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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 02/ 3/2009

Forecast: Three Wintry Days, Flakes at Times

By Matt Rogers

Little accumulation; big weekend warming looms

* School Delays *

9:15 a.m. update: Snow band has expanded a bit into Montgomery County, but is now showing signs that it will gradually diminish -- probably in the next couple hours. Accumulations of 1/2 inch or so on grassy areas is most likely with some spots a little higher or lower (e.g. on the edges of the band).

8 a.m. update: Narrow band of snow over eastern Fairfax County, the District, PG County, to the northeast, and south to just east of Fredericksburg. Should last for another hour or so, and will be enough to coat the ground -- mainly grassy area.


Today: Scattered snow showers or flurries. 32-36. | Tonight: Flurries. 18-22. | Tomorrow: Chance of flurries. 29-33. | A Look Ahead


The next three days should be dominated by winter at its fullest with cold daytime highs that struggle to get near or above freezing, frequently windy conditions, lots of clouds, and snow showers/flurries. But if you find the winter conditions miserable or lasting just a wee bit too long, take heart for the upcoming weekend with warm conditions (60s!) and more sunshine.

Radar: Latest mid-Atlantic radar loop from the National Weather Service. Click on image to expand, or here to zoom. Refresh page to update. What's UTC?

Today (Tuesday): Snow showers should be around and about especially this morning (50% chance), with a chance for a coating to a half inch mainly on grassy areas around the metro area. Up to a couple inches could fall east of the Chesapeake Bay where a winter weather advisory is in effect. Temperatures will stay in the 30s throughout the area with variably cloudy skies. Don't be surprised if you see a little sun this afternoon. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Look out for a few scattered snow showers or flurries in the area (30% chance). Temperatures will drop and the winds will feel like they are dropping further. We should see lows of 17-23 throughout the area with wind chills well down into the teens. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Low pressure will be leaving the East Coast and it will leave behind gusty winds, more flurries, plenty of intermittent clouds, and temperatures barely scratching at the freezing mark area-wide. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: By this point, we should start to see some clearing and temperatures will only respond by dropping even lower. Look for lows in the 15-19 range with winds still from the north at 10-15 mph resulting in some single digit wind chills. Confidence: Medium


On Thursday, we will still be contending with the cold conditions but less wind. Partly cloudy skies with highs in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Friday will begin setting the stage for a wonderful weekend with temperatures punching upward into the mid-to-upper 40s throughout the area and plenty of sunshine. Lows Friday morning should still be chilly though with lower to middle 20s. Confidence: Medium

The weekend looks fantastic right now with west to southwest breezes, frequent sunshine, and temperatures soaring into the lower 60s in most areas. Do not be surprised to see some warmer spots on Sunday although we'll need to watch a backdoor cold front not far to the north. Outside of this past Sunday, this could easily be our best weekend in weeks. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | February 3, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Snow Coating Western Suburbs, Heading East
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Sorry, couldn't resist ;) But Fauquier, Spotsy, Stafford and Culpeper have 2 hour delays, so enjoy that. We in PWC know how to weather a true winter storm, so we're open on time. Obama mere presence has instilled that flinty Chicago toughness in us, I guess.

To the untrained eye, it doesn't look like anything happened here in Lake Ridge. I may need to go out with a magnifying glass to investigate, but I do believe we got jack squat. Oh well, better luck next 'storm.' I do have to hand it to you guys, you called it. Dusting - 1 inch, if that.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 3, 2009 6:11 AM | Report abuse

What on EARTH!?

I just went outside and there's about a half inch of snow on the sidewalks and cars. I completely retract my jack squat statement. There is absolutely NO SNOW out back, but out front it's a winter wonderland (relatively speaking). What gives? Hmm.

Sorry for the double comment

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 3, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

What did we learn from this "storm?" Pay NO attention to models until the storm is about a day and a half away.

Yes, the models told us about a system moving up the costs. But they are worthless in terms of how much precipitation we will get more than a day out.


