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Posted at 8:05 PM ET, 01/30/2010

Sizeable snowstorm departing D.C. area

By Ian Livingston

Storm totals range from over 4" to around 8"

* Submit your snow totals | View CWG submissions | NWS totals *
* Winter Storm Warning for entire metro area through 4 a.m. *
* Winter Weather Advisory well N&W (see map) *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *
* News, traffic & storm impacts: Local home page | Twitter (#dcsnow) *

Snow accumulates in Georgetown this afternoon. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Light to occasionally moderate snow has continued this evening as a final piece of energy associated with today's storm swings through. Since the late-afternoon update, many spots have received some additional accumulation, bringing the general range to 4-8". A few spots could receive up to another .5"-1" before it fully ends, while others see lighter and non-accumulating snow.

What a storm it has been for snow lovers, replete with very cold temperatures in the teens and over-performing totals. As of 8 p.m., National Airport was reporting 6" of snow, bringing the seasonal total to at least 23.6", or over 150% of average for an entire season. The snowy season of 2009-2010, first outlined in our winter outlook, issued in early Nov. 2009, chugs along.

Report snow: How much did you get?

A frigid night: Mainly light, and in some cases non-accumulating, snow fully pulls out of the area around midnight. We'll end up with some of the coldest -- perhaps the coldest -- temperatures of the season to date. Lows range from the upper single digits in cold spots to the middle teens downtown. What about tomorrow and into early next week? See the forecast here.

*** Winter Weather Center ***
Closings/Delays | Traffic | Metro | Flights | Amtrak | OPM | Roads: DC/MD/VA
Radar: Latest regional radar shows move-
ment 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.
Temperatures: Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. Refresh page to update. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.
View/Submit Photos | Ultimate Overview of Current Conditions: Weather Wall

Comment below with your thoughts and storm reports. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

By Ian Livingston  | January 30, 2010; 8:05 PM ET
Categories:  Updates, Winter Storms  
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Next: Forecast: A sunny winter wonderland


It's tapering off here in Wesley Heights/AU. About 5" on the ground. 17 degrees.

Posted by: ah___ | January 30, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Good burst of snow here in Lake Ridge.. About 6.5 inches.

Posted by: ZmanVA | January 30, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Just walked through downtown Silver Spring for dinner. Measured 5, 5.5, and 6 inches in various locations, so I'll go with 5.5 here, and it's still snowing!

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | January 30, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

At 8:17 PM, 2 miles SSE of Crisfield, MD, 3 tests of snow in my yard measure between 11 and 1/2 inches and 12 and 7/8 inches. Thermometer on my screened in front porch reads just under 20. Light snow is falling.

Around Crisfield, main roads (413, Somerset Ave. and such) are plowed with snow blowing back over them a bit, but very passable; residential roads outside the center of town are untouched.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 30, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Is the moisture back over WV going to roll through or miss us?

Posted by: snowlover | January 30, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse


The precip over West Va. will probably dry out for the most part before it gets here... Nonetheless, we still have a couple hours of light, fluffy snow to go based on radar echoes to the west.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Continued light snow.
Although this extreme cold is uncomfortable, it's nice to get a snowstorm that was actually all snow! And powdery snow is so much easier to deal with than our usual DC slush/freezing rain disasters.
Looks like one last batch of moderate snow, currently showing on your radar just east of the VA/WVA border, could come thru in the next few hours before the storm moves completely out of the area. The million dollar question now is; will I have to brush off my car yet again in the morning? My personal weather prediction is YES.
It's great to have fun real time local weather conditions coverage during these snow events. Thanks for re-posting the Nov CWG winter weather outlook.....interesting reading now in hindsight!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 30, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

All the brushed-off cars here in downtown DC have been covered again - endless work, eh FIREDRAGON47?:)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Centerville VA Not a complaint about cleaning the car again, actually more like looking for another reason to go out & play around in the powder.

But it is awfully cold out there....light snow continues. We've had about an inch additional accumulation since nightfall. I would imagine that the super fluffy snow is settling faster now than the continuing snow is accumulating, so those interested in such things should step out and take your local measurements ASAP.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 30, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

9.5 inches at Wintergreen (S of Charlottesville), and believe it or not, its still coming down a bit. Mountaintop temperature is at 4 degrees!

