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Posted at 10:30 PM ET, 12/ 8/2009

PM Update: Rain, and lots of it, through the night

By Ian Livingston

Storm departs Wednesday, with cold winds in its wake

* Winter weather advisory for outer N&W suburbs (map) thru 7 a.m. *
* Flood Watch for entire region this evening thru Wed. a.m. *
* What is winter, and how do we adapt? | More weekend snow? *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall | Traffic *

*** 10:30 p.m. update: A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery and Loudoun counties (and points north and west). Some of the normally colder locations in these counties (primarily the northern and western portions of them) may experience a coating to an inch or so of snow and sleet before the changeover to rain. Most, if not all, locations in these counties will change to all rain by the a.m. commute and some have already. ***

Clouds have thickened through the day and rain (maybe a little sleet mixed in) is inbound. Precipitation arrives from the west/southwest as we get into evening, trending heavier into the night. Temperatures that rose to highs near 40 into the mid-40s are chilly, but not super cold, and that will likely mean no icing issues for the metro area.

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.

Through Tonight: Rain, possibly starting with some sleet mainly north and west, begins during the 5-8 p.m. timeframe, before trending heavier overnight. It appears temperatures will be too warm for any icing in the metro area, though locations well north and west could see a little freezing rain. Lows drop to the low-and-mid 30s in the coldest spots to near 40 downtown.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Rain chances continue, but the heaviest should fall before most of us head to work. A cold front moving through by early afternoon should put an end to the rain. Before the front, highs should make it to the low-and-mid 50s. Winds could be strong and gusty from the west late in the day and into Thursday.

Total rainfall of 1"-1.5" is possible with this event. Due to recent storminess, this can lead to localized flooding.

See Matt Rogers' full forecast through the weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Global warming returns: Despite recent controversy over hacked e-mails, and skeptics claiming we are not witnessing warming over recent years, the World Meteorological Organization released preliminary findings today which suggest 2009 will rank in the top 10 warmest years on record. The WMO also says this decade will probably go down as the warmest since records began in 1850.

By Ian Livingston  | December 8, 2009; 10:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What is winter, and how do we adapt?
Next: Forecast: Rain to end, cold pattern persists


Awww, I thought we'd get a mix tonight. Everyone at school was talking about a 2 hour delay. Why the sudden change to only locations "well north and west"? Just yesterday MoCo was supposed to get freezing rain into early Wed.

Posted by: PeterBethesda | December 8, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love that Accuweather regional radar... It shows snow all over the metro area right now. It is certainly my wishful thinking radar of choice today.

Posted by: dprats21 | December 8, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse


No chance of 2 hour delay I wouldn't think, but I imagine we'll still probably see some snow, sleet, or ice on the front end (it just won't amount to much). However, with the amount of water that is about to fall from the sky, nothing is going to stay frozen for long even if/when we do get it to start.

I would say for the past few days we have been saying unless you are north or west, the most you are going to see is wintry precip to start before changing to a flood, and now it just looks like the "wintry precip to start" is just a litle further west and north than the original thinking.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse


We've been playing this down for a while. Our last several forecasts have all called for anmixed precipitation to change to all rain before the morning commute pretty much everywhere.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

sleet and 35 degrees at 4:15

Posted by: AugustaJim | December 8, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I understand. I guess it was just the NWS's WSW that got me hoping. Plus the possibility (or lack thereof) of a 2 hour delay sends everyone at school into a frenzy. haha

Posted by: PeterBethesda | December 8, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Great minds think alike Capital Weather Gang. I think we must read the same website for our information ;)

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I also find the CWG forecast to be the most helpful and reliable of the various sources available locally. Despite the dashed expectations of Montgomery County schoolkids for a 2 hour delay, most of us are breathing a sigh of relief that we won't have to face, and send the kids out into, icy weather.

I do have a bone to pick today. The use of "as such" to mean "accordingly" or "therefore" (as you did in the final sentence of the lead paragraph) just grates on me.

See the link:

Posted by: NatsPark408Byrd306 | December 8, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Long time no see! I haven't been around in a long time here on CWG...I go to college in Alabama for meteorology now, so I haven't really dealt much with DC weather lately, hence my absence. I'm back now for winter break, and I forgot how exciting DC weather could be (especially during the winter).

