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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/11/2008

Forecast: February Frigidness Fleeting

By Jason Samenow

Cold snap here today, gone tomorrow

The upcoming weather epitomizes the whole winter: cold air drops by paying only a brief visit before milder air returns just in time for the next storm. Winter weather haters rejoice and snow lovers are in fits.


Sunny and cold. 32-36. Some of the winter's coldest temperatures start the day with bitter low teens in most suburban locations (even some high single digits towards Frederick and Leesburg) and mid teens downtown. Sunshine will help temperatures recover to just above freezing in most spots by late afternoon. Overnight, it cools back down to the low 20s downtown, and into the upper teens outside the beltway. Skies will be generally clear, with some clouds increasing towards morning.


Mostly cloudy, chance of rain late. 41-44. A storm will develop to the west. Out ahead of it, winds will become southerly in our area, warming temperatures about 10 degrees relative to today. Some light precipitation may develop by afternoon, but more likely in the evening. By then most places will be well above freezing, meaning rain will be the most likely form of precipitation. If the precipitation moves in earlier than expected in outlying areas to the north and west, there's a slight chance of a wintry mix in those areas. Overnight, periods of rain are likely everywhere, with lows 35-40.

Keep reading for a look ahead to the forecast through the weekend...


Morning rain, afternoon clearing. 45-49. The storm will pull away Wednesday morning, with rain ending in most spots by mid-morning. Clouds will gradually diminish in the afternoon as winds pick up a bit with seasonably mild temperatures in the upper 40s.

A crescent moon after sunset Saturday in Stafford, Va. Contributed by Capital Weather Gang reader David Abbou.


A relatively quiet period of weather is likely Thursday through Saturday, with dry conditions and high temperatures around 50 degrees (overnight lows in the upper 20s in outlying areas, low 30s inside the beltway). On Sunday, there's a chance of rain, with highs in the 40s.

By Jason Samenow  | February 11, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Quite an interesting 7 days ahead weatherwise and otherwise.

First system has a slight frozen potential at the onset but very dry air in place will result in mostly virga. Tailend also has some lingering precip. that could change to snow before ending.

Re. next weekend, I have looked at the ECMWF, DGEX,GFS,JMA and GGEM this morning. They all agree on a storm, but are sorting out timing and track details. Also in question will be amount and depth of cold air. Solutions ranging from plain rain, freezing rain,sleet and or snow are out there. No model or wise human has high forecast confidence at 5 to 7 days.

The ensemble NAO projection indicates we may be dipping to a negative value for the first time since the middle of December by the end of this week. This could ultimately impact the final solution.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 11, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim:

Good morning! I think you have covered every possible solution regarding the models. Let's hope for snow!

Posted by: Greg | February 11, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I need a professional opinion. Are we here in DC *really* going to have an entire winter with no significant snow? (I don't count the December 2 inches we got, if that.)

Posted by: dcteacherchic | February 11, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Don't call me a hater! Call me a 40-degrees-and-raining-lover.

You don't have to shovel rain, no schools are delayed because of rain, hardly anyone falls and breaks a bone or has a heart attack because of rain.

We do have winters without snow here; I want to say 97-98, maybe? As a teacher, I don't usually remember snow that falls on weekends, though.

Posted by: dynagirl | February 11, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Some layout problems on the site this morning. I see the at-a-glance forecast has returned. Good news for those who missed it.

However, the posts are not starting until below all the stuff in the left column. Lots of wasted white space.

I'm using IE7, XP SP2.

Just checked Firefox. Looks fine there.

Posted by: NoVaSnow | February 11, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Cancel like previous comments. It's fixed now.

Posted by: NoVaSnow | February 11, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I am an avid skier who tries to get to Whitetail or Liberty most weekends through late February as conditioning for an annual 7-10 day trip to Colorado in early March. Even with valiant snowmaking efforts the conditions have been lackluster and ever Snowshoe is far from being great.

Skiing in this area tends to shut down by mid-March as the weather warms up, but the mountains rely on having a sizable snowpack (real or artificial) heading into late February. Does that seem realistic this year, or are we looking at a cycle of a few coldish days followed by mild temps for the next 4-6 weeks? If so, I might just try to make my Colorado trip earlier since there is not much point staying around here.

Posted by: AlwaysAnEagle | February 11, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse


As a former teacher, I feel your pain. It's a long haul from Christmas to Easter without a break. BUT...I can still walk home from the metro, I have not suspended hiking for the winter at all, and I can still go for a run in the morning.

