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Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 12/13/2009

Forecast: After Sunday soaker, warmer Monday

By Brian Jackson

Suburbs could see slick spots early Monday morning

* Dense Fog Advisory through early Monday morning *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *


Today: Steady rain. 40-45. | Tonight: Chance of evening drizzle/mist. Partial clearing, fog. 30s. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny, warmer. 49-53. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


What held promise as another hopeful snowstorm earlier this week has trended into a day long rain event. Rain beginning this morning will likely last the day and lead to a messy end of the weekend. Not all is lost as in this storm's wake, mild temperatures into the 50s will be here for the early part of the week. But don't get used it to it, a cold front will bring back chilly weather for mid-week.

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 (Sunday): You may want to stay indoors today, and maybe get some gift-wrapping done. Rain will move in during the early morning, perhaps freezing in some of the far western areas and mixed with sleet early. Steady light-to-moderate rainfall should continue for most of the day, ending by evening but with a chance of lingering drizzle or mist. Total rainfall could be in excess of a half-inch. Temperatures slowly make their way into the low 40s. Winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph.Confidence: High

Tonight: Perhaps some areas of evening drizzle or mist. Partial clearing leads early leads to areas of fog. Temperatures won't drop off all that much overnight with lows in the 30s. But low 30s to near 30 in the suburbs could mean patchy slick spots for the early morning. Winds will be from the west and light overnight. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for your warming forecast into mid-week...

Tomorrow (Monday): Not a bad day in general. We should manage a window of partly sunny skies and that will help our temperatures make a run at 50. Clouds should begin to return by the evening hours. Winds shift to out of the south at around 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Mostly cloudy skies return ahead of the next frontal system to move through. By morning, there is the chance for a shower or two as the front approaches. Overnight lows will reach the mid-30s to near 40 downtown. Winds will be out of the south at around 5 mph. Confidence: Medium


Tuesday is hit or miss. The front moves through during afternoon bringing the threat (40% chance) of some light rain showers. However, a developing wave over the southeast may rob much of the moisture, leaving us mainly dry. Either way, expect cloudy and mild conditions, with highs in the low-to-mid 50s.
Overnight, slow clearing begins with a breeze developing from the northwest. Lows will be in the mid-30s. Confidence: Medium-Low

Wednesday, temperatures head back towards normal. Mostly sunny skies will belie a breezy and cool day, with afternoon highs in the lower 40s. Confidence: Medium

Updated Sunday Dec. 13 @ 11:15 p.m.

By Brian Jackson  | December 13, 2009; 4:10 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Early this morning I spotted some freezing rain on a skylight... but by 8:30a we were above freezing.

I got our tree inside last evening and can spend the day decorating, writing Christmas cards, etc inside during this gloomy day.

Posted by: spgass1 | December 13, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

No, not again. 32.5 degrees and .15 inches of rain already. To paraphrase Jason's post yesterday--certainly a weather pattern that this snowlover detests. Is this what it's setting up to be like for the rest of the winter for us? Yes, I appreciate that we got close to 5 inches in our neighborhood last weekend-- and there is still a small pile of snow next to my mailbox as I look out at the rain.. however...

Posted by: SnowLoverOlneyMD | December 13, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yet another example of why I hate these El Ninos...too darned much of this raw WAA rain, temperatures above freezing but BELOW 43 [!] and not enough CAD to give us a little excitement.

And to think that Arctic air mass looked SO PROMISING when it was up there in the Yukon...all the snow we get is a couple of inches on Dec. 5 and that was wet enough to soak my feet. Still waiting for a HIGH temperature below freezing...Yesterday there were still a number of hardy ground crickets on southward-facing slopes and other sheltered locales.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 13, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't think all is lost with this pattern for one minute. Kevin Myatt, who writes for the Roanoke Times, did an interesting piece a while back - unfortunately, I can't find the link. He did a study of big snowfall years, and found that for years in which it snowed BIG, it RAINED even bigger.

