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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/21/2009

Forecast: Cold, dry, and officially wintry

By Jason Samenow

Rain possible Christmas day

* Storm Video and Statistics | The Perfect Snowstorm *
* Report snow totals (view map) | NWS snowfall reports (view map) *
* The latest storm news, traffic, and cancellation info *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
7Snow, sunshine, and for many a welcome day off!
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Partly sunny and chilly. 34-38. | Tonight: Partly cloudy. 19-25. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly sunny. 35-39. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


It's strange to think today's the first official day of winter considering all of the cold and snow we experienced in so-called fall. Characteristic winter cold will continue for the next several days meaning just slow, gradual melting of our hefty snowpack. By late this week, more precipitation is on the way, but probably mostly in the form of rain. That will put a bigger dent in the snow cover but there should still be enough left for all to enjoy a white Christmas.

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 (Monday): After a cold night dipping to the teens in some locations, temperatures will rise modestly above freezing by afternoon. Most spots will max out in the mid-30s. There should be at least partial cloud cover mixed with sunshine. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Another cold one under partly cloudy skies. Lows will dip from around 20 in the colder suburbs to the mid-20s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the week...

A metro bus attempts to negotiate D.C.'s snow streets Saturday afternoon. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston

Tomorrow (Tuesday): The cold pattern continues with high temperatures again likely stuck in the 30s for highs. But a few spots may get close to 40 under partly to mostly sunny skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: With high pressure overhead, we'll have clear skies and light winds. This will allow temperatures to drop all the way into the mid-teens in some of the outlying suburbs with low 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High


Another partly to mostly sunny and chilly day Wednesday with temperatures edging closer to 40...a few spots could get there. Mostly clear and cold Wednesday night, with lows 20-25. Confidence: Medium-High

Clouds increase Thursday (Christmas Eve) ahead of the next storm system, with a chance of rain or mixed precipitation at night. Highs will be near 40 during the day, with overnight lows near freezing. Confidence: Low-Medium

Any mixed precipitation Thursday night will probably change to rain on Friday (Christmas Day) with highs in the 40s. The rain should gradually end Friday night, with lows in the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Low-Medium

Colder air will gradually trickle in over the weekend, but Saturday may be on the relatively mild side. Highs could reach well into the 40s under partly sunny skies. Partly sunny, breezy and colder Sunday, with highs 35-40. Confidence: Medium

By Jason Samenow  | December 21, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Washingtonians react to storm and storm stats
Next: How did this happen?


Good morning, Jason. How much rain is expected Friday?

I am a bit concerned about flooding with all the melting snow combined with Thursday-Friday's rain event.


Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 21, 2009 5:15 AM | Report abuse

I too am concerned about the potential for flooding throughout Friday and Saturday, especially if temperatures stay mild after Friday's rain. I think we're in for at least some localized flooding in Fairfax County; we've so many low-lying spots with poor drainage. The ground was saturated going into this storm as it was.

Posted by: --sg | December 21, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

What do you think the odds are that Montgomery county public schools will be closed tomorrow? Thanks

Posted by: samdman95 | December 21, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

It's hilarious how the comments slow down after the sun comes out.

I'm just still here waiting for Walter's snow-sculpture pics, myself.

Posted by: ChickenLady | December 21, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

thanks for that "shout out" on that earlier thread. yesterday i was harvesting from the driveway and sidewalk, making my (giant, this time) piles of snow. today, weather permitting (i need 32+ degrees), i'll try to build something.

there was that past thread about the "perfect storm". indeed, i'd say the snow part of this storm was darn near perfect. part of my criteria for the "perfect storm" would include it being about 40 degrees today, then, after the sculpture is done, have it drop to constant sub-freezing temps for a week....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 21, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

hi chickenlady,
thanks again. if all goes well, i will post with a link to pics this evening. (if it's not warm enough long enough, i may need to finish it tomorrow.) again, thanks for remembering. "see" ya.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 21, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Walter! Yes, I figured with this much snow, and no expectation of it melting quickly, you would take your time and do something really spectacular. I'll keep checking back!

Posted by: ChickenLady | December 21, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse


I DEFINITELY look forward to your photos of past years efforts and the one in the works! I hope all cooperates so we can see it today...;) Good Luck!!

Posted by: GMorg11 | December 21, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

what are the chances of this christmas eve/day rain thing will
1) go away (i.e. no precip), or
2) fall as snow?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 21, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Walter -- you're more likely to have the system slow down and arrive post Christmas Eve/Day than either of those two scenarios. The odds of getting snow out of this is somewhere approaching nil.

Posted by: Registration1982 | December 21, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@david and @walter re: Friday rain...

It's very unlikely the storm will miss us, and fairly unlikely that there will be snow. Rainfall potential -- at this point-- is around 1". Unfortunately, it looks pretty sloppy.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 21, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

My husband and friend just spent 45 minutes helping the UPS man out of our still-unplowed court here in Manassas. Maybe PWC should close school for tomorrow like the other counties?

Posted by: manassasmissy | December 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

registration1982, jason,
re "what are the chances of snow on christmas?"

thanks for the answers. so you're saying there's a chance?!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 21, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@Jason @CWG -- what are the chances of *freezing* rain on Friday?

Posted by: Murre | December 21, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the answer, Jason. That seems like a lot of water on top of the two inches of liquid equivalent we received with the snowstorm. I guess I'd better dig the downspouts out before Friday.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 21, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Any word yet on whether this was officially a blizzard? Last I saw on this was from the WaPo last night:

One other thing may take a few days to figure out — whether the storm was officially a blizzard. The designation is reserved for storms with winds over 35 miles an hour and visibility under a quarter mile. An official at the National Weather Service said those criteria still need to be confirmed. "Even if it doesn't officially meet the criteria for a blizzard," he said, "we came doggone close."

Posted by: EnricoPalazzo | December 21, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, the Christmas rainstorm. A time-honored Washington tradition. This will come as a swift kick to the groin for both snow-lovers and snow-haters alike.

Snow-lovers will be amazed at how, even in one of the best winter patterns in recent memory, it is going to manage to warm up and rain on Christmas day *again*.

Snow-haters will have been thinking, after having to deal with all this evil snow and digging out, that at least we'll have a picture perfect white Christmas, right? Wrong! You deal with cold, and with almost 2 feet of snow, then you get a muddy wet Christmas with flood potential, followed immediately by more cold!

It seems to me Dec. 25 is the opposite of Dec. 5 around here. Maybe Christmas Day needs to be moved around a bit? =D

Posted by: jahutch | December 21, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

In a quick look the only spot I can find that was super close to blizzard criteria was Martha's Vineyard, Mass. (as well as parts of LI, SE Mass and RI). Granted it was not that in depth of a look. None of the big airports around here really came that close.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 21, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Right now Thursday/Friday looks like rain, but starting out as sleet/freezing rain. The snowmelt is relatively slow, with refreezing overnight.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 21, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

anyone know any online sources for checking interstate weather conditions day of travel? we are going to asheville area on wednesday from loudoun county area via 81 South to 26 East ... and am concerned about icing in the mountains (traveling with two small children) ... thanks in advance and awesome weather updates over the weekend.

Posted by: panamanancy | December 21, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

So I click on the link to get to this page. It says "See Jason Samenow's full forecast for information on the Christmas storm."

Ok, where's the storm? According to the article, it says clouds increase with a chance of rain or mixed precip at night. Then rain on Friday. Is there a "Christmas Storm" in there somewhere or did you just want a lot of clicks on the link?

Posted by: southside721 | December 21, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

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