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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/19/2008

Snow Lovers: Double Pleasure or Twice the Pain?

By Jason Samenow

We continue to closely track two potential winter weather events this week. The first event, tomorrow, should consist of mostly snow but probably not enough to shovel. The second event (or series of events), Thursday night through Saturday, has the potential to be a more significant snow and/or ice producer (leaning towards ice), but could also be a flop.

Next Two Chances of Accumulating Snow: Wednesday and Thursday night through Saturday

Probabilities: 60% (Wednesday) and 35% (Thursday night through Saturday)

Potential Impact for Wednesday:
Potential Impact for Thursday night through Saturday:

The Wednesday clipper (a fast moving disturbance from Canada) will probably have a lot of its moisture squeezed out as it crosses the mountains. Still, a period of snow is possible starting Wednesday morning and lasting into the afternoon. Because the clipper will be passing through during the warmest time of the day and the ground isn't that cold, its impacts should be pretty minor. Nonetheless, a few heavier snow bursts could reduce visibility at times and create a few slick spots. Here's my latest assessment of possible accumulations:

Dusting or no accumulation: 40%
Dusting to 1": 35%
1-3": 25%

A great deal of uncertainty remains for the late Thursday through Saturday period.

What's clear is that there will be some cold air to the north to at least initially support some frozen precipitation. But the same questions that I raised Sunday remain with respect to how much precipitation will reach us, what types of precipitation we can expect, whether we'll be dealing with one big storm or a series of smaller storms, exactly where the storm(s) will track, etc.

Computer models are going to continue to flip flop on this, but based on the overall pattern my best bet is that we'll see some snow late Thursday into Friday that will change to freezing rain and sleet and then drizzle before ending late Friday into early Saturday. Some accumulation of snow and/or ice is possible, but note this is a very low confidence forecast.

By Jason Samenow  | February 19, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Colder with Snow Threats Looming
Next: CommuteCast: Quiet Before the Clipper


Which nearby areas would get snow from the Thurs-Sat evenets?

Posted by: Uncle Dak | February 19, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

And here begins the "will I get snow at the corner of Main Street and South Avenue in Snowloversville, MD?" round of posts.

As Jason makes clear, the potential for these storms is either very low (Wed.) or very uncertain (thurs-sat). Hopefully everyone won't be chanting "BUST" if they don't get what they want.

Posted by: Southside FFX | February 19, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I swear the hope of snow is what gets me through March, then it's the hope of big thunderstorms.

At least there is a chance, right? :)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 19, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"my best bet is that we'll see some snow late Thursday into Friday that will change to freezing rain and sleet and then drizzle before ending late Friday into early Saturday"

Sounds like Friday may be a 'work from home' day.

Posted by: wiredog | February 19, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Okay I'll bite . . . "what are the chances for accumulating snow at One Craighead in Hidden Valley, PA, there is a ski resort located at that address". Really, just looking for some discussion. Is this Thurs-Sat storm more likely for the mountains west of us, is it going out to sea, or is it not a potent snowmaker for the mid-atlantic at all?

Posted by: Uncle Dak | February 19, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I have a "quote of the day" thing on my Google homepage. Here's one of today's:

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.
- Patrick Young

Quite apt, I think.

Posted by: SoMoCo | February 19, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll bite too! Friday is banana pudding flavor day at the DairyGodmother in Alexandria. What is the snow projections for Del Ray, specifically, how much will the 2300 block of Mt. Vernon Ave get? Should I cancel my plans to get banana pudding ice cream?

Just kidding. Hope we get some fun snow (no ice please) this week. Looking forward to the updates.

Posted by: MoSno | February 19, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you weatherdudeVA! Snow hopes through March then thunderstorms!

The 12z GFS has came in colder and wetter for late Thur. and Fri. after a clipper gives us a dusting to an inch beginning late morning on Wed.

The GFS now gives most of our area 1-2 inches of snow Thur. night, going to mostly sleet and Freezing rain Fri. morning.

The latest GFS would have most of the area in the mid to upper 20's Friday morning with highway conditions sufficiently affected from overnight wintry precip. to cause many school delays or closings.

The NAM is a little slower and weaker with precip. Thur. night. Given the performance of the NAM this winter and being only 60 hrs. prior to the event, I would have to defer to the GFS.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

But how much snow will I get at the corner of Elm and Main in Fairfax?????

