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Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 12/18/2008

PM Update: Gray Skies Portend Coming Showers

By Ian Livingston

Occasional rain on Friday; Record snow in Vegas

* Ex-Bush Official Joins AccuWeather | Weekend Wintry Weather Cancel? *

Radar: Latest regional radar loop shows movement of precipitation over past two hours. Powered by HAMweather. Refresh page to update. Click here to see radar bigger. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Mostly cloudy skies have once again ruled the day as we await another storm system with more rain. Without any sunshine to help things warm up, we have been stuck in the low-to-mid 40s throughout the afternoon. A few isolated showers have popped up, mainly insignificant, and largely across the southern parts of the area. Temperatures will hold steady through sunset before dropping back into the 30s.

Tonight: It will be cloudy and cool overnight, with shower chances increasing after midnight, but with most of the rain holding off till around sunrise. Much of the area will remain above freezing overnight, but a pocket or two of freezing rain is possible at the onset of precipitation in the typically coldest north and west suburbs. Otherwise, look for lows to drop into the mid 30s across most of the area with upper 30s more likely in D.C. itself.

Tomorrow: A storm system on track to give New England quite a snowstorm will skirt to our north. For us, rain should generally be light and occasional, with the brunt of the storm staying just north of the area near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. The further south you are, the less rain is likely to fall. Highs should top out near 50 in most locations as a light wind blows from the east.

What Happens in Vegas... Add Las Vegas to the list of places that have seen more snow than the D.C. metro area so far this season. An all-time record snowfall for the month of December occurred there yesterday when 3.6" of snow was measured at the National Weather Service office in town. This is only the 5th time since records began that the area has seen snow in December, and this month now stands in 6th place all time for the snowiest month ever. Snow was also widely reported in low elevations of Southern California yesterday.

See Josh Larson's forecast through the beginning of next week.

By Ian Livingston  | December 18, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Gloomy Friday; Saturday/Sunday Slop?


Pssssst, I think you forgot to close off one of the italicize brackets. After clicking into this post, I think this is the culprit (at the bottom of the post):

"See Josh Larson's forecast through the beginning of next week."

It made everything from that point down on the main page, as well as in this post, italicized.

And I saw the snow in Las Vegas. They had pictures of people standing in front of the Las Vegas sign taking pictures because they've never seen it covered in snow before (not many have).

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 18, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

What have the rainfall totals been like this december in comparison to the averages? I feel like we have had a lot of rain so far this month. With it were precip of the frozen variety instead...

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | December 18, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What happened to our chances of snow? Only recently there were forecasts of snow/ice Saturday night and Sunday. Now there is a NWS forecasted high of 48 from yesterday's forecast of 33. Same story for the Christmas eve precip.

With a brand new boy at the house, there is no possibility of me driving to a better location for interesting weather. It appears, though, that waiting around DC for something to arouse my meteorological interest is a fool's errand.

I am putting all of me eggs into a ice storm on January 20th.

Posted by: GISman | December 18, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I can deal with New England and the Great Lakes area getting more snow than us. But VEGAS???? What's a girl gotta do to have a White Christmas in Washington. One of the most beautiful sights to me is the snow on top of the Jefferson Memorial as you come out of the Metro tunnel to cross the Potomac.

Yes, I am the one person in America who likes the song Christmas in Washington.

Posted by: epjd | December 18, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse


Rainfall so far in December has been 2.5" compared to an average of 1.75" by this date. So yes, we're running above average, and we'll add to that tomorrow and Sunday.


As early as late yesterday, it was becoming obvious that the storm would cut too far to our north and west for much cold air to hang around. Bummer for snow fans.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | December 18, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

epjd, I second that emotion!

There is no city that looks prettier in the snow than Washington. And in my opinion, there is no place better for a snowlover than Washington. We can never depend on a snowstorm to hit which makes every storm that much more exciting. We are also fortunate enough to usually get a few storms each winter.

I currently go to school in Vermont. We get a lot of snow up here. With that said, I would much rather be in Washington for a 6 inch snowstorm than Burlington for a 12 inch snowstorm. And that goes for any other city.

Washington is BY FAR the prettiest/best place for snow!

