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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 12/25/2009

Forecast: Soggy through Christmas night

By Camden Walker

* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall | Traffic *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
1Only Christmas spirit saves today's icy threat and cold rain from the ol' goose egg!
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Light a.m. ice, then cold rain. 34-39. | Tonight: Rain. 38-43 | Tomorrow: Rain ends during the morning. 46-50. | Sunday: Partly sunny. Mid-40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Our Christmas storm system comes to us with warmer air than the snowstorm last weekend. But not warm enough to avoid the threat of light freezing rain this morning, before temperatures warm and precipitation changes to plain rain through tonight and into tomorrow. Sunday night could send another small dose of wintry weather our way. Things should calm down with some sun for the start of the last work week (for those actually working) of the year.

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

Today (Christmas Day): Not the best of travel times. The morning brings a chance of light freezing rain, mainly for areas north and west of the Beltway through around 10 or 11 a.m. (iciness likely lasts longer out toward the Blue Ridge along I-81). Then, just plain cold rain, moderate at times during the afternoon as temperatures warm to the mid-to-upper 30s. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Rain continues this evening and overnight. Be careful on your way to and from Christmas night festivities in low-lying, flood-prone areas. Temperatures hover in the upper 30s to low 40s with breezes picking up to 10-20 mph from the east. Confidence: Medium

When will the weather calm down? Keep reading for the forecast into next week...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Cloudy with rain ending during the morning. Highs will be milder, in the mid-40s to near 50. Breezes become more northerly as the storm exits. Total storm rainfall should be less than 1 inch. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Some clearing skies and cooling temperatures. Light northwesterly winds usher in colder and drier air overnight. Lows dip to the upper 20s (suburbs) to low-to-mid 30s (downtown). Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday: Partly sunny skies? We'll take it. We need to dry out, melt any remaining pesky snow, and warm up just a bit. How about highs in the mid-40s. It's a start, right? Confidence: Medium


A bit of snow or rain threatens Sunday night (40% chance) as a weak weather system moves overhead and lows drop to around the freezing mark. Snow accumulation, if any, should be under 1 inch. Confidence: Low

Cold and breezy on Monday with highs in the upper 30s. Hopefully we'll see more sun than clouds, assuming the small Sunday night system moves by at a fast enough clip. Confidence: Low-Medium

Sunshine should prevail on Tuesday but we stay cold with highs in the 30s. Still, any days we can dry out, we'll take. Confidence: Medium

Updated Friday Dec. 25 @ 10:20 p.m.

By Camden Walker  | December 25, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: A slick then sloppy Christmas
Next: Forecast: Drying out, relatively mild


It's still dry in Centreville VA but with a temp of 27 degrees (it was 24 when we went to bed last night) anything that comes down will absolutely be freezing or will freeze on contact.
I predict a messy, dangerous morning. Stay in folks....happy holidays!

Posted by: cville4 | December 25, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

And what about Thursday/Friday?? Any more insight as to what weather we could have?

Posted by: Murre | December 25, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

8 a.m. I have to drive from Arlington to Vienna. Looks awful out there. Any weather-related traffic advisories?

Posted by: chunche | December 25, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

@chunche, according to, not at this time.

Posted by: Murre | December 25, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Although it appears on various weather radars that frozen precip is overspreading Fairfax county, in Centreville VA we have nothing going on. Sidewalks are is very overcast.

Posted by: cville4 | December 25, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

It appears to be dry in Silver Spring too.

Posted by: Murre | December 25, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

maybe a BBW can push my car if it gets stuck in a snowbank?

Posted by: chunche | December 25, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Hi all, I hope everyone along the I-81 corridor in the Blue Ridge will be driving very safely. Winchester has freezing rain and a little snow mixed in at 26 degrees. eesh. But luckily for the Beltway & I-95 corridor, temperatures are warming above freezing and the precipitation is very scant.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

25.3 degrees at 9:30 with freezing rain beginning. Up 2 degrees since 5 am.

HAPPY HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 25, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Happy holidays, AugustaJim...hang in there. Should thaw around 5pm there? Keep us posted!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Small favor, CWG...I tried to find it, but couldn't -- but do you know how much rain fell the last time we had the snow-then-rain flooding situation? (22 Feb 2003)

We had significant basement flooding from the street storm line and lost everything.

We are insured (and have picked up everything off the basement floor), but I was just trying to find a comparison.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | December 25, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

11 am - 27.0 degrees in the Valley, intermittent light freezing rain, walkways and pavement glazed with ice.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 25, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

the radar has been a faker all day. i first looked at it about 4 am and thought, boy are we in for it. why is this??

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | December 25, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

deveinmadison :
That's called virga (precip. aloft at the radar scan elevation that is evaporating before reaching the surface.)

That is a common problem in my area because I am over 100 miles from the nearest radar site.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 25, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse


On Feb 22, 2003 -- we had 2.27" of rain at DCA on top of 6" of snow... Here's a good link for past weather information:

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jason.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | December 25, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

On Feb 22, 2003, I remember a lot more than 6" of snow on the ground in the suburbs during that rainstorm. We had terrible basement flooding in my area as the snow actually formed dams around some homes, preventing the water from taking the normal drainage channels. I doubt we'll see anything like that tonight.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas!!!

The problem: Getting this darned RAIN instead of additional snow cover is like getting coals from Santa! Since AugustaJim reports temperatures well below freezing out there I suspect that ThinkSpring is the main MuchUnneeded factor messing around with my Christmas wishes. At least the mess hasn't started here in Columbia Heights West yet. When it does, I'm afraid that mild temperatures and rain will wash away my white Christmas.