Posted by: But | February 19, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

But: Between a dusting and 4 inches.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Rituals for getting Snow Days
Feel free to practice one or all.......

1.) Wear your pajamas inside out and backward
2.) Flush ice cubes down the toilet for each member of the family - all at once
3.) Sleep with a spoon under your pillow, spoon facing the headboard - some say eat an oatmeal cookie or lick the spoon beforehand - it's all up to you
4.)Do all your homework or get ready for that morning meeting (not doing it is the biggest jinx ever)
5.)Run round the table five times - It's difficult to determine if you need to do this clockwise or counterclockwise, but five seems to be the magic number for the snow gods to pay attention.
6.) Throwing Ice Cubes Into the Tree - Grab a few bowls of shaved ice and sprinkle them on trees and bushes around the yard.
7. ) Adopt what the folks in Michigan do - get busy singing the 'Heikki Lunta' song, a tribute to the snow god Hank Snow.
8.) Faithfully repeat before going to bed, "I want it to snow, I want it to snow, I want it to snow."
9.) Yell "SNOW DAY" into the freezer - the snow gods love this one :)
10.) Don't get excited when first starts snowing - it could change back into the DC/VA/MD cold rain. You don't want to jinx it !

Posted by: Jenn in Reston | February 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Whatever falls over the next few days, looks like temps will warm sufficiently to melt it all by early next week...

Posted by: steve takoma park mdz7 | February 19, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Southside FFX: Wow. When you stole Christmas, how did you and your mistreated dog fit all those decorations and roast beasts into that one little bag?

I think people like this blog in part because it keeps us informed on potential snow accumulation. Is that so wrong? Sorry we can't all be (or claim to be) the jaded meterological expert like you.

Keeping my fingers crossed for the white stuff!

Posted by: Scott | February 19, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, you made my day. too funny! The ice cubs crack me up.

Posted by: Anne | February 19, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse


Southside isn't trying to be a grinch. It's just whenever future snow is mentioned here, there seems to be a lot of posts wanting to know exactly how much snow they will get. Yet it's not even known if it will in fact snow. I think it's better to keep expectations low (but remain hopeful) until they get a better grasp on what might happen. In the meantime, take it in good humor - nobody is trying to be mean here.

Posted by: MoSno | February 19, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I like eveything about this forecast except for the change to freezing rain on Friday. I've had enough of that, thank you very much. Also **BLASPHEMY** no more snow days. [apologies to the charming rituals] My kid will never graduate second grade. Fauquier is gonna take back our spring break to get in required hours. Just let's have some lovely snow that won't turn the roads into a hellish mess ... ahem, you may now return to your regularly scheduled snowday dance ....

Posted by: weathergrrl | February 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

and MoSno- Banana pudding availability at Dairy Godmother is no laughing matter. I expect a full weather report for that block in Delray, estimated snowfall amounts and all, so I may make a decision as to when the best time to get some would be....

Posted by: Snowlover2! | February 19, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Will March be the first month of spring this year or the last month of winter? It can easily be both or either one.

Some, during the past couple weeks seem to be resigned to winter being over with the exit of Feb.

Here are some interesting stats. regarding 12 of the past 50 years when March decided to surprise us with well above average snowfall. Once every 4.16 years on average. These are the snowfall totals for March in the Staunton /Harrisonburg area of the central Shenandoah Valley during these years:


Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The central Shenandoah Valley? How dies that related to the DC area?

Posted by: steve takoma park mdz7 | February 19, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

i love seeing the slcb :)

Posted by: madison | February 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Before the winter is over, I think we may shake out one half decent snowstorm. 4+ inches.....NAO is trending negative for March, good news.

Alberta Clippers are not considered snowstorms in my opinion, even though a few occasionaly bring us an inch or two. Our classic snowstorm is southern storm tapping moisture from the GOM and scooting up into Mid-Atlatnic & bombing out off VA/NC coast while it stalls.....That would be best case scenerio. 1996 is last time I saw that happen.

Posted by: StormChaser | February 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim:

Do any of those stats you just posted include La Nina winters? Just curious. Thanks.

Posted by: StormChaser | February 19, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Did the groundhog see his shadow this year?

Posted by: StormChaser | February 19, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"'my best bet is that we'll see some snow late Thursday into Friday that will change to freezing rain and sleet and then drizzle before ending late Friday into early Saturday'

Sounds like Friday may be a 'work from home' day."