Posted by: jfva | December 18, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse


I agree. Pulling for snow in DC is like pulling for middling team in sports. Disappointment/frustration is common, but it's dramatic and so much more rewarding when the big event happens.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 18, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The forecast for my old hometown is 8-16" of snow tomorrow, with 2"/hour rates possible in the afternoon. I don't find myself missing it all that often, but on days like this (right before the first big snow of the year) I sure do.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 18, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The snow lovers crystle ball must be crying. It indicated a 40 % chance of accumulating snow a couple days ago for the weekend and I was suggesting a possible winter storm.

It is all gone as we have became conditioned to during the past several years.

For newcomers, let me assure you, this is unusual.

I have lived in this area for more than 50 years. We historically receive much more snow than in recent years, and it has nothing to do with global warming.

Look at the rest of the country, record breaking cold and record breaking snowfall. For the past several years we have a persistent and repetitious ridge over the Southeast and S. Atlantic, irregardless of the NAO or ENSO.

There must be an end to this pattern!

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 18, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Short term record cold or warmth doesn't prove or disprove Gobal Warming. Chance of a decent snow b4 Jan is looking less likely.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 18, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

As I stated and you are exactly right.


Posted by: AugustaJim | December 18, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, the NAO has been in a more positive phase over the past 30 years so in that sense, maybe global warming is to blame as it could be effecting various teleconnections. We really need a -NA0 in this region to get decent snows it seeems. I hope there isn't a correlation between the NAO and GW but it seems like there might be.

Posted by: jfva | December 18, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The most positive forcing of the NAO since 1951 was from 1989 until 1995. During this period the central Shenandoah received an average of 25.90 inches of snow per year.

During the past 4 years we have had an average of only 13.15 inches with a much more neutral or negative NAO, but the persistent s.e. ridge.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 18, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

@AugustaJim: The NAO has been positive since 2004.

-0.05 (2002-2003)
0.07 (2003-2004)
0.89 (2004-2005)
0.10 (2005-2006)
0.36 (2006-2007)
0.65 (2007-2008)

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 18, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse


The SE Ridge has, to at least some degree, a relationship with the drought in the SE. The ridge perpetuates the drought, and the drought helps High pressure build in and perpetuate the ridge. My hope is that if rains continue to fall in the SE, the drought may begin to get busted up, and the ridge will lose some of its permanence. No guarantees, but busting up the drought down there can't hurt.

Posted by: jahutch | December 18, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I think its pretty much over with this storm, although it kind of close for parts of MD.

Posted by: Snowman_In_Herndon | December 18, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the input.

I agree, the s.e. ridge has a huge impact on the longterm s.e. drought. The past two weeks has witnessed improvement except eastern Carolinas and Florida, but this is only short term.

My prayer is for a wet winter, but during the past 30-90 days the trend does not look good.

Jason: The CPC indicates that 05,06 and 08 had a preponderance of negative NAO values.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 18, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse


You need to look at the winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) mean values. That's what matters (wrt to snow). I took the data here:
and averaged over the winter months when I analyzed the data.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 18, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the data set.

I have ran some totals corresponding to your data that you may find interesting and that demonstrate a negative or positive NAO doesn't always correlate to the amount of snowfall or even create a pattern, as it should. I also find this strange, but the past 4 years have been very strange!

The blogsite won't allow a chart.

89-90 NAO +.43 Snow 39.6 , 90-91 NAO +.71 Snow 18.0 , 91-92 NAO+.46 Snow 3.4 , 92-93 NAO +.86 Snow 44.0, 93-94 NAO +1.02 Snow 37.0, 94-95 NAO +1.36 Snow 13.2

04 NAO +.89 Snow 14.1, 05 NAO +.10 Snow 16.1, 06 NAO +.36 Snow 16.3, 07 NAO .65 Snow 6.1.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 18, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cjespn | December 18, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

cjespn - which line is the key indicator; 1028?


Posted by: snowlover | December 19, 2008 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Or I guess I should have said, the most southeast blue line? I am new with models and don't really know how to read them

Posted by: snowlover | December 19, 2008 3:46 AM | Report abuse

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