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Posted at 5:05 AM ET, 02/18/2008

Forecast: Briefly Mild Then Cold Settles In

By Jason Samenow

Update (3:45 p.m.): A line of mostly light showers has developed, stretching from southwest to northeast across the metro area. Shower activity may continue through the late afternoon, probably ending by early evening.

For a part of today, spring will be in the air, but it will only be a tease. Colder air arrives tonight and will hang around through the week. Some wintry precipitation is possible on Wednesday as well as late Thursday into the weekend.


Morning showers then mild, breezy afternoon. Low 60s. Rain associated with a strong cold front should end from 8am to 11am (west to east). After the rain ends, the sun should be out within an hour or two. Because a lag between the time the front moves through and the arrival of cold air, afternoon temperatures will be very mild -- reaching 60 or so in many spots. By dark, the cold air will filter in with temperatures falling steadily to overnight lows of about 32 in the colder suburbs and 36 downtown.

Keep reading for the forecast for the work week, including a chance of wintry weather.


Mostly sunny, breezy, and cooler. Mid 40s. Flow from the northwest will usher in much colder temperatures. Though the sun will be out, temperatures will be a good 15 to 20 degrees colder than today. Fifteen to 20 mph winds will make it feel like the 30s for much of the day. Overnight, the winds will diminish a bit and it will be quite chilly, with lows near 20 in the colder suburbs to near 25 downtown. Some clouds may increase towards morning.

Cloudy but dry conditions yesterday afternoon as a metro bus nears the intersection of Klingle and Porter Streets in NW DC. By Capital Weather Gang photographer Ian Livingston.


On Wednesday, there's a chance of light snow as an energetic disturbance from the northwest pivots through the region. High temperatures will probably be in the low to mid 30s. Thursday should be cold and dry during the day, with highs near 40. The forecast for Thursday night through Saturday is very uncertain. Right now, I'll play it conservative, calling for generally cloudy skies and a 30% chance of snow or ice, possibly changing to rain. High temperatures should generally be in the 30s to near 40. Additional information will be posted in the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball later this morning.

By Jason Samenow  | February 18, 2008; 5:05 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Where's the Snow? Ask a Badger
Next: Tracking Two Small Chances for Snow


what is the max. accumulation for the thurs-sat storm?

Posted by: sam | February 18, 2008 6:27 AM | Report abuse

What happened to the heavy rain we were supposed to get last night? Looks like we only picked up a few sprinkles.

Posted by: WSL | February 18, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

What time can we expect the update in the SLCB?


Posted by: Snowlover | February 18, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

SAM: At this point in time, about 1-3 inches, but this will change several times during the next few days.

WSL: When you ask, what happened to the "heavy rain"? The answer is: the same thing that has happened to the heavy rain, two systems out of three for more than a year. I began to get "bearish" on rain potential a few days ago because of the far west track. I mentioned this late last week. The NWS and others continued to advertise .50-1.0 inch rain, simply because that is what the "models" continued to advertise. I received .10 inch. (no surprise), even though radar looked decent at one point last night. The models have consistently failed for more than a year when anticipating precip. totals., especially beyond 24 hrs. Potential systems, both rain and snow have usually been shunted to the north and west of our area or "dried out" when approaching because of predominating high pressure surface and aloft that acts as a firewall. This will change but no one walking the surface of the earth knows when. Mr. Henson commented yesterday about the "amazingly persistent ridge off the southeast coast".

The drought monitor reveals the result of this long term pattern as nearly the entire east coast south of the Mason Dixon line is either abnormally dry or suffering moderate to severe drought.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 18, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

You beat me to it WSL. "Rain, heavy at times, with possible thunderstorms"? My street is damp but no rain.

Posted by: NOTBM | February 18, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

This is a switch: For later in the week you guys are calling for a chance of snow and ice, maybe changing to rain, while the weather service is calling for a chance of rain changing to snow changing back to rain. In my short time reading this blog, I would expect it to be the other way.

As long as there is no ice, and only a small snowfall, I don't really care what happens.

Posted by: Murre | February 18, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim: Do you expect the same thing will happen at the end of the week? "Potential systems, both rain and snow have usually been shunted to the north and west of our area or "dried out" when approaching because of predominating high pressure surface and aloft that acts as a firewall"?

Posted by: weathergrrl | February 18, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I see one flake.

Posted by: missy | February 18, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

It has hit 70 degrees here in Arlington/Falls Church!

Posted by: MoSno | February 18, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nice day stamp!

Seriously though, 70F is 10-15F warmer than most outlets were predicting yesterday.

Posted by: Peter in Arl | February 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, forget our snow issues...last night was a total rain bust. We really needed that rain to pan out as we were getting close to some sense of normalcy with our rain issues here in Feb. We must get an inch of liquid Thurs-Sat this week. Oh, are we going to be in for a rude awakening in the spring. I had .05 in the gauge here in the LoCo bootheel. Unlike most of you, I have been living in an area that has been on water restriction since Sept. Its not going be be getting better anytime soon...I pray that the NAO stays/goes neg in March - I'll take cool rainy weather with a day or two of snow.

Posted by: Dulles ARC | February 18, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The temperature has hit 70 @ DCA -- front knocking on the door.

METAR KDCA 181552Z 22017G25KT 10SM SCT040 SCT230 21/12 A2955 RMK AO2 SLP007 T02110122

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | February 18, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse


We have a different, quite interesting situation mid. to late week, this time around.

Mid week, rather strong and cold high pressure will be to our northwest. On Wed. the upper portion of the column will be cold enough to support snow from a somewhat diffuse clipper like system moving over our area, but this should be light, probably a dusting to an inch, according to latest info., possibly more, especially higher elevations to the west.

During late week, the high will have shifted east, setting up a likely cold air damming situation for another system in the Thur.- Fri. timeframe, running up to our west, therefore increasing the chances for mixed precip. or freezing rain from that disturbance.

A third and last potential for Sat. that could lean toward snow from a southern system.

Bottom line: The period from Wed. into the weekend may be quite interesting and somewhat unique for this winter with several threats within a 4-5 day period.

64 degrees with westerly winds 15-30 at 11:30.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Temp up to 73 now at DCA! Looks like we will fall just short of the record (76) as the front is incoming shortly. Dulles already seeing temperatures drop on windshift to the NW.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | February 18, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I supposed grumbling about the this afternoon's unpredicted rain would be kind of pointless. Oh well, it happens.

Posted by: Murre | February 18, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Lots of these "downpour" forecasts, particularly on dance nights! By the time the weather gets here the "downpours" vanish!

Nonetheless we got a couple hours of rain yesterday afternoon with the frontal passage. Hardly a downpour, though, about two-tenths inch worth.

Posted by: El Bombo | February 19, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

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