And yet people will complain if school are closed--because there is never a need to keep children safe or keep in mind that if schools are open, teachers do not have the option of working from home, or consider that the reason it was not so hard to get to work is because so many people did choose to work at home and there were no schoolbuses on the roads. Or that weather conditions might be different in another part of your county.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

yes he did see his shadow 6 more weeks of winter includes the first 2 weeks of march which could very well be active and cold

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes...the Groundhog saw its shadow

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | February 19, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse


Although rare, sometimes a clipper can surprise us, right? Didn't that one earlier this winter catch us all by surprise (I think that was a clipper)? I remember measuring 5 inches here in North Arlington. I know that is rare, but who knows, maybe another freak clipper may scoot in here this week. :-) Fingers crossed.

Posted by: MoSno | February 19, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, thank you for that, I'll do every one of those :)

weathergrrl, sorry about the snowdays in Fauquier. PWC could use some of those snow days!

I dunno if anyone knows the answer, but a few years back when we had the Presidents Day storm of 03 with the FEET of snow and schools were closed for a week, PWC tacked on 30 minutes to the end of each school day through the rest of the year. Because of this, we have mucho snow days now. How many snow days do we have each year now? I heard some teacher say that we can have something like 13 a year without having to make up any time due to the accumulated time from cutting out half-day kindergarten and the "half-day Thursday" for elementary schoolers. The county doesn't have it anywhere on their site, lol. Hopefully one of you guys will know.


"Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabulous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators,
Rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting a weather eye toward thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed:

"As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me.
Six more weeks of winter it will be!"

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 19, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse


I am taking the banana pudding flavor seriously, but I'm more concerned about next week. It's Orange Chocolate Shortbread ice cream day - my wife will kill me if I don't bring some home. Any snow accumulations I should worry about for Del Ray next Wednesday? lol

Posted by: MoSno | February 19, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

For tomorrow will Bethesda get 2-3 inches. Is there any chance at all??????

Posted by: d | February 19, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

i am going to have to go with twice the pain on this one. the clipper will come during the day and won't accumulate until you get into western Va, west virginia and northern maryland. the 2nd storm will be an overruning event and we will be 100 miles too far south and thus will get very little snow and some ice (not all that exciting). just my guess

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

You're invited to come see the lunar eclipse through a 12.5" Dobsonian telescope (and Saturn via a 10" Newtonian) tomorrow night in West Springfield.

The invitation details:

Numerous cloud forecast links are included further down the page.

Posted by: Bikerjohn | February 19, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with the Faquier County mom on snow days - too many can be a drag. I didn't graduate high school until almost July due to snow days (1994-95 Winter). That gave me a whopping six weeks to try to work full time and save money for my first year of college. And looking back, we had a lot of unnecessary snow days.

It happened again my Freshman year of college (which was a doozy of a Winter). They tried to make up class time during Spring Break. Fortunately, by then I could legally skip class :).

In short, snow days can suck even for kids and teachers. We just don't realize it at the time.

Posted by: Southside FFX | February 19, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

A clipper system this year would certainly be counted for a snowstorm in my book.
And yes, Southside is being a grinch, although I would concede the numerous requests for specifics that follow a SLCB can be exasperating.
But on earth could you leave out THE most important snow whammy of all? Thirty middle schoolers doing the snow dance with their crazy teacher to "Linus and Lucy" (the Snoopy song)...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

sorry I forgot to take credit for that last post...Rock on Snoopy.

Posted by: missy | February 19, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Good question.

2 of the 12 were La Nina periods during JFM. 1999 at - 1.2C and 1976 at -1.2c. One was El Nino, 1958 at +1.5. 2003 was close to my threshold of 1.0 + or -, coming in at .9+. The other 8 can definitely be labeled as La Nada.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 19, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

MoSno: No bad humor here...I seem to remember making a joke! But I disagree with you...that felt like a mean comment to me...attacking fun-loving snow lovers (pre-emptively) for presuming to ask questions about snow on a weather blog just didn't sit right with me. Sorry.

Maybe we all need to lighten up. Maybe a nice snowfall can help with that.

Posted by: Scott | February 19, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I was only objecting to the unrealistic expecations people place on this blog.

Posted by: Southside FFX | February 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I live in culpeper Va and the snow days issue down here is a joke! The way the forcast is sounding for friday it looks like its another day to make up up b/c the school board put no snow days in. Then you ask why? you get no answer! IMO it almost seems like there trying to make us go to school year round by adding days at the end of the year lol.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

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