At least the preliminary extended forecast is holding out some hope. It seems to be promising us another Knickerbocker-track system for New Years Eve into New Years Day. One caveat: It says the pattern in Canada "differs" from that preceding the Snowpocalypse blizzard. Since I'm unable to get into Crown Weather's U.S. page at this time, I'm unable to see the prelim's projected frontal positions for next week. At this time, however the models seem to jump around a lot. Last night's position depicted low pressure in the right areas south of us but it appeared to be rather weak.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 25, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

No precipitation at all yet in Vienna as of 1 PM Christmas Day, at least at the surface. So far, it seems like the whole system is by-passing us to the NW, though there does seem to be some stuff off to the SW moving this general direction.

According to the forecast, the rain/freezing rain should have started some hours ago. I think most of it is just evaporating, although the surface dew point seems to be coming up now east of the mountains.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | December 25, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

1pm - 29.5 degrees with freezing rain and sleet.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 25, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Merry (Holiday Name Redacted So I Don't Get Sued) Everyone!

Nice cold cloudy day here in Lake Ridge. Not a drop of rain to be seen. I did enjoy my first White (Holiday Name Redacted) ever, though. :)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 25, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Just checked out the prelim. maps...The system next week isn't quite as strong as last week's storm, but tracks roughly from Mobile, AL to Cape Hatteras, NC from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. Depending on our temperatures we could get a few inches of snow or snow/ice/rain on New Years Eve.

In addition, Mesoscale Discussion #2300 depicts a blizzard today in South Dakota and Nebraska with winds of 55-60 mph. The area includes DeSmet, SD where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived through the "Long Winter" of 1887/88. In Nebraska, Lincoln and Omaha will see blizzard conditions today.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 25, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

AugustJim, thanks for the update. Hope it is not too hairy out there...
For those of you along/near I-95 & I-495, be thankful you are mostly dry--unlike the I-81 corridor which is getting a bit of ice, unfortunately.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Here's a nominee for the Christmas bust of 2009: WGN-TV which seems to have truncated its noon news in favor of some sort of holiday-movie reprise--the kind of thing I call "human-interest pap".

Frankly we weather enthusiasts don't like it very much whenever Bozo the Clown bumps Tom Skilling...!!!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 25, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

haha, a great holiday story :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, 6" of snow on the ground was mainly the streets of DC (a week after the storm). The ground had more than that I'm reasonably sure.

Posted by: ah___ | December 25, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Still messy around.. even in downtown DC. Now the rain will really mix-in some slushy conditions

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Blue Ridge Update (east of Front Royal)

Temp now above freezing 32.4F
Negligible precip so far today... just some freezing fog that coated some cobwebs and the porch screens.

Hope everyone's having a Merry Christmas!

Posted by: spgass1 | December 25, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Actually, drizzle has started...

Posted by: spgass1 | December 25, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

3pm - Finally above freezing at 32.9. Rain continues but the ice is melting. Still have 12-15 inches of snow.

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 25, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Rain is faling at about one tenth per hour, temp is 34, and wind is calm at Winchester.

Posted by: refrep | December 25, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi refrep, thanks for reporting from winchester. I had relatives driving up there this afternoon and was worried about conditions; but sounds like all is melted now! I noticed it did take a long while for temps to warm above freezing...ah, those stubborn pools of cold, dense air.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 25, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

well Maybe January is going to shape up worse than December, the GFS and other models have consistently showed a similar coastal,like the blizzard of 09 storm,possibly late next week, this is something to watch

Posted by: redskinsfan01 | December 25, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

well Maybe January is going to shape up worse than December, the GFS and other models have consistently showed a similar coastal,like the blizzard of 09 storm,possibly late next week, this is something to watch

Posted by: redskinsfan01 | December 25, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Some flood warning. I got less that .25 inches and the rain is over.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 25, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

This storm for late next week, while not being a given, is also missing a High pressure system up north in Ontario. It is my understanding that our snowiest scenarios usually have a High pressure system somewhere up north in Canada in the vicinity of eastern Ontario that funnels cold air down the east coast and keeps the cold air in place so we get more snow, as opposed to a wintry mix or snow to rain scenario as the Low pushes warm air north with the precipitation. Remains to be seen.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 25, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Just drove back from Annapolis in steady moderate rain - lots of snow gone already. We had no rain on the trip over (started fron Herndon around 2 pm), but the real stress-builder was that there was ground fog all the way, getting worse as we got farther east. I'm surprised no one else mentioned the fog - did anyone else notice it?

Posted by: fsd50 | December 25, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Fsd50, I also noticed the fog. We had freezing fog this morning. Drove through some fog this afternoon and evening on the way to and from my parents' house. Glad you had a safe trip!

Posted by: spgass1 | December 25, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Most of the precipitation has moved N and E, but the back edge of it seems stuck fairly stubbornly over Fairfax, Loudoun and parts of Prince William county at midnight. Must be delayed, wrap-around stuff from the small low that formed south of here.

And, yes, FSD50......I had a lot of fog this morning and most of the afternoon. Whenever you have a lot of snowpack with moist, mild air and light winds moving over the top of it, you're going to get fog. It was the same way after the big blizzard of 1996, when 50-60 degree air moved over it and we had dense fog and a rapid melt.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | December 26, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes, do be careful in the patchy ground fog. Not great to drive in, at all. ugh.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 26, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

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