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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 02/19/2008

CommuteCast: Quiet Before the Clipper

By Ian Livingston

Some snow likely on Wednesday; accumulations minimal

Morning sunshine has given way to numerous afternoon clouds thanks to cold air aloft. A secondary cold front has now passed through much of the area bringing with it fresh cold air. Expect dry and breezy conditions with diminishing clouds as temperatures fall through the 40s for the commute home .

Tonight: Tonight will begin partly cloudy and temperatures are expected to fall into the mid to upper 20s across the area for nighttime lows. Clouds will increase before sunrise as an Alberta Clipper -- a fast moving system from Canada -- moves into the area.

Tomorrow: Wednesday will begin mostly cloudy as the Alberta Clipper begins to affect the area. Light snow -- with briefly heavier bursts -- is expected to break out across the region during the late morning and occasional snow may last into the early evening. With fresh cold air, thick clouds and precipitation around, high temperatures are expected to only make it to the mid 30s across the entire region. Total accumulations are forecast to be between a dusting and one inch for most towns. Some places, especially D.C. and south, may see no accumulation at all.

This system is similar in nature to one on December 5, 2007 that generally dropped 2 to 4 inches of snow across the area including 2.6 inches at Ronald Regan National Airport. Temperatures this time are expected to be a little warmer, the track is expected to be a little further north and precipitation is expected to be lighter. Although it appears we will not receive accumulations on par with December 5 we will continue to monitor the situation and update as new information comes in.

See Matt's forecast for the rest of this week into the weekend and the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball for in-depth coverage on wintry precipitation chances for tomorrow and later this week.

By Ian Livingston  | February 19, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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The 18Z NAM (hot off the press) is a little juicier with tomorrow's clipper west of D.C. and a little drier for D.C. and points east.

NAM is juicer for nearly everyone late week.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sue Palka had all the snow from tomorrow's clipper passing mainly to our north on her model projections last night. Translation: Don't expect too much in town.

Posted by: El Bombo | February 19, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The storm that we got hit with last Tuesday was supposed to pass to the North also. I would love to see a forecaster just once admit that they have no clue what's going to happen. They're wrong more often than they're right. Super dopler or no.

Posted by: snow queen | February 19, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Let me rephrase my Clipper thought. I do count clippers as snowmakers, even decent 3-4 inch snowmakers on rare occasions. Clippers are definately enought to enjoy and get the kids out of school.

I just have a hard time labeling it a true VA/DC snowstorm. Those were just my opinions, a snow "storm" to me is a large system bringing with it an abundance of moisture, usually comming from the south tapping in to the moist GOM, a falling low pressure (below 1000 mb) usually bringing winddriven snow during and behind the storm as the low strengthens off the coast. ...This is where you also get "thundersnow" very cool and erie to hear thunder during a snowstorm. If you do hear it, you know its usually accompanied by HEAVY snow...

Just curious anyone, Has there every been an occurance of an electrical "snow" storm. Cloud to ground lightning in a very intense snowstorm??..I figured I ask since there is "Thunder Snow"

Posted by: StormChaser | February 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

What is your final prediction on accumulations TOMORROW?? :)

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

StormChaser: I would be giddier than a school girl (borrowing the phrase from that USPS commercial on the radio) if we had thundersnow...LOL

I dunno about constant lightning like a regular thunderstorm, but I know there is a video on the internet of Jim Cantore going wild when he sees lightning and hears thunder in the middle of a blizzard. LOL. It's probably how I'd react.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 19, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

what are the max. accumulations for the late week storm. also will it hit early enough for possibly no school fri.

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Where's VaTechBob? I'd like to read his recent thoughts on this weeks weather. Any change of prediction? MoSno- perhaps they should list the Dairy Godmother flavors next to the 'at a glance' icons. Then we'd be set :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

oops- forgot to tag. The comment above is me.

Posted by: Snowlover2! | February 19, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

SnowQueen, We need forecasters, I think Cap Team does a great job forecasting and keeping us in the loop at all times, even when trends suddenly change. Hour by hour forecasters/meteorologists keep us up to date with any changes,warnings,etc... So what if it's not to perfection. Our weather has always been full of suprises at times.. Even the most advanced models and equipment cant call the weather at 100%. If you want the most consistant & accurte forecast. Move to Hawaii.

Posted by: StormChaser | February 19, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

other than this wed, thurs, and fri, accuweather predicts no snow/wintry precip in the next 15 days. We need weds to be at least an inch and thurs and fri. to be a MAJOR snowstorm

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll be VaTechBob's proxy...

No snow for D.C. Stick a fork in this winter cause it's done.

Posted by: Period | February 19, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

all u care about is no school

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Think we have it bad, this is the NWS forecast for Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
Thursday: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near -4. Wind chill values as low as -52. Very windy, with a northwest wind between 45 and 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What does the sky cover look like in the DC area for Wednesday night's lunar eclipse, which will be between 10-11 pm? Clouds or clear?

Posted by: Scott | February 19, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Scott: Skies should be starting to clear for the lunar eclipse tomorrow night, but it will be a close call.

d: the snow accumulation potential is given in this post. To repeat, a dusting to an inch N of DC, a dusting or less S of DC.

Sam: The storm could affect schools Friday, but it's still too early to speculate about amounts.

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | February 19, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Sam: As earlier stated, yes there is a chance of school delays or closings on Fri. With the amount of uncertainty no credible forecaster would seriously place a max. acc. on the late week system.

