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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 02/22/2008

Update: Slow Improvement Inside the Beltway

By Jason Samenow

Subfreezing temperatures and ice remain N & W

Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 10 p.m. tonight

School Closings | Traffic

Federal Government Status: Open under unscheduled leave policy

After several hours of icing, many (but not all) areas inside the beltway are near freezing. The rise in temperature comes a bit earlier than expected due to light southerly winds. While a Winter Storm Warning officially remains in effect [Update: National Weather Service has cancelled the Winter Storm Warning as of 12:48 p.m., and replaced it with a Winter Weather Advisory.], ice will turn to plain rain in the District and close-in suburbs over the next couple of hours (where it already hasn't). The evening commute should be easier than the morning commute.

North and west of town, icy conditions will last a bit longer into the early afternoon or later. But even there temperatures will likely eventually climb above freezing before the precipitation ends this evening. The closer to downtown you are, the better your chances of rising above freezing and the sooner it will happen. It's difficult to time exactly when an individual location will rise above freezing, so keep an eye on your local temperature and use caution. The overall amount of ice will be generally light as precipitation will be patchy and intermittent for the rest of the day.

Icy spots remain on sidewalks and untreated roads -- even inside the beltway -- so continue to use caution.

By Jason Samenow  | February 22, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Updates  
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Posted by: strangldangel | February 22, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

yess! no school but i hope everyone stays safe! i'm sad we still didn't see any snow accumulations :(

Posted by: strangldangel | February 22, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Is there something about frozen grass that is good for the birds? My front yard is filled with robins, and some cardinals, and some other unidentified avians. Does the ice on the grass bring up the worms or something? It's kind of creeping me out...

Posted by: Jim F | February 22, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Looks like another overhyped and underperforming event. Hopefully the next event will be a good one.

Posted by: The Tooz | February 22, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I called it several weeks ago: we won't see another inch of snow until December at the earliest. This winter blows. My sister up in New York is getting 6-9" (they had originally said 2-4 + quarter inch ice). I told her to expect 6-8".

This winter sucks. >:(

Posted by: hobbes | February 22, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

At least everyone got no school (sorry DCPS!).

Posted by: Peter [Bethesda] | February 22, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

As usual in these situations, the commmute was a delight from N. Arl. to downtown. Roads were just wet, some slush on the side of my side street at home, but with reduced traffic, commute time was much shorter than usual.

Posted by: GFP | February 22, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Though the system could have probably still used a delay, I imagine that D.C. schools administrators are feeling awfully proud of themselves right now.

Posted by: Everett W. | February 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Keep in mind, this storm continues to evolve. Even though it wasn't bad for your morning drive, it likely will get worse throughout the day.

Posted by: Kalorama Parkh | February 22, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Freezing rain is definitely picking up in intensity out in Reston. Everyone here seems to be taking advantage of the unscheduled leave order by OPM, and I'll be joining them soon. If you're at work, the earlier you can leave the better...

Posted by: Mark | February 22, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Cap Team, As always,I appreciate your dedication to this event throught the night into this morning. I still think this site is by far the best most informative. I enjoy the personal interaction from your team keeping all of us community bloggers up to date.

WISE GUYS: So what if it underpreformed, everything this winter has underpreformed..Guys, we are in a La Nina cycle. In typical cycles of La Nina, you can always count on highly unusual,unpredictable weather, which it has certainly been this winter season.. I've heard many comments about terrible forecasting, I could do better myself. If you guys are so smart, then I'll expect to see you on TV soon taking over Bob Ryan's spot. There is a lot more to forecasting then looking at the damn radar.

I agree its frustrating when storms underpreform. This storm did underpreform due to lack of phasing. When the lack of phasing trend became obvious, Cap Team was right on top of it last night sending us frequent updates and personal corrspondences on the blogs. Hats off to the Cap Team.

In my opinion, this site is heck of a lot better then waiting for the 11 oclock news for updates, or looking at all the pretty little outdated forecast pictures on TWC....;)

I bet if we had one big snowstorm, all the negativity and finger pointing would go away. Lets try not to fingerpoint because we are frustrated it didn't snow. This wasnt gonna be a big event in the first place.