Posted by: SJ43560 | January 30, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the precip is building back in from the west.

Posted by: ZmanVA | January 30, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I think I have ~5 inches here in Alexandria. Went down to Fogo de Chao for dinner tonight and the roads were pretty decent in VA on the major routes coming out. Even in DD, though mostly snow covered/slushy it wasn't too bad.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | January 30, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Some of the previous posters seemed aggravated at weather forecasters for predicting the end of precipitation long before it actually ends.

Personally, I think that doppler radar has become a crutch for some meteorologists. As storms pull off to the northeast, they sometimes draw moisture off the Atlantic, causing wrap-around bands that spontaneously fire up. Such bands don't appear to register as a probability with forecasters when they project future doppler activity (take note Weather Channel).

I have often noticed that some forecasters (particularly Bob Ryan and his gang on NBC Channel 4) appear woefully ignorant of the precipitation shadow that the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountain chains create when disturbances from the northwest or west approach the east coast.

As the CWG has pointed out, these disturbances tend to dry out as the 4,000 foot high peaks in West Virginia and western Virginia wring the moisture out of these systems. Such areas as Cheat Mountain in West Virginia (the home of the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort) often receive 180 inches or more of snow each season. They are truly micro climes.

By the way, this is a phenomenon that occurs in the summer as well as in the winter.

Posted by: MillPond2 | January 30, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

looks like a band of moderate snow is about to move through the region

Posted by: samdman95 | January 30, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA The radar is accurate at least for us in western Fairfax county; snowfall rate has really picked up here in the last few minutes. Moderate snow; not as heavy as the worst/best of it this afternoon.

Have a report from local traveler that roads everywhere are awful. No surprise there since this turned out to be an all day all evening snowstorm. Too bad it couldn't have been dialed in sooner earlier in the week for those who MUST make travel plans well in advance.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 30, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Appreciate some of the kind comments in the earlier posts about our forecasting for this storm. I actually think folks are being a little too kind. We may have done better than some of the other local outlets, or at least jumped our accumulations upward earlier, but we still busted on the low side a good bit until this morning's updates. That said, I would say the current headline story on the local home page -- "Much more than a dusting" -- is rather unfair. Most forecast outlets had much of the metro area getting at least about 2 inches as of yesterday evening.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the previous comments about too many TV mets calling an earlier end to the snow in big storms than they should.. I remember several occasions - most recently Dec. 19 - where it snowed and snowed and snowed after TV mets started talking about winding down, or no more snow.. During the Dec. 19 storm, I swear they were predicting the end by 5 p.m. It snowed till at least 10 to 11 p.m.. They don't seem to realize such premature calls can, and often do, result in people flocking back out onto the roads thinking snow is done.. Yes, it may not lot be a lot snow. But an additional 1 to 3 inches after a long storm can push road crews to the breaking point, resulting in horrible evening road conditions.

Posted by: realclear | January 30, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

that radar looks nice, a big band of snow headed our way

Posted by: samdman95 | January 30, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that thinks that the roads look terrible compared to other snow storms? I don't know then again I usually stay put while its snowing versus today. I hate being stuck in the house but love the snow from this surprise storm.

Posted by: TerrenceM | January 30, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

9" in NW Spotsy, 18 with light snow.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 30, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on school conditions for Monday? Doesn't look like the snow will melt as tomorrow's high will be 30. Can they plow everything on time? And what factor will black ice play as it gets down to 16 tomorrow night?

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 30, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

@TerrenceM -- The roads look terrible cause I am pretty sure this is one of the coldest snowstorms we have had in recent memory.... Salt doesn't work too well below 20 degrees.

Posted by: realclear | January 30, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

This storm won't quit. One last band moving through... snowing moderately in Silver Spring again!

Posted by: SkywalkerSS | January 30, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

@ Jason...that line from WV is alive and well...still snowing at a steady clip in Reston, VA at 10:30 and it doesn't look like we're ending in the next hour...last time I checked (around 8:30pm) we seriously had 9 inches on the ground (measured in multiple level grass areas) in the south Reston area and we haven't seen the snow stop since 9am...this has been a serious event here in Reston...Jan wasn't a bust this year!

