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Posted at 8:20 AM ET, 02/11/2009

Forecast: Weather Smorgasbord Starts Off Warm

By Dan Stillman

Showers tonight, high winds tomorrow. Wintry weekend?

* Warm Weather a Mood-Changer? Vote in Our Poll | Australian Fires *


Today: Partly sunny and increasingly breezy. 68-73 | Tonight: Chance of gusty showers. Thunder? Upper 40s to low 50s. | Tomorrow: Wind gusts to near 50 mph. Partly to mostly sunny. Mid-to-upper 50s. | A Look Ahead


First things first: You must budget some time to get outside today. It'll feel a lot like Sunday did with afternoon highs at least in the upper 60s. As for the forecast as a whole? Well, there's a little something for everyone, with unusual warmth today, a chance of showers and thunder tonight, wild winds tomorrow, cooler weather as the week goes on, and the potential for that good 'ol wintry mix this weekend.

Temperatures: Current area temperatures. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Refresh page to update. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Wednesday): An increasing breeze from the south/southwest (near 15-20 mph in the afternoon with higher gusts) and partly sunny skies should warm us to afternoon highs in the upper 60s, maybe some readings in the low 70s. Just a slight chance of a daytime sprinkle or passing shower. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: We'll stay very breezy and quite warm with evening temperatures in the 60s and upper 50s, but with a more significant chance of showers (maybe some thunder) from sunset through at least midnight. Skies begin to clear overnight or toward dawn as lows drop to the upper 40s to low 50s. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the Valentine's Day/Presidents Day Weekend. Also, tell us how the warm weather makes you feel.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The storm system expected to bring us some wind-swept showers tonight intensifies as it moves through the northeast U.S. tomorrow. We'll be in its wake, which will mean wild winds from the west -- sustained around 25-35 mph with gusts to near 50 mph. The wind will dominate what otherwise would have been a pretty nice day with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-to-upper 50s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Winds should gradually diminish, but still we're looking at a breezy night with mostly clear skies and lows generally in the low 30s. Confidence: Medium-High


Friday should finish the work week less windy and partly sunny with highs in the upper 40s to near 50. Friday night, lows in the upper 20s to low 30s with increasing clouds overnight or toward morning. Confidence: Medium-High

The holiday weekend forecast gets off to an unceratain start Saturday and Sunday as a couple areas of precipitation combined with highs in the 30s to near 40 could result in some periods of wintry mix. The details are fuzzy for now, but we may issue a Snow Lover's Crystal Ball later today if we think there's enough potential for accumulating snow. Confidence: Low

The weather should quiet down on Monday, but we stay cold and potentially windy with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. Confidence: Medium

In the extended range, there are some preliminary indications that another chance of wintry precipitation could come midweek next week.

By Dan Stillman  | February 11, 2009; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Warming Changes Where Birds Wait Out Winter


Nice post Dan! Not sure if I want to see winds that high tomorrow, ground is pretty saturated out my way and would hate to see what 50+ mph winds might do. Holding out up though for some white stuff on Saturday.

Posted by: MikefromtheBlueRIdge | February 11, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Doug Hill on ABC7 last night mentioned the possibility of a two week "parade" of winter storms beginning this Saturday.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse


There is definitely some potential for a significant winter storm next week. The overall pattern looks promising, and historically, it's near the time of year we've experienced some of our big storms. But if this winter hasn't taught us how difficult it is for a good snow event to materialize here, we haven't learned anything...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The Euro, which is consistently the best medium-longer range model, has shown potential mid -to-late next week for a few days. Last nights run was a pretty big snow event. Another few days and I might be ready to believe. Could we see winter turnaround right near the end?

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

In my view, we could use ANY type of precipitation around here right now. Just checking around my yard, the ground is VERY dry. CapWxGang, are we behind for the year? I would suspect we are by a significant amount.

And to preempt Bombo - please tell me how I could be a "drought alarmist" while you claim we are getting "less snow around here than we used to"? Think about it - January was extremely cold by DC standards, yet we are getting "less snow around here than we used to." That must mean we didn't get much precip, right? Tell me I wrong, but back it up with data. I'm so tired of the global warming = less snow argument. All it is going to do is hurt the case for taking action on global warming when the weather patterns turn and we get a snowy winter or two.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 11, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

CapWeatherGang, if you do a post on precip like SouthsideFfx suggests, please include the western counties. I have similar observations as BRMike. A lot of the gravel got plowed off the road during the last snow and now it's a muddy mess. We got a couple of brief showers last night, but nothing significant. This evening should be interesting with warnings of 60mph gusts in the mountains.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

In addition to what spgass1 said, alot of the precip we have gotten (snow/rain) was trapped in the surface area of the ground by the cold January (frozen). The recent temps have literally turned the dirt roads (without the gravel) into a thick, sloppy gravy...I filled bird feeders yesterday and each step I took sunk about 2-3 inches.

