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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/17/2009

Forecast: Cold is here, weekend snow threatens

By Josh Larson

Snow could be glancing blow or big hit

* Snow Lover's Crystal Ball | Send a virtual snowball *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
4Static electricity weather: another cold & dry day. Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Sunny, breezy & cold. 38-42. | Tonight: Partly cloudy and cold. 22-28. | Tomorrow: Becoming mostly cloudy. Cold. 37-41 | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


The next two days are easy: cold and dry. Sunny today; becoming mostly cloudy tomorrow. Highs again struggling to reach above 40, with lows in the 20s. Then things get interesting -- very interesting. An area of low pressure we've been watching for several days is poised to develop over the Gulf of Mexico and then push northward. Ingredients: (1) low pressure; (2) plenty of cold air over our region. Likely outcome? Snow for the region late Friday night and Saturday, possibly lasting into early Sunday.

Today: Pretty much a repeat of yesterday. That means mostly sunny skies, an occasional breeze of around 10 mph, and continued cold afternoon highs struggling for the 40-degree mark. Confidence: High

Tonight: It will be partly cloudy tonight with overnight lows ranging from the low 20s in the coldest spots to the upper 20s downtown. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the potentially snowy weekend forecast...

Tomorrow (Friday): We'll likely start out with mostly sunny skies early in the day on Friday, but I expect that skies will become partly to mostly cloudy by afternoon as the aforementioned storm system to our south begins to send moisture our way. Afternoon highs again will be in the upper 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: It will be cloudy, but dry through around midnight, with temperatures dropping through the 30s. There is a 50% chance of snow after midnight. Overnight lows will eventually drop to the upper 20s across most of the area. Confidence: Medium


Snow lovers and snow haters, alike, pray for your respective preferred outcome. Praying aside, it's looking more and more likely to me that (possibly significant) accumulating snow is a decent (60%) bet on Saturday as a coastal area of low pressure spins off the eastern seaboard. (See the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball for details.) Highs -- depending on precipitation's presence and/or intensity -- will likely range from the upper 20s to mid-30s. Snow may continue overnight, with lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium

Depending on exactly how our storm system develops, there may be some lingering snow showers or flurries Sunday morning, but this is far from a sure bet. It may just be mostly cloudy and breezy. Either way, expect highs in the low-to-mid 30s. Clearing skies and breezy conditions are probable Sunday night, with lows in the low-to-mid 20s (probably colder than this if there is snow cover). Confidence: Low-Medium

The outlook for Monday is for partly to mostly sunny skies, possibly breezy conditions, and continued cold readings. Highs likely won't make it out of the 30s, with overnight lows again in the 20s (probably teens if there is snow cover). Confidence: Medium

By Josh Larson  | December 17, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Weekend snow prospects increase


Bob Ryan's forecast last night said that people south of the District (like Fredericksburg) would be more likely hit with accumulation than those North of the District. Any truth to this? Will snow get up to Baltimore?

Posted by: daft_cheeky | December 17, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse


Yes. Agree with Bob that highest chances for the bigger accumulations will be south and southeast of here... At least that's the way it looks right now. This could change.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 17, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It will be really interesting to see if the models come to consensus about the merging of the jets, and if so, where. Wouldn't mind seeing a little more negative tilt to this, either. Fun day for model watching!

Posted by: curtmccormick | December 17, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

One last thing - anybody else getting suspicious this might be a much bigger deal than we were thinking even 24 hours ago? Like I said yesterday, you'd have to be crazy to see these maps and not be suspicious of a potential big event. I could easily see this thing riding up the coast to be honest. That low parked over Nova Scotia reminds me of the weather map of March 12, 2003. Only two jets phasing, not three, I get that part, but the low pressure and the gradient between it and the high pressure looks very similar. Perfect set-up for cold air bleeding and cyclogensis.

Not a forecast, just a thought. Or perhaps mere wishcasting; we'll see.

Posted by: curtmccormick | December 17, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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