Latest GFS (18Z) is close to the 12z suggesting perhaps 1-3 inches of snow Thur. night followed by some sleet or freezing rain on Fri. Greatest change to the 18z GFS is now comimg back to the idea of another system late Fri. night and Sat. that could throw some wintry precip. into the area.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse


What about WEST of DC. (Accumulations)

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim, how do u get all of that info, also thanks for updating us all :)

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

That Mount Washington forecast sounds wonderful.

I'm lucky enough to get up there once, or twice (if I'm REALLLLLLLLY lucky), and it is just amazing. Everyone here should go. It is a whole 'nother world on top of that summit.

Posted by: Period | February 19, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

thanks for answering my question CWG! You guys are the best for weather. Another really good site (though not as good as CWG) is accuweathers "Meteo Madness" here is a link: also the NWS is good. However accuweather and weather channel are almost always wrong

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Thx again augusta Jim

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The Fri. forecast looks wintry :)

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

sorry, the meteo madness link was wrong, it really is

Posted by: sam | February 19, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

when is your next update going to be? :) GO SNOW! S-N-O-W R-O-C-K-S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Don't expect much snow Wed. 1.Clippers generally don't produce much snow in the DC area, not alot of moisture & they r fast moving. Mts generally drain most of the moisture. 2.Temps will probably b at or a little above freezing. 3.Looks like most energy will pass to the North. Storm at the end of the week, at this time, looks like the usual snow/sleet/rain scenerio. As has been the case all winter, the storm track looks to close & temps marginal. Hard 2 get a big snow with temps above freezing. Of course nothing is ever certain in weather & the this system could surpise, but wouldn't get hopes up 4 a big snow. Do expect some school systems 2 b effected on Fri. I do think after this weekend that winter will b done.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | February 19, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Went to the top of MT Wash. in July of 99, it was 40 degrees with sleet & wind chill of 27. Took the cog wheel train 2 the top, very interesting watching landscape change going up the mt. It's also the 2nd highset point on the East Coast, after Mt. Mitchell in NC.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | February 19, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I concur with VaTechBob. I think Friday's storm will be winter's last gasp.

Posted by: Ivan | February 19, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse


I really enjoy your indepth analysis of why winter is over.

Posted by: HEELS | February 19, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

GFS looks to bring more periodic cold shots over next 15 days. I don't think winter is over yet. I believe our chances have been and still do remain lower then usual for snow. March 15-20 is usually the tipping point for snow chances, meaning chances drastically go down after 2nd Week of March.

Posted by: cfromVA | February 19, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

VaTechBob - I also rode the cog to the top of Mt. Washington. It was July of 95. The weather at the base was sunny and 70 degrees. By the time we got to the top they were asking all hikers to take the train down due to the approach of "blizzard-like" conditions. Also, it may be second banana to Mt. Mitchell, but it has true alpine conditions and above tree line terrain. Way too cool!

Bob Ryan sounded truely excited about this clipper system. Seems to think we will get up to an inch (high confidence) in the immediate metro area.

Let's hope Friday we get more snow then ice. While any extreme - or not so blah - weather is exciting, ice is a pain in the ass. Much rather see white on the ground.
Think snow!!!

Posted by: PJ Mt. Vernon | February 19, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

SNOW!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!! AAHHHHHHHHH!

Posted by: rjm | February 19, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

As to severe thunder and red lightning, may I suggest the February 11, 1983 blizzard in Philadelphia. The thunderstorm activity lasted over two hours.

Posted by: Peter Roach | February 19, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

We have two different breeds of posters on this blog. Not saying either is more correct then the other To make it simple for us regulars, For Example.

Positive Posters: Augusta Jim
Negative Posters: VATechBob

I think its really a matter of opinion. Nobody has all the answers. Trends this winter have farvored VATechBob's posts based on our "snowless" trend continuing, not acutual forecasts. I belive he takes the worst case scenerio and bets on the negative trend. However it doesn't mean winter is over.

Augusta Jim gives us snowlovers hope. Even if it's a small chance. I personally enjoy Augustas posts for chances of snow regardless of the outcome. He doesn'/t say its GOING to snow. He gives us each forecast scenerios and looks at any trending factors that could lead to a snowier solution. As a snowlover, Hat's off to ya Augusta.

VATechBob, I must give you credit on accuracy this season. You have definately called our snowless trend continuing..Which it has...but your style "in my opinion" is too dry, however accurate it has been with the negative trend. Many folks posting on here are snowlovers, we all know thesad forecasts t this winter and low possibilites. We post here for hope, sorta like a support group for us folks snow withdrawels...It wold be nice if you could shed some light as opposed to saying "Winter is Over" that was a comment based specifically off the trend and not the forecast.

Posted by: Conman | February 19, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

You guys are generating negative snow energy with all the talk about winter ending after Friday. Can you lay off? Weren't we just discussing the importance of snow whammy rituals? Geesh!

Posted by: missy | February 19, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

For a clear, understandable forecast geared toward Eastern skiers, follow the link below. This guy knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: efi | February 19, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: GREG | February 19, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey where do you get the links for the local radars and weather charts??

Posted by: Joey DC | February 19, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, I go on vacation to Daytona beach for the races....when I left, there was ice on everything...and now the day I come back, I am looking at snow. LOL.

At least I got some color while down there....LOL.

Posted by: Kim in Manassas | February 19, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

What/s up with calling this thing an 'Alberta' clipper? Alberta clippers form in the lee of the Rockies in Canada/s Alberta Province.

This system formed hundreds of miles to the east of Alberta along the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

When does CapWx/s 'A' team come on duty?

Posted by: TQ | February 19, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Right now! Hello, everyone! I'm ready for duty!

:-P actually, I think I'm ready for bed.

Posted by: mcleaNed | February 20, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

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