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

Speaking of dry ground there were several brush fires in the upper part of Montgomery County and also in Frederick County on Sunday when it was so windy.

Posted by: MKadyman | February 11, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Hasn't the Euro had this "big" storm in the Day 8-9 range for several runs now. It never seems to advance closer time-wise, but stays in that same time frame. (i.e. keeps getting pushed back) Any reason why this is happening?

Obviously, the margin of error for the models in that time period is high, so I'm only taking it with a grain of salt at this time.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 11, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I've got a flight out of IAD (to the UK) at 9:15 tonight - just wondering whether this evening's stormy weather is likely to make for a delayed and/or bumpy takeoff? And since people have already been bringing up next week's winter storm: we're scheduled to fly back next Thursday evening, any chance this potential storm might be big enough to shut down the airports?

Posted by: wanker16 | February 11, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, yes the Euro has shown quite a few day 7+ threats this winter that have not materialized in this area. I've personally been burned by believing it even within 5 days since it has a pretty good track record, so I'd wait a bit longer before getting too excited. I'm not sure specifically why it shows threats in the longer range like it does. I do believe climatology is factored into many if not all computre models, so it might be just trending toward what 'can be possible' during this time of year once it's outside the shorter and more accurate range.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Interesting how scarce the global warming denialists have been here for the past week. Of course, this spate of warm *weather* (near 70F on February 11th today) isn't any more important toward that issue than the bitter cold spell we had two weeks ago. What matters is the long term trends. And those are up, and predicted to keep going that way.

My point here is to fix in people's heads this week's extreme weather, so that when it dips to 50 some day in June and the head-in-sand folks start squawking, you will remember to ask them whether they were in DC in February, 2009.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 11, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Am I missing something or are folks ignoring a beautiful day today and instead speculating about something that may or may not happen next week?

Posted by: steske | February 11, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

i enjoy this kind of weather - in april and may... now, i just see it as warming up the ground making any SNOW that may fall next week less likely to stick.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 11, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse


Well said. Headed outside right now for a LONGGGGGG lunch. It's fantastic outside today!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 11, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Plenty of cirrus spissatus this morning, another halo. We've now had three days with solar or lunar halos, but little precipitation.

Yes, Southside FFX, we've been rather dry--and that's cutting down on snow. However, we're not in a state of severe drought; the closest "severe drought" area to us is located east and southeast of Chattanooga where the Carolinas and Georgia meet. The problem I see is that we are getting rain whenever I need to be running some errand that I can't postpone--in fact you can almost predict the rough weather for those times when I have a dance night or a library book due @ Arlington Central which I've already renewed twice! Thus far this week, I've been lucky. We might get a good rain tonight but only a half inch or so. It seems that the ordinary showers, etc. always pass north of us or south of us--except when I have to be outside in it! Things should get interesting next month with the "normal" March winds. [This is holding true even though I'm retired and don't need to run to the office every day. For some reason Ballston makes rainy, windy weather worse!]

Speaking of March winds they seem to be starting up today and tomorrow [Global warming?].

There are a couple of interesting storms SW of us a few days ahead. I suspect that southeasterly flow will keep us from anything significant as winter precipitation goes.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 11, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, the rain/snow shouldn't affect my weekend dances much--but that Metro Pentagon shutdown sure will!!! Why does Metro have to keep committing such PR gaffes as cutting the Blue and Yellow lines in two on a three day weekend covering (1) Valentine's Day and (2) Presidents' Day??? [They've scared us enough with that late-night "service cutbacks" scare for July!!!]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Jason - you mention "historically" in terms of the time of year for a big storm. Is there any valid pattern to specific times (i.e. early February vs. late December), or is it all pretty random - a clean slate each winter?

Posted by: someonelikeyou | February 11, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So according to we're under a Fire Weather Watch? I didn't even know there was such a thing.

Posted by: rjnickoli | February 11, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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