The point is, at these latitudes, even in a blockbuster winter, *the majority of the storms will produce rain*. BUT, if there are lots of storms, the chances rise substantially that at least some of them will have good timing and snow will result. It's basic math really - say 1 in 5 winter storms produce snow for us - bottom line, we'll have a much better chance of getting lots of snow if there are 1 or 2 storms a week vs. 1 or 2 a month.

I am as sick of cold rain as everyone on here. In fact, part of my wouldn't mind a dry stretch. But in the Mid-Atlantic it seems our snowy years are also very WET years. As long as the storm track remains active it's almost inevitable that some snow will eventually result. This is even more the case as we get further into winter and average temps become more favorable.

Posted by: jahutch | December 13, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, jahutch. My only real question is what exactly the El Nino does in the next few weeks. People that watch it closer than I do say it seems to have peaked. I think we'll get at least one more snow event in December. We do keep getting moisture and sooner or later it will come together with the cold air again. If guidance is right we might be tracking another weekend possibility over the coming days.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 13, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Ian, I'm glad to hear a little comment on this from the CWG. VaTechBob seemed to be throwing doom and gloom and a strong El Nino on the whole winter after what just seemed to be a pretty positive potential snow outlook. Is CWG still pretty confident in their original winter outlook?

Posted by: manassasmissy | December 13, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Jahutch and Ian, I like the way you think. I will be interested to watch and see what develops, particularly towards month's end.
Enjoying the cold rain by staying in and making winter soups to freeze for future wet weather :)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 13, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

jhautch and Ian - I have been around the area all of my life (39 years) and there are two or three winters that stand out where we had a ton of rain leading up to massive snow events.

1) 1983 - the weeks leading up to the blockbuster winter of 1983 we had a massive warm-up and hefty rain followed up by one of the Top 10 Winter Storms with thunder-snow in the area.

2) 1987 - this was another winter where we had significant rain from inland runners that ultimately gave us some good old Nor Easters. I also remember this winter providing us with storms where we had heavy snow that ultimately changed to rain.

3) 1996 - The greatest snow event of my life. A pretty dull winter leading up to the January Blizzard that lasted from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning. There was rain events leading up to and after this storm. If you recall we had a significant warm-up a week after the storm with a flooding rainstorm. A week later and for most of the month of February 1996 every Friday and Saturday we seemed to have mini-snowstorms (6 inch range).

My thoughts....we will have a significant snowstorm this winter over a foot+ in some places and I think we could even see a blockbuster. We just need to get the right set-up of cold air. Everything else is in place.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 13, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ahh... 1996... what a snow event that was... I'm curious what AugustaJim measured during that event (if he lived in his current location). His location, to the best of my knowledge, was about 10-15 miles north of mine. My backyard was quite well protected from drifting and blowing and we a bit more than 36" of snow accumulated (I'm not sure the exact total, I only had one yard stick!).

Posted by: Registration1982 | December 13, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

All of you snowlovers, fear not! You guys will get your blockbuster storm when I go back to Mobile AL the week after New Years for spring semester. I guarantee it. :P I just hold out hope I see something before then...

We moved into a new place here in Woodbridge last July (actually, just a few doors down from where we used to live), and back then all the leaves were on the trees. I left in August, came back last Monday and all the leaves are gone (duh), so now I can see straight through the woods. When I woke up this morning, I looked out the window and discovered a creek running behind our house, complete with 3+ foot tall waterfall right outside my window. Never knew the creek even existed before today, I guess the heavy rains cased the water to move more swiftly and it grabbed my attention. I love discovering new things. :)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 13, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Almost an inch of rain today (0.84" at last count) according to my neighbor's weather station:

Looking forward to a dry week!!

Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 13, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If I never see another snowflake in my life it will be too soon. This area hasn't a clue as to how to deal with the stuff. It may look pretty in our yards, but it creates havoc on the roads. Even the threat of a snowstorm sends everyone into a full blown panic. Much worse of course is the menace which unfortunately we almost always get every year--ICE!!!

Posted by: RAB2 | December 13, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Ian -

Gotta call you out on the comment about tracking yet another storm next weekend.

