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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 01/ 4/2009

Forecast: Unsettled Weather Returns

By Brian Jackson

Some iciness may develop late Tuesday

* Top Five Local Weather Events: 2008 | Weather Ins and Outs for 2009 *

Forecast edited at 11:50 a.m.


Today: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of showers. 41-44. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. 36-39. | Tomorrow: Chance of a.m. rain, then slow clearing. 47-50. | A Look Ahead


Quite unruly weather will be the norm for the next several days as your exact location could have a large impact on what weather you see. The chance for precipitation begins today and will remain with us through mid-week albeit with some breaks (e.g. today and tomorrow afternoon). Temperatures won't be too much out of the norm although some cooling Tuesday may give us a chance for some frozen precipitation.

Radar: Latest D.C. area 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.

Today (Sunday): Today will be a typical drab winter day. It won't be warm at all, but it won't be cold enough for snow. It won't be dry, but it won't rain heavily. There will be fleeting peeks of the sun, but mostly overcast. In summation, blech. A passing upper disturbance may bring just enough energy to generate some patchy light rain, but don't expect any downpours out of it. In fact, some of you may not see any rain at all (sort of a meteorological catch-22). Cloudy skies will hold temperatures in the low to mid- 40s for the majority of the day and the wind will be blowing in from the south at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Any rain will come to an end from west to east during the evening probably by the time most of us hit the sack. A widely scattered shower or two may linger into the early morning is possible under mostly cloudy skies. Overnight lows will range from the upper 30s downtown to the lower 30s north and west. Winds will be shifting to out of the west at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through your mid-week...

Tomorrow (Monday): A cold front punches through the region in the morning, providing a 430% chance of light rain. During the afternoon, skies slowly clear and a stiff breeze will blow (out of the north at 10-20 mph), though we won't be seeing the return of anything like we saw New Year's Eve. Try as we might, I don't expect temperatures to break out above 50, though we may touch it for a brief period. Most of us will top out in the upper 40s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Expect dry conditions as we're between storm systems overnight. Our northern reaches should see partly cloudy skies and colder temperatures, dropping into the upper 20s. Southern locations may see a few more clouds, especially towards morning and may only drop to around freezing or so due to the slower penetration of the cold air.
Confidence: Medium


Tuesday could be interesting as our next storm system develops to the west. With cold air filtering into the region at the same time (behind yesterday's cold front) moisture surges northward, sleet and freezing rain a wintry mix may develop -- especially during the the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will hold in the low to mid- 30s. In the far north and west suburbs, freezing rain and sleet remains possible overnight, and significant icing could develop . Inside the beltway and to the south and east, any frozen precipitation will likely turn to plain rain -- but it will be a close call. Temperatures will likely remain steady in the low to mid- 30s. Confidence: Medium

By Wednesday, any linger precipitation will most likely be in the form of rain as high temperatures head towards 40. Said rain will decrease in coverage and intensity, with some partial clearing likely by late afternoon. Confidence: Medium

By Brian Jackson  | January 4, 2009; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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I'm starting to really bite my nails over the possibility of frozen precip on Tuesday. Are we watching the extent of potential CAD, or something else in addition, to influence if/when/where frozen precip materializes?

Posted by: --sg | January 4, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm done with the model wishcasting...It is all too familiar pattern for us....The models overestimate cold air more then 5 days out...

Cap Team, why does cold air get pushed offshore everytime a storm system heads our way...With this pattern, we will never get a big storm besides an "ocasional Alberta Clipper".

Do you guys see any extended patterns that might give us greater snow potential.....Thanks

Posted by: StormChaserMan | January 4, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking the "icing" will be just plain old rain come Tuesday. My husband is starting to mock me for getting excited each time winter weather is possibly in the forecast... Sigh. Just one good winter storm would make me happy.

Posted by: someonelikeyou | January 4, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

i'm geting to the point i only trust the 24 hour forecast, and still most of em dont get it right???

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | January 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's quite a lovely day here in ALexandria. Beautiful clear bright sunny sky, temp approaching 50. Not "blech" at all (at least not yet).

Posted by: KEBV | January 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse


You want to be more specific about your problems with the forecasting? You can always nit pick, but I think we've been pretty accurate. If your comment is referring to the previous mention of rain in the forecast, note that in yesterday's forecast we called for a 50% chance of rain today, and in today's forecast just a "slight" chance of rain.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse


It's 45 degrees in NW DC under overcast skies, and all three local airports are indicating mostly cloudy or overcast skies as of noon (with temps around 40). So I guess there's some variability which Brian indicated in his forecast: "There will be fleeting peeks of the sun..."

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 4, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse


The cold air being pushed away before storms arrive has everything to do with the prevailing storm track so far this winter. Pretty much every single storm has passed to our west, bringing in south winds. We need a storm track just to our south or east for cold air to stick around and for snow.

Besides a clipper or two in the extended, I don't see anything to get overly excited about in the next week. The pattern may become more favorable for snow between days 8-12, but confidence is low.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 4, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I still suspect that with a "historic" inaugural we could have some "historic" weather. We did the last time [Kennedy, 1961].

If I cited "Monday" as the date of the thundersnow, I was in error. It happened last Wednesday and I was returning from the Safeway, not the Giant.

Unfortunately, WTOP reports that the little boy hit by a falling tree branch that morning died on New Years Day. He seems to have sustained a severe head injury. A well-respected Roman Catholic priest here in Northern Virginia was also killed by a falling tree. Perhaps there could be some limitations on normal work/play activity when wind advisories of such magnitude are posted. This wind event was picked up by the models 2-3 days in advance, but not everyone may have issued strong enough warnings in advance.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Stormchaser, I learned many yrs ago that models r pretty much useless more than 3 days out. Last yr people kept getting excited about models showing storms 8-10 days out & I tried 2 warn them last yr. Even got accused of being anti snow when I warned them that wish casting didn't work. I've lived in this area since 1954, so I know how hard it is 2 get the right setup,& it has definetly gotten hard 2 get the right setup over the last 15 yrs. Unfortunately 4 us snow lovers, I think snow storms will cont. 2 be rarer in the future.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 4, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

jason, i was not picking on you guys, sorry a came across that way.

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | January 4, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

last nam is a lot of ice for the are, mostly north and west

Posted by: cjespn | January 4, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cjespn | January 4, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Here in Harrisonburg the NWS forecast was for Rain this morning and more rain this afternoon. We've had Partly to Mostly Sunny skies most of the day and reached the mid and upper 50s around the area. This isn't the first time in recent months that the forecast has been off big time

Posted by: drfrank22821 | January 4, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

drfrank22821- The forecast have not been off. It has been pretty good. here in culpeper Va, the chance for rain was 50%. the 50% is the key! 50 it will rain and 50 it won't and the 50 that it wont rain won out. and the NWS had been updating all day about the approtching warm front. thats why temps climbed into the 50's. Most of the local mets had said that the rain would likely wash it self out before it reached the mid-atlantic. So overall, the forecast was good. Just hope they nail it down prettty good for tuesday b/c thats the day to watch.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | January 4, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Got in an hour on the boat today! The sunshine felt great, and made it warm enough to motor about for a while. This is the second earliest I've ever been out; sailed on New Year's Day one year - 2004, I think.

Posted by: --sg | January 4, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

It was 2006. I just checked, and felt it necessary to correct the record.

Posted by: --sg | January 4, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

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