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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/18/2009

Forecast: Brief Shot of Snow or Mix, Then Rain

By Jason Samenow

Turning blustery and cold tomorrow

* Later: Discussing Rain Gear... *


Today: A.M. snow/mix, P.M. Rain. Low 40s. | Tonight: Becoming windy. Upper 30s. | Tomorrow: Blustery - snow flurries? Low 40s. | A Look Ahead


Perhaps yesterday's post about a snow drought and the possibility of no more snow this winter was a jinx. We should see some of the white stuff this morning -- though rain will quickly wash it away. But a few flurries may fly again tomorrow before yet another chance for snow over the weekend. All the while, it will be cold, and often windy. Winter is holding strong.

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 (Wednesday): A period of light to moderate snow is likely between 7 a.m. (starting around dawn southwest of town) and 11 a.m. The snow will probably mix with sleet and rain by mid-morning (perhaps sooner south and east of town). A coating of snow is possible before the changeover to rain. There's a slight chance of a up to an inch north and west of town if the changeover to rain is delayed. Temperatures will slowly rise from the low-to-mid 30s. This afternoon, rain is likely, with temperatures gradually rising through the 30s with an increasing wind from the south. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Occasional showers will continue through midnight or so, before winds shift to out of the west and northwest (at 10-20 mph) due to the passage of a cold front. The cold air will take a while to settle in, so no re-freeze is expected, with lows in the mid-to-upper 30s (suburbs-city) Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend.

Tomorrow (Thursday): As the storm responsible for today's precipitation winds up to our north, a strong, cold wind (blowing at 15-25 mph, with gusts to near 40 mph) from the northwest will blow through the region. Temperatures will likely hold steady in the upper 30s to low 40s with wind chills below freezing. Fast moving bands of cloud may produce some snow flurries, though they'll be interspersed with periods of sunshine. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: It will remain windy (15-25 mph, with gusts above 30 mph) and will turn very cold. Under partly cloudy skies, lows will drop from 15-20 (suburbs-city) with wind chills in the single digits and teens. Confidence: Medium-High


Winds diminish somewhat Friday, but not entirely. They will continue to blow from the northwest at 10-15 mph as the heart of the cold air mass settles overhead. Highs will only reach the mid-30s or so -- despite lots of sunshine (wind chills in the 20s). The winds finally come to rest at night, but it will be quite cold, with lows 16-23 (suburbs-city).Confidence: Medium-High

Saturday will begin partly sunny and seasonably cold, before some high clouds increase during the afternoon. Highs will likely reach the low 40s. Overnight, a clipper will pass through the region, bringing a chance of snow showers. Lows should be in the upper 20s to around 30. Confidence: Medium

After the possibility of some morning snow showers, Sunday should become partly sunny. It will remain cold with highs 35-40. The wild card in Sunday's forecast is the possible development of a storm to the south, which could result in more snow (and/or sleet and rain) and for a longer duration.Confidence: Low-Medium

By Jason Samenow  | February 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Which Rain Gear Did You Choose to Use?


Anybody got snow? I am hearing snow has started and picked up rapidly to our southwest... around Woodbridge.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

pretty snowy flakes blowing sideways this morning here in Bristow; slight accumulation on the grassy

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 18, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

snowing in Centreville with gray sky..

Posted by: mchristinaw | February 18, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

areas...all started very quickly and continues.

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 18, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Light snow just started in Oakton (at about 7:25am).

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

no snow here in falls church, but there is white stuff on the streets: yesterday afternoon they salted our streets. this really irritates be 1)because i wonder how much it cost me to have them do this for such a piddley little storm and 2) it's got to be bad for the environment.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone recommend a decent website for weather forecasts outside of the Dc area for travel. Accuweather in the last 4mos has made Bob Ryan and Doug Hill look like the two most accurate weather predictors ever. Even going out jsut 48hrs to somewhere close like berryville and their forecast is suspect w/ Accuweather. Cap Weather Gang is great local. NOAA weather radio is good but Accuweather has jumped the shark. maybe thier paid stuff is better.