Posted by: skinsfn | February 22, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

skinsfn...I was not taking a shot at Cap Team they do a great job. I was just making a general observation about the lousy luck winter precip fans are having this winter.

Posted by: The Tooz | February 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have light freezing rain here in Arnold. I actually have a pretty good coating of ice on everything, my temperature is holding steady at 29F. There's even a little ice accumulation on my road..

Posted by: arnoldkh | February 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Figured out the label for yesterday's split weather pattern: Where's The Beef??

Posted by: greenbelter | February 22, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

All of the weather outlets blew this storm. But honestly, none of us could do better. They say its going to change to plain old rain in DC over the next couple of hours, but they have gotten most everything about the storm wrong up to this point. Who is to say they are not wrong on this? Just let it play out.

Posted by: Will in Fairfax | February 22, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Will -- Thought our forecasting on this storm has been pretty decent. Have you read through our forecasts through the last couple days and compared them with what's happened thus far?

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | February 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

It took quite a bit of heat yesterday when I predicted RAIN! No need for an explanation as one poster chastized me for. Rain is rain and that is what we got with a little freezing added in.

Posted by: Greg | February 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

As I suspected 24 hrs. ago, this has been a non event for many, regarding qp amounts. When icing is a part of the equation, a small amount of rain goes a long way and enhances the perceived and real significance. As you can see from looking at the 24 hr. radar estimated precip. ending at 7 a.m., the extreme n.e. and e. portion of Va.(including D.C.) received more precip. than most of Va. I received .02 rain and a 30 min. snowshower, resulting in light glazing. As Jim from Blacksburg reported and this radar estimate also indicates, much of s.w. Va. received nothing.

The Cap. Wx. Gang has outperformed the NWS again, regarding accurate pre event guidance. As Jason suggested, the NWS erred on the side of caution, perhaps encouraged after last week's fiasco, however, when a person or group operates out of fear, they are at risk of losing their effectivness and credibility.

In today's tort liability conscious world, any person or authority that is responsible in any way for public safety is very wise to err on the side of caution. Such is the case with school officials. I understand this very well because I once held one of these positions of authority. I am now free of this responsibility, therefore life and fearless prognosticating is a lot more simple and stress free.

Temps. will slowly rise to a point of additional icing not being a major concern for most. Hopefully the rain over eastern Ky. and Tenn. will give more rain later in the day.

The next three to four weeks will feature some interesting weather and wintry precip. possibilities that the models may not currently indicate.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | February 22, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Not surprised by the early switchover to (non-freezing) rain - I think the Gov't probably overreacted based on the disaster that was last Tuesday.

Posted by: Seven Corners to Downtown DC | February 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Let me clarify what I meant by weather outlets: Channel 4,5,7,9. Capital Weather rarely ever over hypes a storm, thus making them really the only reliable source for Metro Area weather. You guys did just fine keeping most everyones hopes at a level of reality. Also, your frequent updates are a great way to keep us better informed.

Posted by: Will in Fairfax | February 22, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

My "hopes" were NOT for a lot snow or ice today, but to be able to keep some important meetings in place at work. Instead, I used guidance from NWS, CapWxGang, etc. and cancelled everything. And now, I could have let it all play out -- this is so DAMN frustrating. I'm past wanting snow anymore -- all I wish for is fairly CONSISTENT winter-like weather/temps DURING winter. That's impossible in this region...

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 22, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Strangldangel, only jackasses post "first" on a blog. If we're going to ban comments like "RAIN!" We should ban comments like "first."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

BUST? Please. Columbia, just 30 miles north of DC, is getting hammered with freezing rain at the moment. My road is a sheet of ice. I think its pretty funny how people call this a bust. Underperfoming maybe, but the CapWX team seemed to be on it,so my expectations have been muted by their reports from last night.