Posted by: PoorTeacher | February 3, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of sounding "snow obsessed" (a fair call) so, like, when can we next go through this painful anticipation/let down cycle next? Any hope for the immediate long term?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 3, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

We have a coating of snow in western Fairfax County. It's not much to measure but I'm guessing it's about an eighth of an inch.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi Manassas Missy. It looks like we'll be taking a break from major winter weather threats after this one. We have a nice warm weekend on the way and a generally warmer next week too. The next chance for significant snow could be around President's Day weekend or more likely the week after that when cold weather returns once more. I don't believe winter is over yet...Groundhog agrees I guess. -Matt Rogers, CWG

Posted by: mrwx1 | February 3, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

12-24" here in falls church - still coming down hard. can't even see across the street. surprisingly, schools are open and people are going about their normal business, acting like it's just a dusting.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

A narrow band of light to moderate snow has set up in eastern Fairfax County and into the District. It will be enough to whiten the ground, and briefly reduce visibilities -- but should move to the east in the next hour or so...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"The next chance for significant snow could be around President's Day weekend"

Heh. That weekend seems to be the time whne we get the real storms that drop a foot or two.

Why, I remember, back in '79, when the town was shutdown for a week...

*mumble* *mumble*

Darn kids with their hippity hoppity music closing the schools for a quarter inch...

Gerroff my lawn!

Posted by: wiredog | February 3, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

beautiful snowing coming down all morning here in alex/arlington. However, nothing is sticking... oh what could have been!

Posted by: AnneinSand | February 3, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to say been a long time lurker, 1st time poster. Love your site, I'm a bit of a weather nutter especially come winter time.

I think many of us living in this area believe that if it's going to be cold and miserable it should also be accompanied with vast quantities of snow...hell even just one big snow would whet our appetitates..powers that be at CWG please dance harder to appease the snow gods!!

Posted by: BritBobinHerndon | February 3, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Dear Teachers and Kids:

Enjoy your day at WORK and SCHOOL!!!

Sorry, just had to :).

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 3, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

southside... I don't think anyone was talking about getting any snow days from this after about Friday of last week....? but thanks anyway for pissing on everyone. You sure do know how to brighten everyone's day. Why bother?

Posted by: AnneinSand | February 3, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

CWG... I guess I can take warmer temps. Been a little tiring this January (in general) with the cold temps and no snow.

Now if winter just comes back with a vengance around President's Day... i.e., snow... that will be worth it. :)

Posted by: MKoehl | February 3, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Snowing to beat the band here in Georgetown, but it's only sticking to the leftover ice from last week.

Posted by: lioninzion | February 3, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

My wedding anniversary is Feb. 13 and for the past several years we have had a snow/ice event that day. Here's hoping for another Anniversary Special!

Posted by: worldtraveler | February 3, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think there was more snow/sleet coming down last night on my way home from work than there was this morning. *Grumble*

Posted by: paul-Sterling | February 3, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

it sure was beautiful, for about 10 minutes this morning. late yesterday, reports of snow (not rain) from southwest of us got my hopes up again - and others' as well. people (emotional snowlovers, not meteorologists) were talking about/hoping for school closings.

congrats on all your many inches of snow.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I am just going to sit and hope for President's Day Storm III!

Posted by: jb41477 | February 3, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't mean to "rain" on anybody's parade but our window of opportunity for a major snow event in the DC area is rapidly coming to a close. I haven't lived here all my life but I've been here long enough (17 years) to observe some things, and one is that by mid-February the sun angle is already making it more difficult for precip. to fall as snow and, if it does, to stick on the ground. There have been exceptions--March 13, 1993, for one, when we got over a foot of snow throughout the region (I think it was the 13th). Other than that the latest major storm I can recall was the '03 President's Day storm. With this storm being a bust, and with the 7-day forecast indicating that there will be a major warming trend coming, I think we probably only have the one week after that for a decent chance of major snow. :-( I'm not saying we're all done with snow this year, but that it's quite possible now that our total accumulation for the season will remain at about 2 inches. But I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: markf40 | February 3, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Gorgeous REAL snow (light, fluffy, and none of the icy stuff)! Almost 2 inches. I'm only a couple miles over the PW line so there must be SOME snow over there .... Winds are already starting to pick up and the sun is shining.

Posted by: weathergrrl | February 3, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Markf40, another issue this year is that we have a La Niña in the Tropical Pacific and that typically prevents us from seeing the big snows. Yes, it can happen, but the best snow winters for us tend to happen toward especially weak El Niño periods (like the 2003 and 1993 cases you cited). There is speculation we may see a weak El Niño next winter..., MR, Capital Weather Gang

Posted by: mrwx1 | February 3, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

What a weird system this has been. Seems like a few miles can mean the difference between something and nothing! I was disappointed to wake up this morning with nothing on the ground in NW DC, but the snow started as I waited for the bus at 7:45 am and was beginning to accumulate on the grass and sidewalks when I began my commute. Downtown at Farragut North, it's been snowing since 8 am, mostly big, pretty flakes. I keep waiting for the snow to taper off, but it looks like this one band is sitting on us and refusing to move!