Posted by: sheepherder | February 18, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse


I'd use (enter your city or zipcode) or -- both feature the National Weather Service forecast--which should be decent.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

@augustajim &/or cwg (or any "model reader"):
last night people were gently broaching the possibility of a real snow early next week. what's up with that?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Light snow now in Lake Ridge. Dusting on cars/grassy areas.

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 18, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

The snow has picked up intensity and has dusted surfaces in Oakton. Big flakes.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Nothing yet in the District proper. Hey Walter in FC, I wouldn't listen to anything anyone says about "snow" one week out. Wait until they can nail down 24 hours with any degree of accuracy first!

Posted by: lioninzion | February 18, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

i know, i know... i compartmentalize my mind in cases like this. while my rational mind knows it almost certainly won't happen, my romantic mind like to imagine it might.

very light snow just started in falls church.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

the snow is now sticking here in Manassas. Been pretty steady for over an hour...and nice fat flakes to boot.

Not the storm we were hoping for, but not a complete let down either for once. LOL.


Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 18, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Snowing moderately in NW Montgomery. Side streets and grass are covered with snow.

Posted by: MKadyman | February 18, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Snowing at a good clip here in Silver Spring. Nothing sticking yet. About to make the walk to the metro... should be fun!

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | February 18, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Snowing moderately in Short Pump just west of Richmond. Nothing really sticking and we didn't get below freezing last night...

Posted by: Registration1982 | February 18, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Pretty snow here in Arlington for the last half hour or so. started as tiny, dense little flakes, almost icy. But now it's fairly heavy, normal looking flakes. Swirling around between the buildings. Nothing is sticking though...

Posted by: AnneinSand | February 18, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Some light snow for the last 20 min. at Union Station in the District.

Posted by: dixiechick1 | February 18, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Snowing medium-hard in Fairfax, Nutley at 29 . . . ground is turning white.

Posted by: mdean3 | February 18, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Just started snowing on my drive south from the district this morning around 7:30, but no accumulation last time i saw daylight. Might go up and check soon, the radar does look tasty...

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Observations East of Front Royal: 3/16" accumulation of snow and sleet. Currently we have cloudy skies and are experiencing a lull in precip. With temps still at 26.8F up in the mountains, perhaps we could get a bit more.

TV traffic reports indicated drivers reporting following tire tracks in the snow near Gilbert's Corner.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 18, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Nice burst of moderate/heavy snow in upper NW DC. Got a dusting on most surfaces now.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Your radar shows rain for my area now but its actually very heavy snow... big flakes that are sticking too!

Posted by: AnneinSand | February 18, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

34 degrees with only a little light sleet in the Valley this morning.

Re. your question about "a real snow" early next week. This talk or "hype" as I referred to last night was all started by the 12Z ECMWF yesterday which became available 1-3 pm. Some pros. and many amateurs, almost worship this model, therefore news spreads like wildfire when the ECMWF screams BIG STORM! It is statistically a little more accurate than the GFS but still makes many errors.
It was indicating a strong coastal system yesterday that would have dumped sig. snow in the Mid Atlantic late weekend. Last night I suggested that one run means nothing and the 00z run would likely be different. Sure enough the 00z run changed with the track of the storm now too far east to be a major threat.

Therefore the "hype" from late yesterday has died from lack of continuing least for a while.

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 18, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse


While I agree it was premature to jump on the snowstorm bandwagon, the ECMWF was not the only model showing snow. The Canadian model showed a really big storm on two straight runs yesterday.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Snow is now sleet here in Manassas. Boooooo.


Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 18, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure who here was 'hyping' anything yesterday... just showing what the models were printing out.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

re: 00z ECMWF

i agree there was no "hyping" by those in the know, but even the barest possibility of snow sends me into a tizzy.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Update: Sleet now mixing with freezing rain in the Blue Ridge Mtns. Temp: 27.7F

Posted by: spgass1 | February 18, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Moderate sleet now in Lake Ridge.

