remains as to how quickly the changeover will take place as well as how close temperatures will be to the freezing mark. Later today and tonight we should have a better idea of the timeline and specifics of the event.

We're also keeping a close eye on Saturday, when an arctic cold front may bring snow showers from our northwest at the same time a storm system approaches from the south. See Dan's post for the forecast through the weekend.

By Matt Ross  | January 16, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Coastal Storm Could Bring Snow
Next: Alert: Winter Weather Advisory Tomorrow



Posted by: Period | January 16, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

So why does it never snow when it's cold enough (LIKE THIS SUNDAY)?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, I just changed my car appointment from tomorrow to Monday, which I am pretty sure means that nothing will happen. LOL. but, better to be safe and work from home than sorry and have to drive up to drop the car off in the snow and then not be able to bail should the weather turn scarier than expected.

Posted by: Kim in manassas | January 16, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sigmagrrl | January 16, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Last time we got a tiny bit snow it took me two hours to drive from Reston to Herndon. Let's hope if we are not going to get any big snow it just changes to rain by evening rush.
Tiny bits paralyzes this area even more that a couple of inches. Go figure. :)

Posted by: Jenn in Reston | January 16, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

cap weather guys: i'm trying to get used to this new site. one thing that's confusing is that there seem to be several comment threads going at once. i feel like i have to check several places to read all the comments. i don't think that was the case before. is there anyway around this?

Posted by: walter | January 16, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the area by NWS for tomorrow..

Posted by: HEELS | January 16, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

winter weather advisory just posted by NWS, we could get up to 3" of snow before the changeover to rain and then a wintry mix overnight. My 3 yr old was throwing bits of styrofoam around, saying he was making snow! The snow drought has gotten to all of us!

Posted by: Christina in Centreville | January 16, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

When did you move hear? I liked it better at your own website where people read it for the weather and not for the spelling or the grammer.

Posted by: lg | January 16, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm just going to throw this out there...the only snowstorm of any significance that we've gotten this year overperformed by roughly 50%...

Posted by: Kalorama Park | January 16, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

walter -- Thanks for the commment. I can see how this might be hard to get used to. But in time I think/hope you'll see the benefit in the multiple comment threads. For example, comments on a blurb having to do with the latest global warming study don't have to be mixed with comments on the latest forecast.

The multiple posts also allow us to spread our content out a bit and clearly identify new information. For example, today we had the main forecast post up in the morning as usual, and then once the morning model data came in we posted a Snow Lover's Crystal Ball with our latest take on tomorrow's storm. Since the SLCB went up, comments have continued to flow in the main forecast post.

In time, I think our old users will get used to comments being active in more than just the top post. But we are also aware of the fact that some folks only have time to read so many separate posts and follow so many separate comment threads. So trust that we are taking all of this into consideration as we continue to move forward and improve.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | January 16, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

well, keep up the good work. i just don't want to miss any comments... as if to prove my point, i probably should have posted these two comments to the other thread, since they're not really snow lover's crystal ball comments. another thing i liked about the old arrangement was the listing of how many people were on line at a given time. again, keep up the good work, and i'll just have to adapt, i guess. a good snowstorm would sure help with that...

Posted by: walter | January 16, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Deep South Snowstorm 2008

Hi All! Snowy Hill here with Buster Dryground watching for the first flakes to begin to fly tomorrow morning!

Buster: Well I have to say, this has been a GREAT winter for me so far. What are we running - about 4 degrees above normal?

Snowy: Yes Buster, that's nice, but we're talking about tomorrow's snow. We discussed, earlier this winter, about how hard it is to get snow out of storms that track out of the northwest... well this storm is digging into the deep moisture of the Gulf and is brining it up our way!

Buster: Wasn't I just talking about warm temperatures?

Snowy: We'll have below freezing temperatures tonight, folks, and with the clouds and dynamic cooling brought on by the precipitation itself, it will remain as snow throughout the day!

Buster: What part of the words 'too warm' don't you understand?

Snowy: I'm looking at the calendar Buster, and it is mid-January. The average high temperatures are as low as they get in the year right now!

So, folks, get those snow boots ready and see if your boss will let you out at noon tomorrow! You don't want to get stuck at work!

Buster: They're more likely to be held late at work by some staff meeting than by snow.