Posted by: parksndc | January 30, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I was out to dinner and missed those snow bands coming across the western suburbs. They now look to be favoring the city. It is still snowing very lightly in Western Loundon County but it seems like our second major snowfall of the 2009/10 winter is coming to an end. I really enjoyed this one. There is something about an unexpected (or unpredicted) snowfall that is very satisfying to me. Maybe because it demonstrates that technology still does not have the ability to predict the outcome of any event whether it be a football game or a snowstorm. The variability of a snow storm is really not much different than the variability of life. Unpredictable.

Posted by: ntrlsol | January 30, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

HeAvy snow in lake ridge - easily an additional one inch + to the total. Id estimate close to 8 inches now.

Posted by: ZmanVA | January 30, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Continuing moderate snow. Now, if this snow were to continue at this rate here in western Fairfax county for another couple hours I'd say that we would get well over another inch of snow. But looking at the radar makes me think that this really is it; accumulating snow will end west of DC around midnight; with light snow/flurries perhaps until near dawn.
Right CWG? No chance of further developing bands of snow to our west?

Six inches of snow in the front yard.

This was fun day for us snow lovers who could huddle in the homestead all day. My sympathy is for those who must go out early Sunday morning as road conditions will likely still be poor. Be careful out there.
Ok, snow has sharply tapered off now. That was rather sudden.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 30, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The band pushing east of DC now should be it as far as accumulation goes. Looks like some brief bursts of moderate snow, this is where that extra .5-1" is coming in some places. Pretty uniform totals around half a foot it seems... spots which saw more banding did a bit better.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

CWG did a good job reporting this storm. Every forecast from you guys mentioned the uncertainty. It was explained pretty clearly that it was a hard one to call. I was a little surprised that NWS didn't call it "right" for the Northern suburbs, mainly because they usually predict more snow, not less. CWG was the one that pointed out the models were trending north.

Posted by: celestun100 | January 30, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Centreville - Rte 28, North of 66 towards Dulles - Snow stopped for the most part around 6pm, had friends over for dinner (they walked, a benefit of having "neighbors" as friends), at 7'ish. They left around 10:30 and we were surprised that it was snowing again. Really light, fluffy stuff, but coming down at a pretty decent clip.

I've lived here since I was 4, 1968 to be exact, with a few years away as an adult. I've learned to just be surprised at what happens in the winter - there's no use in relying on winter forecasts around here, except to the extent that you may get some precip out of a certain storm, maybe rain, maybe snow - unless it's such an enormous Nor'Easter with a cold front colliding, but most systems aren't that big. My usual rule of thumb: check the sky the night before and get up at 6am and look outside.

I walked of Giant late last night, and I have to say, anyone with the sense of living here long enough could tell we were in for some snow, and more than a trace. Call me superstitious, but after 40 years of DC winters, you know it's gonna be snow or not by the night before - cold, overcast, breezy, and crisp, with that system just parked south. You just know it. And you know when it will be a bust.

The patio table has between 5-6". Not bad, probably champagne/perfect ski snow. This stuff is incredible. Happy snow.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: bobosnow | January 30, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

For days, the TV weather forecasters kept hyping the sharp gradient from south to north. Areas to the south did get somewhat more snow. But except for some isolated accululations (such as reported in Crisfield), the differences weren't all that great given the distances involved. And yes, it's still snowing.

With a few exceptions, this rates as one of the most inept forecasts I've seen here in quite a while.

Forecasters have come to rely on computer models far too much. A good weather forecaster has a sixth sense about weather and some canny, instinctive observers that post on CWG were calling for significant accumulations, several days ago.

Louie Allen and some other noted local weather forecasters of the past managed to do a decent job of forecasting without all the computers and graphics that today's weathermen have at their disposal. Nowadays, Sue Palka is the only local TV forecaster I have any faith in. She is a cany, savvy weather person.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 30, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

My final snow measurement in Oakton, VA is 6.5". I had the same measurement on the hood of my truck, in my backyard, and on my patio table. When the temperature is in the teens all day, the snow does not melt or compact like it does during our more common 32 degree snowstorms.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

It was still very lightly snowing when I went out to measure a few mins ago.