I'm not sure if there's been any accumulation downtown, but it sure is pretty to watch.

Posted by: jlspivey | February 3, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

We got 3.5" in Harrisonburg last night.

Posted by: oriolesfan23 | February 3, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Big flakes just flaoting around here near Union Station. Been snowing for about 2 hours now. But it's hardly enough to even make the ground wet, let alone white. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was the same flakes just making circles around our building over and over again... Sure looks nice though.

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | February 3, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

If we can't have the snow, then let's bring on the warm up. Looking forward to the forcasted breath of spring this weekend!

Posted by: dixiechick1 | February 3, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's turned into a beautiful day in Harrisonburg, with the snow on the trees and lots of sunshine

Posted by: drfrank22821 | February 3, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Panoramic view from our house in 22935:

Posted by: carrerascott | February 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Markf40, we're not done yet!!! Presidents' Day is still over a week away. But, I'm getting sick and tired of these puny little "spritzel" snows! What we need around here is a SNOW STIMULUS PACKAGE!!!

We can still get a "big one" well into March, [but it often doesn't last long]. Already I'm hearing the "drought weenies" whining and trying to rain on my dance dates. Hopefully, we'll keep that sort of action to a minimum this spring.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 3, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

4 inches at my place last night. Reports of 5-6 inches within 30 miles to our west and a half inch 30 miles in the opposite direction.

13 degrees at 7 am. A balmy 27 at 11:30.

Schools are closed in this area.

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 3, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for that--good point. '96 and '00 were also good snow years for us, with the back-to-back big storms in early January '96 being by far the best. And I hope you're right about '09/'10!


Posted by: markf40 | February 3, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse


Maybe Congress will add that line item, and since Obama wants us to be flinty I'm sure he'd sign it :-)

You're right, of course we can still get big snows, and I'm holding out hope. It's just that the deeper we get into February the less likely they become. It's mainly due to a combination of our low elevation and latitude--earlier in the season the mountain ridge to our west tends to steal the moisture from the clippers; then later in the season our latitude comes more into play--the sun angle is higher (we rarely get big snowstorms much before the winter solstice). Where I grew up the latitude was about 42 deg. N, and there the snow season extended a good two to three weeks longer (even there there weren't too many big snowstorms before the winter solstice). Here we're at 39 deg. N.--that's about 200 miles further south.

Posted by: markf40 | February 3, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Mark40, I agree with you..we are near done with the chances of big storms this year. But as a veteran of this board, I can tell you some folks will still be hoping for a snowstorm in mid-April...

Posted by: steske | February 3, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

At those latitudes, the main difference would be the position of the jet stream, and therefore the storm track. The difference in sun angle would be less than the difference between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | February 3, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

West Springfield (Accotink Lake/Mixing Bowl: 7am partial snow depth = 0.4"

Posted by: bikerjohn | February 3, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse


Thanks...I've seen some April snowstorms, but all of them were when I was living in New England (I saw one there May 9-10, 1977; we had 2 inches on the coast but inland there was a foot). And you're right--I haven't posted much in recent years (mostly because of the lack of snow) but I've seen the diehards on here hoping against hope for snow. :-)


I agree the jet stream has a lot to do with it, especially for full-blown snowstorms, but the sun angle comes into play from here on during lighter events--something that might produce an inch or two earlier in the season often results in nothing with the warmer ground and higher sun.


Posted by: markf40 | February 3, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the forecast was a bit off. It's been very sunny out there for a while. Looking at the temperature it's 39 degrees at DCA. It feels warmer here on Capitol hill. The general theme of all the forecasts was no snow but it will be a dank and cloudy day with some flurries thrown in to keep your spirits down.

Posted by: jojo2008 | February 3, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

jojo2008 -- Wouldn't say the forecast was all that off really. Yeah, highs are generally in the upper 30s instead of the mid 30s forecast. But the forecast directly above says "Don't be surprised if you see a little sun this afternoon."

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

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