I missed Saturday's snowstorm by a few days, but coming up through the western areas of VA (and here at home) there's some snow left on the ground, so it wasn't a total loss for me. Tonight's rain doesn't bother me, I saw a LOT of it in Alabama (including Ida, that was a fun storm), so I'm pretty used to it. The thought of snow this weekend and next week is pretty exciting -- I'll take anything, flurries, and inch of snow or a blizzard.

Enjoy the rain, and be careful if any of you are in an area where it ices.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone put the size of the storm moving in tonight in historical perspective? Locally it may not amount to more than an inch or two of rain, but a glance at the national radar shows this system is HUGE. You could leave DC heading west and drive through unending precip all the way to Colorado (or from Nebraska to Florida.) Strikes me as not something I've seen in recent memory.

Posted by: manatt | December 8, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

is it true that the models are predicting a foot of snow on the 17th?

Posted by: samdman95 | December 8, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

there is nothing i hate more than a huge cold rainstorm

Posted by: samdman95 | December 8, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse


I'm not aware of a metric for the areal extent of storms, but you're right, the coverage on the current radar is REALLY impressive.


There have been some model runs that suggest the potential for some significant snow in the middle of next week...but also some that haven't. Models simulate big snows a week out all the time, but we only get big snows once in a great while.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

It's sleeting in Huntington, Alexandria. Didn't think that was supposed to happen this far east? Ground temps still too warm for icing though, thank goodness- it's melting when it hits the ground.

Posted by: kallieh | December 8, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Dew points are still low enough that we could see sleet across the area with the first band -- bright banding suggests that to be the case now. It won't amount to much more than a ping on windows etc.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, WeatherDude.

VDOT wasn't taking chances tonight as they were treating I-66 earlier and had trucks parked on I-81.

Regarding radar w/ color coded precip, I like the Intellicast radar. It's showing a band of mix along the Blue Ridge which fits with my observations.

Current conditions: We're getting the wintry mix (freezing rain, sleet, and some flakes).

Temp: 30.0 (down from 30.7 about an hour ago)

Location: an east facing slope in Warren County, Virginia

Posted by: spgass1 | December 8, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

its sleeting mixed with snow in Northwest DC. The sleet is coming down thick, almost like hail, and stings when it hits your head and face

Posted by: realclear | December 8, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm seeing some big flaked here in Glover Park. Looks like this initial band is strong enough to let stuff fall through dry air letting it reach the ground still frozen. As the airmass saturates it should start going over to rain, but it does seem things might be a bit cooler above than it seemed.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Seems to be a mix of sleet, rain, and flakes here in arlington. A true "wintry mix"

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

A mix of sleet and snow here in Sterling.
Temp: 39.2, down from 40.3 a half hour ago.

As I am typing this, precipitation seems to be changing to sleet and rain. Maybe if we can get a giant fan installed in Maryland to keep the winds out of the north...

Posted by: Sterlingva | December 8, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Very heavy wet snow and sleet here in the "far western suburbs." Posting a video link shortly. Also - temp has dropped like a rock!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 8, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Out here in Ashburn, just west of where Sterlingva is, it's 34.1 and I can hear sleet hitting the windows.

Posted by: natsncats | December 8, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Raw video taken in Leesburg, VA @ 8:55pm EST:

RainMan Greg

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 8, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Sleet and rain, one and/or the other, and changing back and forth, since about 9 pm in southern Silver Spring.

Posted by: Murre | December 8, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

West Springfield - Sleet and rain for last hour.

Our rain/snow storm Saturday gave us 0.74" of water.

Posted by: bikerjohn | December 8, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

A mix of snow, sleet, and rain here in Arnold. Favoring more sleet and snow at the moment. Temperature is at 40F. Everything is melting on contact.

Posted by: arnoldkh | December 8, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Mont. Co., Laytonsville area. 33.1 degrees. Huge fluffy flaked snow falling at a really good clip. Flakes size between quarter and half-dollar size. Very nice to watch.

Posted by: dprats21 | December 8, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Snowing here in Columbia as well, the "bright band" is moving through so we'll probably turn wet here fairly soon.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much all rain in DC now.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Had a mix of snow, sleet and rain in North Bethesda for a while. Now all rain it seems.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Update: 29.7F, 3/8" accumulation snow/sleet

Is there an official method of reporting snow accumulations containing sleet?

Posted by: spgass1 | December 8, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

winter weather advisory. i knew tis would be a suprise storm. grass completely covered snowing hard in resitersown. how long will this continue

Posted by: snowlover3 | December 8, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Just drove from Fairfax City to Kalorama, DC. The car said 34 when I left Fairfax, and it was all rain; no sign of sleet. Now in DC, temp is 36, but I've been hearing sleet constantly.

