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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/22/2009

Forecast: Cold, and dry...until Christmas

By Matt Rogers

Risk for icy conditions on Christmas morning

* How did the snowstorm happen? | Locals react and stats *
* 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.
5Cloudier, still cold, and more people must return to work (sorry!). Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Mostly cloudy. 35-39. | Tonight: Clearing skies with colder temperatures. 13-23. | Tomorrow: More sunshine, but still cold. 34-37. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Like yesterday, we should get a few more hours of melting; however, we will have less assistance from sunshine due to a minor disturbance enhancing cloud cover at times. Clearing and slightly colder weather arrives tonight and tomorrow before the clouds arrive for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is still looking a bit tricky due to concern about possible morning frozen precipitation.

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 (Tuesday): Mostly cloudy skies with continued cold weather today. Look for highs in the mid-to-upper 30s with winds from the west and northwest at about 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Clearing skies are expected with a reinforcement of colder conditions. Lows should be found in the teens in the suburbs with low-to-mid 20s in the city. Light winds. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the holiday weekend....

Snow piles high Saturday in NW D.C. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Mostly sunny skies return with light, but cold, breezes from the northwest. Highs should range mainly through the middle 30s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Mostly clear skies are again expected so temperatures should fall again into the teens in the suburbs with low-to-mid 20s for the city along with continued light breezes. Confidence: Medium


Christmas Eve Thursday will still be a cold day with highs in the 30s and we should see some increase in clouds, especially in the afternoon. Light winds should be coming from the north and northeast. Look for cloudy skies with lows in the 20s to low 30s Thursday night. Confidence: Medium

Christmas Day Friday is expected to see light rain developing in the morning, but there is a chance that precipitation could begin as a mixture of freezing rain and sleet. The best chance for mixed precipitation is in the far western suburbs over to the Shenandoah Valley. However, there is certainly a risk for problems throughout the area. By afternoon, mixed precipitation should change to rain. Look for highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. More rain is expected on Christmas night with temperatures holding steady. Confidence: Low

The weekend could start off with rain yet again on Saturday morning before a cold front sweeps the area. Look for highs in the 40s on Saturday with colder temperatures (highs 30s) arriving again on Sunday with partly to mostly sunny skies. Lows should be in the 30s Saturday morning and 20s (teens outer suburbs) by Sunday morning. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | December 22, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Melt, freeze, repeat...
Next: The evolution of a monster D.C. area snowstorm


All I want for Christmas is a sump pump.

Posted by: BDVienna | December 22, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

That minor disturbance you mentioned looks interesting on radar. I'm guessing much of the precipitation is not reaching the ground --

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Yes...what is all of that precip overhead (virga) as well as coming from the Mid-West? With the way the jet stream is could this unexpected precip spin off the coast later today or tonight and develop into something?!?!?!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 22, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

This energy is moving along fairly quickly so no real opportunity to "spin-up" into any problems it seems.

Posted by: MattRogers | December 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Is the Christmas precip trending later? I thought it was originally scheduled to start Thursday night.

Posted by: dmasher1 | December 22, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Since I'm going to be gone a week starting tomorrow, I'm looking to around New Years... Let's do another?! ;-)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The NWS is SLOOOOWLY trending towards a huge ice storm Christmas Day here in the Shenandoah Valley.

What does the CWG think?

Posted by: kaygeejay | December 22, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

No, let's NOT do another.

Sorry, but enough is enough. This one has wreaked enough havoc. Don't want or need another.

And now it looks as though Christmas with my family in the Shenandoah Valley might be cancelled too due to an ice storm. That's just great.

And people wonder why I despise winter.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 22, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

We're supposed to leave early on Christmas morning to drive up the PA turnpike to Michigan but I'm concerned about the timing. Should we leave later in the morning to avoid the freezing rain? The forecast for select cities along the way (Breezewood, Pitt, Cleveland) all show warm enough temps for rain rather than ice, but is there still a risk of freezing rain I’m looking at last minute flights just in case but wouldn’t know what time would be best to fly given the weather. Any advice?

Posted by: sophiamaria | December 22, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The precipitation is trending slower and slower so Christmas morning travel is looking better and better (especially the earlier you go). Once you get west of Appalachians, should be well warm enough for rain (up to Michigan), but those valleys like Shenandoah still pose a significant icing risk by midday to later on Friday.

Posted by: MattRogers | December 22, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

YES----LET'S DO ANOTHER...and on New Year's Eve! Yes!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 22, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse


Indeed the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day precip has been trending a bit later. As of now, best estimate on start time is anywhere from late Thursday night to midday Friday.


There could easily be some icing in the immediate D.C. metro area at least during the early part of the upcoming storm. Icing potential for the Shenandoah looks even more troublesome with the potential for higher precip totals there during the early part of the storm and cold air likely hanging on longer, possibly much longer, then closer to D.C.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Whew. Just finished clearing off the porch roof which had at least a 3 foot drift on top of it. Good thing, because my back is just about gone from shoveling our place and some of our older neighbors for the last few days.

If some of this doesn't melt much before the weekend storm(s) then we are in for a big old sloppy mess this weekend.

Loved the storm, hate the cleanup, but I'll still cheer for the next snow!! (Probably need to see someone about this).

Posted by: dprats21 | December 22, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Ian -- No. Just no. Take that model away right now and go to your room. :P

I'm sorry, I love snow as much as the next weather/snow geek, but 2 feet at once was way too much. I loved it when it was falling, but having to shovel it was horrible. I hurt in places I didn't know I had, thanks to that snow. Not to mention I slipped a few times.

I've had enough for one year. You guys can wait until I go back to Mobile AL for Spring Semester to have more snow (leaving January 6 or 7th). Okay? Please? :P

If you guys can't wait until I leave to have snow, could you at least make sure it doesn't drift up the side of our car?

I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall, and I was standing about 4 feet from the car for that pic, and I was still up to my waist in snow.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's something for Andrew Freeman and Mr. Q. ...:

Last night there was an Eastern Weather Forums thread posted about the "carbon footprint" of Man's Best Friend. A New Zealand author has written a book about the carbon impact of our pets.

Evidently the ownership of one dog leaves a greater yearly carbon footprint than the ownership of one SUV. This is largely due to the carbon released to the atmosphere in producing the meat and cereal needed to feed one dog for one year.

If you own a cat, the carbon-footprint ratio is 0.15. This is equivalent to driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year.

A hypothetical person with two dogs and seven cats leaves a carbon footprint equivalent to the ownership of a fleet of seven or eight cars.

My sister has two chocolate Labrdors and two cats...about 4 or 5 cars' equivalent.
My other sister has a cat and two dogs, about 3 cars' worth of annual carbon emissions.

Right now, I'm not sure how all these pets translate into added greenhouse gases. As I said, this is mainly the carbon produced in raising food for all these pets rather than the carbon dioxide they themselves are exhaling.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

We're supposed to leave DC Christmas morning, early, and drive to Pittsburgh. We're then supposed to drive back to DC Saturday morning, to arrive by noon. Are we up a creek?

Posted by: wendystengel | December 22, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

What is the best way to access info regarding icing and specific roads in the early hours of Friday? (going to Germantown, around 1:30am, from Great Falls, VA.) I can sleep over at the church where I'm singing, but I will want to know when is the safer option to leave for home: 2am or wait for the later morning hours.

Posted by: DebSings | December 22, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@weatherdudeVA: Great pic!

Posted by: joseph4 | December 22, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

This pastor is glad to hear that the storm is moving slowly, and that people looking to worship on Christmas Eve won't be scared away by "wintry mix" forecasts ...

Posted by: chrisduckworth | December 22, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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