Posted by: Sara in Oakton | February 11, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

AlwaysAnEagle: Our winter outlook calls for a colder than average March. But colder than average in March isn't that cold -- so these local resorts are facing an uphill battle especially given the thin bases now. I don't see the situation improving a lot unless we/they get a big snowstorm -- which is a low probability.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | February 11, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

It's great to see the "At a glance" forecast back. Now I can resume using CapWeather as my one stop weather shop :-)

You can also count me in as one who prefers the mild winter without much snow. Snow is pretty while it's falling but after that it is just a pain.

Posted by: ShawnDC | February 11, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

As mentioned above, the At a Glance is clearly new this morning, as any kinks bubble up through the system. The IE layout bug should be fixed (was a factor from the progressive rollout). Let us know if you have any other issues, and expect a post describing the new features in the near future.

Posted by: Jamie Jones, Capital Weather Gang | February 11, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Looks great Jamie. :)

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | February 11, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

yep, I am heading out West at end of winter to go skiing. At least I'll be able to see what snow looks like again..

I have low confidence in snow remainder of winter here. I hope Im wrong. Maybe March we will get a better late then never hit. February looks too warm.

GFS run just picked up a huge storm engulfing east coast on 300 hour....Coverage area looks impressive but too warm...wouldnt it be nice if all that was snow and long term models were reliable. I hate speculating so far out, but what else is there to speculate about this winter???

Posted by: ChrisFromVA | February 11, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim: I keep asking this but no one has answered so far. How would a negative NAO compare to the strength of the La Nina effect on the weather? Since La Nina conditions are persisting, is the NAO going negative relevant, just as relevant or irrelevant? Which has a more powerful impact?

Posted by: missy | February 11, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Another "slam! bam! thank-you-ma'am!" cold spell with little or no ACCUMULATION to show for it.

Posted by: El Bombo | February 11, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Cap Team, Is there any way you could add spellcheck to your blog. I know it would be a "lazy" benifit to us bloggers, I am not an english major so I usually type fast then spell check. Many times, I catch errors I made after posting.

When sending emails and IM, there is usally an option to spellcheck our emails and comments....

Just a suggestion. If its too difficult, no worries.

Posted by: ChrisfromVA | February 11, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

winter is back? it's so cold out today!!!

Posted by: madison | February 11, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse


Im not sure this answers your question, here is a link explaining NAO. I just recently figured out how negative/positive NAO affect our weather. It doesn't say how it compares to La Nina or which is more powerful. Negative trending NAO increases our odds for snow.

Here is a link:

Posted by: ChrisfromVA | February 11, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Cool site..thanks Chris

Posted by: missy | February 11, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

A negative NAO and La Nina are apples and oranges, therefore two completely different beasts in opposition. A La Nina encourages a strong sub tropical ridge. A negative NAO usually occurs when this ridge is weak. A negative NAO blocks the prevailing westerlies in the arctic region resulting in cold air encouraged to move south over eastern North America.

Re. your question: which has a more powerful impact? One usually negates the other. A wonderful example is the winter of 95-96. The NDJ Enso conditions that winter were -.8C compared to NDJ Enso conditions this winter of -1.4. The NAO was persistently negative during that La Nina winter. It was a truly historical winter regarding heavy snowfall with some parts of the Mid Atlantic witnessing the snowiest winter in over a hundred years!!

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yay for the weather at a glance!

It hit 13 here this morning, I was loving it. I went out into the parking lot this morning to the sound of cars turning over but not starting. Ahh, winter rears its head briefly. Now, where did I put my shorts?

Also, I dunno if this is happening with anyone else, but at my school when I try to preview/post a comment (and sometimes when I click the "read more" link), the browser closes without warning and I have to click into IE again, retype the URL, and hope I don't get kicked out again. I tried posting a comment 4 times this morning but the browser kept crashing when I clicked "submit." Is this happened with anyone else, or is it just probably our wonderful school computers' security settings not letting us do anything?

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 11, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Currently 26 in B-More and I have been reading some postings on other websites about possible mix precip tomorrow starting out as snow due to colder than previous thought temperatures for the area. What do you guys think?

Posted by: HEELS | February 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Currently (3:17 pm) only 26 in Gaithersburg - NWS is still calling for rain tomorrow, but WBug is indicating freezing rain. With the temps lagging the forecast for today, what do the experts here think about tomorrow afternoon ?

Posted by: MDScot | February 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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