I realize you guys are trying to generate hits to the site, but please be honest about your projections. Last week, you guys were allegedly tracking a storm this weekend (now rain) and a bigger storm for the middle of this upcoming week (now just warm rain).

Maybe I'm alone, but the continuous hype gets a little old.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 13, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

It's always been part of the appeal of this site(at least for me, and I think many other) that they are up-to-date on snow possibilities, but in doing so they always give a complete breakdown of the actual chances of if we will truly get snow, and how much.

I don't think it's just a pitch to get more hits to the website, they are just genuinely excited about snow, like many others on this site. Everyone has a right to visit the sites they want. I like reading this site to see what the latest weather chances are, whether it be rain, snow, or sun. Just my two cents.

Posted by: arnoldkh | December 13, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

stinkerflat1: One comment about your summary. I, too, have been around here a long time and if you think back about the winter of 82-83, it really wasn't a blockbuster winter at all-it was a blockbuster February STORM after which the warm weather returned and the 18+ inches of snow was gone in a week. Coming in the midst of that very mild winter, however, was what made it a real shocker.

Don Lipman-Capital Weather Gang

Posted by: Weatherguy | December 13, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, may I disagree? I think many who come to this site are coming "hoping" to hear about weather excitement. I feel this site is pretty balanced in responding to its readers and what's happening, backed by plenty of science in the weather-predicting area. It ain't teasing you like The Weather Channel, or the local TV stations, but like any media, it needs to draw people in. I think CWG does this very responsibly. And they own up when they make mistakes. When did TWC or local weather guys ever do this?

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 13, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I might b the biggest snow lover around, but I have 2 call them as I see them. This is shaping up as another snow starved winter, El Nino is stronger than most thought it would b, except 4 me. Been in this area since 1954 so I have a good idea what each winter will bring. I would give us a 25% chance of 1 good snow, 8+ inches; otherwise not looking so good. nothing brewing 4 the next 7 days.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 13, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, I too must speak in CWG's defense; Ian's post didn't say he's tracking a snowstorm, just a storm. I don't think you really believe anyone on CWG indulges in hype. It is winter, storms are coming, CWG is tracking them to see if they are rain, ice, or snow. I personally appreciate knowing a whole week in advance that a storm may impact next weekend, regardless of precip type, and I think you do too. :-)

Posted by: --sg | December 13, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

VT bob - the problem with your analysis is that el nino isn't even strong yet - its a high end moderate. Even if it does go strong, it will take a month or two for the atmosphere to reflect that. At this juncture I don't think that strong label will have much impact until spring.

Most of the bad winters in a nino regime featured a nino bthat was strong well before winter - generally by late summer. That is not the case here.

Posted by: jahutch | December 13, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Re: tracking storms, hype, etc. ... would urge everyone to realize there's a difference between the types of comments and conversations that occur in the comments section and the forecast information provided in the posts. Rarely will you ever see us hype something (unless we believe it is warranted) in our posts.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | December 13, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse


To add to what Dan said, our forecasts never called for higher than a 40% chance of accumulating snow over the weekend, and not one of our forecasts said anything about a chance snow for the middle of this coming week. Yes, there was some discussion about it in the comment area, but chatter about what models might be showing 7 days into the future should NOT be considered a forecast. I've said this before and I'll say it again, most snowstorms that show up in models beyond 4 days do NOT materialize around here. The sooner snow lovers appreciate this, the less frequently they'll be disappointed.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 13, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Agree, I don't put much stock in models more than 4 days out. In fact, I don't put much faith in them until 48 hrs out. Hope my winter 4cast is wrong, will b thrilled if we have a snowy winter.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 13, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, just saw your comment -- not sure you'll ever even see this response, so I'll keep it short.

Comments like the one above are simply for discussion sake... feel free to counter etc. This past weekend's storm was pretty well forecast here... the potential of a wintry scenario was noted early but discounted as time went on. Regarding the "midweek" event... I think I made one general comment on it about a week ago and never returned. I see no issue discussing potential even if it does not materialize.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 14, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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