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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 12/ 8/2008

Midweek Storms May Be Wild and Crazy

By Jason Samenow

* Warming Up: Full Forecast | Later: Where Will Obama Lead NOAA? *

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Thursday
Probability of Accumulating Snow: 30%
Most Likely Potential Impact:

Sixty degrees with thundershowers Wednesday afternoon, and 30s with snow Thursday? Not out of the question!

A rather wild weather scenario may develop as tropical air surges north Wednesday ahead of a powerful cold front. First, heavy showers and thunderstorms may rip through the region as the front blows by Wednesday afternoon. As temperatures fall behind the front overnight, a storm may develop to the south, initially spreading rain into the region. However, as colder air continues filtering into the region, the rain may mix with and change to snow some time Thursday.

This is a very complex forecast dependent on a lot of uncertain variables (e.g storm track, timing, intensity, etc.). The scenario I describe could change in ways that would result in more or less snow. We'll continue to refine this forecast over the next several days.

The Snow Lover's Crystal Ball appears when the potential exists for accumulating snow beyond 24 to 36 hours.

By Jason Samenow  | December 8, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Snow Lover's Crystal Ball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Bitter Start and End to Work Week
Next: Where Will Obama Lead NOAA?

Comments

The 0z GFS set us up with a whopper of a storm smacking DC on Thursday correct? I know the 6z gave a warmer solution, but I am hoping the 12z will swing it back around. I am hoping for a significant storm. Well see!

Posted by: NWDCJesse | December 8, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the different models over the last couple days, there is the POTENTIAL for more than a couple inches of snow; how come you decided to just use 2 snowflakes to describe the "potential"?

Posted by: 4seamed | December 8, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

How much rain are we expecting Wednesday? Before it changes over to whatever? Already my kid is crossing his fingers for a snow day on Thursday!

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The latest guidance I've seen suggest more of a break between the frontal passage and the coastal storm. So the timing for the coastal storm precip may be a bit later than described here. Also, cold air is slower coming in, which may not bode well for snow lovers. Still, too early to make a call on this...lots of possibilities on the table. Ian will probably post his latest thoughts in today's PM update.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

4seamed: When we report potential impact, we provide our judgment on what the most likely potential impact will be -- granted there will always be a range of possibilities when communicating uncertain information.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

deveinmadisonva -- A late response to your comment skepticism from the weekend post. You seem to be obsessed with our comment volume, but we are not. Mind you, we did reach more than 50 comments for a dusting. Regardless, as much as we value our commenters -- they are the life blood of CWG -- they are also a small fraction of the total traffic to the site.

As for your other points, our "host" -- washingtonpost.com -- is one of the top media sites in the country. So we're actually pretty psyched to be a part of that. Since the move we've improved and expanded our content offerings. I do agree that pop-up ads can be annoying. But like everything else, the Web is a business.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Things keep shifting up a bit, but the 12z/0z runs seem to continue to want to give the region snow almost every time in some fashion. The new 12z GFS brings things in slower, but hits much of the area with at least 6-8 hours of moderate/heavy wintry weather on Friday now (mainly snow I think).

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

This is starting to worry me. I'm supposed to go back up to Shepherdstown again Friday afternoon to pick up my kid after his last exam. I live in Lake Ridge, and take back roads for the last part of the trip...if things get icy, it has the potential to be a heck of a ride.

Posted by: meta2 | December 8, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Dan
I find that Firefox plus AdBlock blocks all the ads quite well. But I subscribe to the Post, so I don't feel any guilt over that.

Posted by: wiredog | December 8, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

When on Friday? I am flying out of DCA for Sunny Ft. Myers 8:00am Friday morning.. I hope I'm not stuck at the airport!

Posted by: jrodfoo | December 8, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not sold on these model interpretations. I've noticed in a lot of these links it seems some are interpreting that big blue line as the rain/snow line, which is fine, if we were in Denver. Those plots are for the 850mb temperatures, and they are barely below freezing at that level, the surface temps should be several degrees warmer. A better look would be to use this: http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/12/images/gfs_slp_108m.gif

Notice most of the area is right on the cusp of the snowline, so 50 miles one way or another would have a HU-GE impact on snow accumulations. Not to mention the wild swings in timing leading me to have very little confidence in the model anyway.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Brian, I posted the wrong image.. meant to post the 2 meter temps, which are below freezing. But, your point stands that it's 'on the cusp' with obviously greater chances west of i-95 for snow. Soundings for National would indicate a majority of the precip would be mixed, ending as snow. And the new ECMWF came in warmish, while other models trended east. It's going to take a perfect track to get a good storm here, but since it's mid-Dec (and the DCarea!) no one should really 'expect' a blockbuster event.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Jim in Blacksburg here:

I agree with Ian - this time of year (really more early December than mid December), people should frankly be happy about the mere possibility of a significant snow in this part of the country. Even a 2-4 inch event would be highly significant given climo for the southern mid-atlantic.

Posted by: jahutch | December 8, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

schoolcast please!

Posted by: samdman95 | December 8, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Meta the most direct route to Shepherdstown is 340 to 230 and on into Shepherdstown. Hardly the "back roads".

Posted by: MKadyman | December 8, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Kadyman, the MapQuest printout that has my directions is out in the car, but there's about 10 miles or so near the end that's one lane in each direction, is pretty isolated, and has a lot of dips and curves. I don't even like driving it at night, much less if there might be slick spots.

Compared to something like Route 7 or 15, it's a back road.

Posted by: meta2 | December 8, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Meta you need to calm down. If you sent your kid to school in Shepherdstown then you should know the roads. Route 230 is a major state route. It is two lanes but it is heavily traveled and the guys up there know how to plow roads. You won't have any problems.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 8, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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