Oh, and chalk me up as someone else who thinks the board has become a bit more negative since the move to WaPo. Don't know if it has to do with the weather or not, or just some growing pains.

Posted by: jbroon | February 22, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Will someone explain to me why schools are closed for rain and a few flakes? Thanks.

-Transplanted New Yorker

Posted by: Help! | February 22, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Went for a walk in Old Town. Roads look good for the most part, and treated sidewalks are fine. However, many sidewalks are not treated, and are sheets of ice. Also saw a few, but significant, ice patches on roads. Please continue to be careful everyone! Also, to the person that commented on the 'First'comment- that is a tradition carried over from the original Cap WX blog. I miss the tone of the old blog. More weather related comments, kinder and with a better sense of community.

Posted by: Snowlover2! | February 22, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

31.4 here in Loudoun at the moment. Looks like it will get above freezing sooner rather than later. Based on radar, another batch of precip (rain?) looks to move through here in about 3-4 hrs. Poor winter 2007-8. I will be looking foward to next winter. I'm ready for spring t'storms now!!!

Posted by: Model Monkey | February 22, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

New Yorker: If you were here last Tuesday evening when ice created havoc throughout the area, that should be your answer. There was fear of a repeat performance. Closing schools is a risk management decision. Ice can be very hazardous ... even more so than a dumping of snow. Given the potential for ice, schools made a calculated decision not to risk putting students in harms way. When they make that decision, they have to accept the fact conditions may not end up as hazardous as forecast--but they err on the side of safety.

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | February 22, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Help, the closings are basically because how the DC area often strattles the line between treacherous ice and harmless rain. When it goes to the ice side of the line, you get school buses stuck in Springfield for 8 hours and mass-hysteria. When it goes to the rain side, you get days off when everything is fine. As jbroon mentioned, as close as columbia and olney have been reported to be wintery, so it's hard to determine sometimes how the line will play out, and what to do when it is too close to call.

Posted by: Jamie Jones, Capital Weather Gang (Alexadria) | February 22, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"Also, to the person that commented on the 'First'comment- that is a tradition carried over from the original Cap WX blog. I miss the tone of the old blog. More weather related comments, kinder and with a better sense of community."

I disagree. I hated it there, and I hate it here. It's obnoxious.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me we picked up just a little more ice here in Vienna since early morning. Not enough to create panic, but enough to justify caution.

I'm still trying to figure out why people are complaining about a lack of ice. Heat, electricity, passable roads, upright trees -- these are good things.

Posted by: Viennan | February 22, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Freezing drizzle 31 degrees west of Leesburg.Like more than a few people here I miss the tone of the old board.

Posted by: Daplumma | February 22, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

All, as you may have noticed, while we manage the comments and make sure things stay above board, we don't actively influence the conversation. With that said, now that we have finally settled into our new digs, I want to try and clean up the commenting a bit, so expect a post in the coming days or week to address the commenting procedure and etiquettes. However, in the meantime, i will say that you, the commenters, can do alot to influence the direction and tone of the comments.

Posted by: Jamie Jones, Capital Weather Gang (Alexadria) | February 22, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a little late for this entry, but at noon the temperature was 34 F in eastern Silver Spring.

Posted by: Murre | February 22, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Some of you here may not realize what a great blog this is for civility and asking qestions. I am a member of another east coast weather forum, and I wouldn't DREAM of posting on it. A huge percentage of replies there are sacastic, intimidating and just plain rude. Special attention is often drawn to be-littling new comer's questions, and verbal attacks are constant. We do not appreciate how good we have it here.

Posted by: Etta | February 22, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I miss the endless arguments about global warming.

Posted by: Eric | February 22, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Remember, global warming is not a science, it is religion. There are sins, sacraments, a savior, and its all grounded in faith.

Posted by: Andrew in Rockville | February 22, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

From Wikipedia: Socrates was one of the first religious skeptics, questioning the legitimacy of the beliefs of his time in the existence of the various gods, Socrates was put on trial in 399 BC and was executed by drinking of poison.

Posted by: Eric (skeptic) | February 22, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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