5" in eastern Warren County

10.8F currently up from a low of 9.1. Hi today of 14.0.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 30, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

What dynamics lend themselves to a sharp gradient in snow accumulations over a relatively small distance?

Posted by: eddiedog2 | January 30, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Bastardi is already hyping a major storm for us next weekend. Says DC area is again the sweet spot and could equal or be bigger than December storm.

Posted by: bbv91258 | January 30, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

The gradient to little or nothing was still quite real it just shifted north with the precipitation. There are wildcards in these storms like the banding that tends to set up on the northern edge of the lighter totals. The heaviest was still south but we did quite well in the end. I thought this was about what would happen for several days but it is honestly hard to make that an official forecast without support from guidance... whether or not there is precedent for a northward move into the end. People can dismiss the models as much as they want but weather forecasting would still be in the dark ages without it and things like satellite etc. I do agree there is sometimes too much reliance on the hard data from one source or another when a blend of all plus instinctual knowledge can produce a better forecast.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 30, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@bbv91258 i'll believe it when i see it or when cwg starts talking about it. until then, i can only hope that at some point this season we get a weekday snowstorm so i don't have to go to work!

Posted by: BruinGirl2001 | January 31, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

At 5 PM, the TV forecasters said the storm was "winding down" in the D.C. area. It is now midnight...and, after almost 7 more hours of solid snow without a letup, it has FINALLY stopped here in Vienna.

CWG, I'll admit, did a good (or at least an OK) job on this storm, but the way the TV forecasters handled it (and the other two major snowstorms so far this winter)was nothing short of ludicrous. This is the third time in a row that they announced the end of the snow a number of hours before the actual end. They simply aren't looking at the radar loops.

OK....I've remarked about this several times tonight.....I'll shut up now.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 31, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I forgot to report my final snowfall total in Vienna.....5.5" (all dry, powdery snow, of course, like everyone sleet) That should be pretty close to what Kevin ends up with, who lives nearby in Oakton.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 31, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

9.4" in NW Spotsy, still snowing.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 31, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the CSW storm summary with final local totals.
Well, for those of us hate hate hate overhyped "big stormstorm coming!" winter weather forecasts, or TV forecasts in general, this site is the place to be.
A snowlover can only have their heart broken so many times before a certain permanent pessimism takes hold.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 31, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

CWG Kevin, are those bare legs in the photo?!

Posted by: spgass1 | January 31, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Looks like leggings or tights.

Posted by: chunche | January 31, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

JB isn't the only one hyping next weekend's event. Just look at the DGEX or "Experimental GFS".

The 18Z run has DC slated for 36-42 inches of snow with this event, with a couple areas receiving 42-48 inches! If this verifies, we have an ALL-TIME RECORD snowstorm on the way!!! This amount exceeds both the "Knickerbocker" of 1922 and the "Washington/Jefferson" of 1772 and would wipe out all D.C. area records if it meets projections!

My hunch is that we're dealing with an overactive model on a run with less data than the 12Z and 0Z runs provide; nonetheless we might have something big in store next weekend. With temperatures warmer than this weekend it's possible to likely that this storm could involve more wintry mix than we had today, but the wind direction for next Friday appears to be northeasterly. That often means snow in early February.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 31, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes, bare legs in that photo. It was 18 degrees and heavy snow. I hope she had a short walk.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

the smallest of snowflakes (pure ice crystals!) just ceased in NW dc. The precip has finished.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Final total in C-ville 10 inches after a burst of moderate snow from 2200-2330h.

Posted by: cleombrota | January 31, 2010 4:10 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that the total at national (6 inches) was realistic for a change. The difference IMO was that it was cold enough everywhere that national's warmer microclimate (mostly from the river) didn't have any influence this time.

Another possible difference is that the warm nose that we inevitably get was nonexistent this time and perhaps the warm nose gets funnelled in some way up the bay to national. I believe there was a slight warming aloft out here in Front Royal around 7-8pm. Got snow pellets instead of the regular flakes that were ubiquitous in this storm. 5.5 inches total and 5 degrees this morning.

Posted by: eric654 | January 31, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

The OOz NAM brings precip further north and west Tues night/Weds morning from the coastal low. .25 plus liquid could mean a couple inches of snow if it pans out.

Posted by: jbnwdc | January 31, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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