Posted by: todd27 | December 8, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

32.7 and light snow in downtown Frederick--snow that's sticking to the sidewalks and roads! It's quite a lovely surprise. And it makes me glad that I was able to drive down to Georgetown and back before this started.

Posted by: dettiot | December 8, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

NWS just expanded the Winter Weather Advisory a bit farther. Seems like they had it right originally...

1017 PM EST TUE DEC 8 2009

1017 PM EST TUE DEC 8 2009





Posted by: spgass1 | December 8, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

the radar shows the blue area of snow growing, not shrinking, and it looks on the radar like it is trying to change back to snow even in the city?? And it appears to be getting colder out in Northwest DC, not warmer as forecast??

Posted by: realclear | December 8, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Just drove from the District to Fauquier .... just as I hit the PW Co line slush was sticking to the roads. Roads were pretty slick ... almost didn't make it up the hill. There's about 1/2 inch of sleet/slush/frozen stuff in the yard/deck. Wondering if out here it won't warm up as promised ..... child doing ice dance just in case!

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 8, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

It was 36 here a few hours ago, now it's 33.5 on my digital thermometer on our deck, and still all rain in Lake Ridge. I know the chances of seeing snow are about the same as seeing William Hung honored at the Kennedy Center, but I still keep looking out the window.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 8, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

realclear: I'd recommend paying more attention to surface reports of precipitation and local temperatures than the radar codings, which are not as reliable (although they are much prettier).

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | December 8, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Just rain here in downtown Silver Spring. We had some sleet and snow earlier, then rain, then back to sleet, and now rain for the past hour or so.

Just goes to show, when the atmosphere "wants" to snow, it keeps trying. This might be the winter for it.

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | December 8, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

The 12 & 18z GFS runs had looked so promising for next week and then the 00 run comes out and my jaw hits the floor. Poof... no snow for you! Apparently I have displeased the God(dess) of winter and (s)he has decided that she will toy with my emotions this year.

Since I can't please him/her, I guess I have to start trying to convince the wife to try a colder clime...

Posted by: Registration1982 | December 8, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Registration1982 -

I try not to look at the models that far out. I think all that can be said is there is some possibility of a storm next week. No guarantee it will happen at all, let alone what form it will take.

I am more interested in the possibilities for this weekend. Doesn't look major, but the potential for measurable snow still appears to be there!

Posted by: jahutch | December 8, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

@jahutch I like to peek behind the current every now and then. Also, while you expect snow, I, unfortunately, was banished to purgatory by my wife. Here on the west end of Richmond, we're lucky to get snow once a year. I went from the 1st weekend of December in '05 to the first weekend of April in '07 w/o seeing flakes stick to my ground. Blah. We did, however, get a very good (and well timed for my wife and me) storm in March. Another one w/ 8-10" like that would be quite welcome.


Posted by: Registration1982 | December 8, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Ian wrote, "... the World Meteorological Organization released preliminary findings today which suggest 2009 will rank in the top 10 warmest years on record. The WMO also says this decade will probably go down as the warmest since records began in 1850."

I followed the WMO link you provided. Their web site stated, "The WMO global temperature analysis is thus based on three complementary datasets. One is the combined dataset maintained by both the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. Another dataset is maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the United States Department of Commerce, and the third one is from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."

The key point is the "three complementary datasets". They are complementary in the sense that THEY ALL PULL FROM THE SAME CORRUPTED DATA SET.

Pielke Senior has a paper on that very issue. You should read it.

--begin quote--
On the weblog Dot Earth today, there is text from Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of Illinois, that presents analyses of long term surface temperature trends from NASA, NCDC and Japan as if these are from independent sets of data from the analysis of CRU. Andy Revkin is perpetuating this myth in this write-up by not presenting the real fact that these analyses draw from the same original raw data. While they may use only a subset of this raw data, THE OVERLAP HAS BEEN ESTIMATED AS ABOUT 90-95%.
[emphasis mine]
--end quote--


This is the same data set that Dr. Jones was toying with.

Ian, since you are posting at the website of a prominent newspaper, can you please help disseminate this fact? I think you would agree that your readers deserve to know the whole truth.

Thank you,
Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | December 9, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

We also know where NOAA stands with regard to data transparency and reliability. They maybe the next shoe to fall in this scandal.

Posted by: Tom8 | December 9, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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