I'll close it out this time...
Watch closely for snowflakes between the rain tomorrow morning. All your cold air will be sitting in the Ohio valley at lunchtime.

This is Buster Dryground saying there is always next winter. **chuckles**

Posted by: Snowy Hill 'n' Buster Dryground | January 16, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The WP should be grateful to have the Weather Gang on their web. It is one of the very few reasons I would every visit a Washington Post website ;-)

Posted by: Uncle Dak | January 16, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Snowy and Buster weren't lost in the move . . . I was worried!

Posted by: Southside FFX | January 16, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Snowy Hill,
YES I myself am all a-twitter with excitement, eagerly awaiting multinetwork Team Coverage of a bit of slop before our next cold rainstorm sets in.

I'm guessing Pat Collins with his silly, old, tired, ruler-in-the-slush schtick, Bob Barnard demonstrating to us how "dangerous" it is on some random sidewalk by sliding in his work shoes for us - right on camera! - gosh maybe even a real weatherperson standing outside the studio, talking about how we "dodged a bullet" or "just missed" or some such time-consuming cliche. Surely, reporters will flock to their favorite huge pile of salt somewhere.

There is also sure to be Doppler/NextRad/WideScan/Zoomthinngy 8000 aplenty for us, in full color and four-part harmony.

Also, you can always count on at least one mobile news unit doing a live standup from the Montrose Road overpass above I-270. This is an free, added bonus the news folks often provide for us - they create a needless visual distraction, which inevitably makes traffic worse, so that they can report this vast nothingness. Hey it's OK though, the thousands of us who always lose extra time off our lives are always grateful for the chance to be part of their story! It gives the traffic person more to talk about too!

The very, very best is when they send a reporter to some far away place like the Blue Ridge, or Podunk Gap WV or wherever, so they can show us a little actual snow. Lack of snow is an inconvenient - yet surmountable - problem when you hype snow.

Great stuff, Snowy Hill, thanks for the laughs! I CAN'T WAIT!!!

This might make for an interesting thread - what are your favorite DC media overhype moments? So hard to pick just one, I know...

Posted by: Curtis | January 16, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

HAHA Curtis! Ain't that the truth!

You left out one thing. The school closings. They're going to run that 4 year old bit with the interview from the guy from Fairfax County Schools who makes the call at 430 AM on whether school will be closed or whatnot. Then they'll mention every 5 minutes how they're just waiting "for the school closings to pour in" even though the snow hasn't fallen yet. Around 7:30, they'll give up cause the "regulars" will close or delay (Grant, Garrett, Page, etc.) and nobody in the immediate metro closed or delayed. During the Noon broadcast every 2.5 minutes they'll say "we're waiting for the early closings to pour in." Friday morning they'll have all the schools systems on the bottom of the screen with CLOSED or 2 HR DELAY and they'll run a story at the 5PM newscast wondering "if the closings were really necessary." I get a kick out of it every time it snows.

The other scenario is that the schools will wait until the roads are covered and everyone is rushing home from work to say schools are closing early. The news always has a field day with that.

Of course, I sit here and say all that but I'd love the days off seeing that I'm in high school, LOL! (realistically, I know that the odds are pretty low of having an altered school schedule, like they have been for snow all winter...but you never know, a dusting of snow can cripple this area for days)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | January 16, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Far away place like the Blue Ridge.....LOL, thanks for the mention Curtis! ;)

Posted by: Mike from the Blue Ridge | January 16, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And what about the TV shot where the camera is set at ground level to make a 3" pile of snow look like a foot?

Posted by: rob-rockville | January 16, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, there will be several closings tomorrow just based on the forecast.

Posted by: Southside FFX | January 16, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The reason it doesn't snow when the air is very cold on Sunday: The air dries out and there's no precipitation potential east of the Blue Ridge without some sort of moisture advection mechanism to our southeast. (If the moisture started to advect you can bet that the warm air will advect, too, and spoil everything!)

But you can bet that we might see 4 to 8 inches on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge from lake effect snow where it won't do us a bit of good down here in town!

Posted by: El Bombo | January 16, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What happened to schoolcast?

Posted by: jay-o | January 16, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Can I get some stats on when was the last time DC (not the surrounding areas, just the CITY) got more than 6 inches of snow? Heck, even more than 4? I'm getting so sick of these dustings or 1-2 inch nuisances.

Posted by: dcteacherchic | January 16, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

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