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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 12/23/2009

PM Update: The sun before the Christmas storm

By Jason Samenow

Icy travel possible early Christmas day

* Snowstorm forecast critique | Evolution of a monster snowstorm *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *

A ton of sunshine has lifted temperatures through the 30s to near 40 today despite our snowpack, which continues to erode. But with clear skies, temperatures will tumble this evening, resulting in a solid refreeze. As early as 6 p.m. or so, many spots will be back around freezing. Use caution driving this evening, especially on side roads.

Webcam: Latest view of D.C. from the Netherlands Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy National Park Service. Refresh page to update. See this image bigger on our Weather Wall.

Through Tonight: The combination of clear skies, nearly calm winds and snow cover will promote close to ideal radiational cooling conditions. Lows will dip into the teens in the suburbs to the low 20s downtown.

Christmas Eve (Thursday): Sunny skies will fill the daylight hours, but light flow from the north will keep it chilly. Highs will likely be in the mid-to-upper 30s. Clouds thicken overnight, with a 40% chance of light freezing rain or drizzle by morning, with lows from the mid-to-upper 20s.

See Dan Stillman's full forecast for information on the Christmas storm. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

walter-in-fallschurch's snow sculpture: The Capital Weather Gang (CWG) community for years has enjoyed viewing the amazing snow sculptures produced by walter-in-fallschurch, a frequent commenter here. You can see a gallery of Walter's work here and we'll leave you with a sample of his latest creation in the wake of Snowpocalypse...

A snow sculpture of Elves produced and photographed by CWG visitor walter-in-fallschurch.

By Jason Samenow  | December 23, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. sledding gets creative
Next: Forecast: Gearing up for a slick, rainy Christmas


Yes, down to 33.8F here already. Not much sun this time of year for a lot of melting, especially in the hollows. Be careful where the packed snow gets like ice.

Posted by: spgass1 | December 23, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Some questions for the gang: is it wise/safe to plan to drive to New York City on Christmas morning? Should I delay as much as possible or start early?

Posted by: chrisfrombethesda | December 23, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Walter, this was worth the wait. Incredible! Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: LCFC | December 23, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Walter, your snow sculptures are AMAZING!! I shared the photos with my family, and they enjoyed them as well. Great job!!

Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 23, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse


If you leave earlier, there will probably be less precip to deal with, especially as you head north. On the other hand, if it is precipitating, it will be colder and more icy. I would be prepared to leave early and if you go outside and it seems bad, wait it out.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I may disagree with some of your politics and views on global warming, but I have to admit that is certainly a nice job on those snow elves. That must have taken a lot of work.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | December 23, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I hope you don't mind, but I linked to one of your flickr photos on my blog.

If that's not ok w/ you I'll remove the code that is showing the pic. Incredible work!

Posted by: spgass1 | December 23, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

wow guys...thanks all for the kudos. i love hearing about people showing pics to people i don't even know. way cool.

MMCarhelp: you can see why i wish global warming weren't a reality - it means less snow for me!

spgass1: nice blog. virginia's great, no? no problem w/the link/photo. i'm honored.

what can you say about temps/precip for the week after christmas? (really, what i'm asking is should i try to hoard snow and make something after christmas? - not worthwhile if it's warm the whole time...)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 23, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Walter, your sculptures are amazing. How long did the elves take you to do?

Posted by: SubRosa2 | December 23, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, walter, I am wondering too about how long it took you to make the elves. And what tools? Those are amazing sculptures.

Posted by: manassasmissy | December 23, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

walter-in-fallschurch, I think it looks coldish for at least 10 days or so after Christmas... Not sure if daytime highs above freezing helps much in snow hoarding though. Signs the pattern is about to "reload" heading into next week. Guidance continues to suggest 2 opps at systems that could produce snow near and after New Years. The pattern showing up next week actually looks somewhat similar to the leadup to the big snowstorm.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Walter

Bedtime report: 25.5F

Posted by: spgass1 | December 23, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

the elves sculpture took 9 hrs over 2 days. most don't take that long. most are done in one day in about 4 or 5 hrs. the human faces and hands took a lot of time... i use a snow shovel, masonry trowel and my hands (w/and w/o gloves).

ian, actually daytime highs need to be above freezing to make the snow workable. i'd like cloudy w/highs in the 30s and lows as cold as possible. what you described sounds pretty good.... hhmmm...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 23, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Walter Rocks!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | December 23, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Very cool sculptures! All the rest of us can do is put up lights, but you contribute to the holiday cheer in a very special way.

Wow, is it getting cold! Down to 19.0 outside on my deck, according to my digital thermometer. I can certainly see a freezing rain situation developing, which would be awful--given that so many people go to Christmas day church services. (I don't think I ever have, but I was thinking about it this year. More of a Christmas Eve service person.)

Posted by: KBurchfiel | December 24, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Best bet on precipitation onset appears to be some time after midnight Friday. Still not sure how much subfreezing air will be in place; models don't cover these shallow ground-hugging layers very well.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 24, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Watch out for freezing fog over the next few hours in the SW suburbs (from PWC, Fauquier, and to the S & W).

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | December 24, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: infantry11b4faus | December 26, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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