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 18, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Rain and snow mix here near Union Station. Had a really heavy burst of snow a little while ago that turned the grassy areas white. It was nice while it lasted....

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | February 18, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Still 29 with sleet and frn, 1 mi visibility and about .1 inch ice on everything at 1250 ft near wolfsville, MD.

Posted by: dustygroundhog | February 18, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Half inch of slush out here continues to look pitiful. No precip to speak of, just the sound of melting snow.

Posted by: weathergrrl | February 18, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I still don't like "plain rain" at these temperatures!

Around here [Baileys Crossroads] it started out as snow aoa 8:45 AM, changed to a sleet/graupel mix, then to rain, and is now alternating between chilly rain when light and rain/sleet mix when heavy. Temperature at my window started out near 40 and is now down to 35. Probably changes to more of that chilly, nasty rain this afternoon. Amounts are light; if all snow this storm wouldn't amount to more than 3-6 inches at most. This is not enough to close Metro above ground, you need 8 inches of snow to do that. This storm would not be a Federal shutdown.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 18, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Will there be a break in the action this afternoon so I can walk over to my bank to make deposit? I am in NE DC.

Posted by: jojo2008 | February 18, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

43 degrees and sun breaking through the clouds at noon. Only .05" total qp.

I have been away for a couple hrs. and upon returning I have noticed reaction from the CapGang to my earlier comments and wish to respond:

Ian - I have never suggested anyone with the CapGang to be hyping anything. I am at a loss to understand your reasoning! My statement last night verbatim: "The 12z Euro that is creating so much hype is just that, HYPE". I certainly don't believe you or anyone else would perceive the CapGang to be the 12z Euro.

A definition of hype would be excessive promotion or speculation.

Jason: I think we both would agree that the GGEM would have likely been completely discounted if the ECMWF had not advertised the Bomb yesterday afternoon. Once the coveted Euro proclaimed a big storm to be on the way, promotion and speculation throughtout the weather discussion community went into overdrive until the 00z runs came out late last night. This has happened on several other occasions this winter and has always been a failed promotion that has ended in disappointment.

Consistency over several runs is of course impressive, but even that has often been a failure this winter.

Finally, the CapGang in my opinion usually does an excellent job of offering caveats to major storm threats.

Keep up the good work!!

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 18, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I must say that there was a whole lot of sleet pinging off the windows here at work for a while. Though now its back to rain and theres no trace of any of the dusting we had when I walked in. Still made for a nice walk in the snow on my way in. (Without an umbrella I might add, how topical)

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Update: 31.8F in the Blue Ridge Mtns with freezing fog.

Here's a picture:

Posted by: spgass1 | February 18, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Sun/Mon storm can be written off now.

Models are not just backing off, they're turning and running from the storm.

The good news is...

Only 30 more days til spring!!!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 18, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Augusta Jim -- Thanks for the explanation ... sometimes us forecasters can be a bit defensive (often for good reason!). Your comments and analysis are always interesting and welcome.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

NWS was reporting some instability in the warm sector, west of us, in the mountains, and some thunder. Anybody get any thunder east of the mountains?

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 18, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Had to camcel another fishing trip 2 the 301 Bridge 2day, due 2 the stinkin wind. More wind on Thur. & Fri., if the win dosen't blow, I may have 2 go against my rule of not fishing on weekends. I can take the rain or snow but not the wind.
Never had any confidence in a storm 4 next week, & after Sat. the chances 4 anymore snow in Feb goes to 0.
Even if today would have been all snow it wouldn't have amounted to much.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 18, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, Augusta Jim. I sometimes wonder if it's even worth including model stuff in the PM Updates, but in the end it often proves something interesting to talk about even if we all know it's unlikely to occur.

P.S. some speculation the NAM was headed toward a big storm at hr 84+... ;-)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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