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Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 01/31/2010

Forecast: A sunny winter wonderland

By Brian Jackson

A little warmer tomorrow; more snow chances?

* Submit your snow totals | View CWG submissions | NWS totals *
* Washington region gets up to 8 inches of snow *
* Temps, winds & more: Weather Wall | SchoolCast (Mon.): *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
6Bonus points for the fresh snow and sun, even if it is still chilly!
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Mostly sunny, chilly, 28-32. | Tonight: Clear and cold! 11-17. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny as slow warming begins, 33-38. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Yesterday's snows leave behind a winter wonderland today so bring along your shades! Bright sun will be reflecting everywhere but temperatures will be slow to respond today. We're a little warmer tomorrow, but the forecast through the week and weekend does contain the potential for some more flakes. In the meantime, don't forget to submit your accumulation total so we can map who won this storm's snowfall derby!

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 (Sunday): What a difference a day makes! After yesterday's "not quite surprise" snowstorm, cold will remain but skies will be much brighter. We begin with some lingering morning clouds (and flurries perhaps over the eastern shore), then we'll clear out quite nicely for the day. Temperatures will struggle though, with highs topping out near 30. Winds from the northwest will add a little bit of a bite as well, blowing at around 10 mph. Confidence: High

Tonight: Mostly clear skies and a fresh snowpack means a chilly night tonight. With light winds from the northwest, temperature overnight should dip into the mid-to-upper teens and as cold as near 10 outside the beltway. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through Wednesday....

Snow accumulating in Cleveland Park in the District yesterday afternoon. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

Tomorrow (Monday): Sun and rebounding temperatures begin our week. Mostly sunny skies will rule the day and temperatures will begin to creep up, with highs in the mid-to-upper 30s. Winds will be from the west, turning from the south at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy skies may fill in with some thin high clouds towards morning but overall a fairly tranquil night. Overnight lows will be range from the upper teens to low 20s, and winds will be light and out of the south. Confidence: Medium


Tuesday we'll be in between another area of low pressure off the Southeast coast and a weak disturbance back to the west. For us this means gathering clouds with a 30% of some flurries later in the afternoon. Highs should be in the mid-30s.

Clouds remain Tuesday night. We'll need to watch that low lurking off the coast to make sure it doesn't come close enough to threaten anything significant in the way of snow. For now, it looks like just a chance of flurries, but check back for updates [see update posted 11 p.m. Sunday]. Lows should be in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Wednesday, skies remain mostly cloudy. We'll again see a chance for some additional flurries during the morning and late afternoon. Afternoon highs warm slightly, topping out near 40 degrees. Confidence: Low-Medium

Late in the week or the weekend could bring yet another wintry threat to the area. Check back tomorrow for the latest.

By Brian Jackson  | January 31, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sizeable snowstorm departing D.C. area
Next: Update: Chance of snow Tuesday night


Woke up to 9 inches of snow in Nelson county, va. The big surprise was the temperature - NWS is reporting a current temperature of negative 8 degrees - WOW!

Posted by: SJ43560 | January 31, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

SJ43560, I see Staunton is checking in at -11 this morning (7:40AM) (dewpoint -15). Wonder what made it cool down that much (besides radiational cooling)?

Posted by: eric654 | January 31, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I think the storm was more of a surprise for northern areas like Baltimore, Frederick, and Winchester since many thought they were out of the game until the precipitation moved north.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

An interesting article looking at the short and long range and the possibility of a "significant" weather event toward the end of this week.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Skies cleared quicker to the west and south so areas like Staunton had many hours of clear skies and light winds. Combine that with snow cover, and you can get some wicked radiational cooling.

Posted by: Curmudgeon4 | January 31, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

It's 7 degrees in Olney. I'm not inclined to go outside and check accumulations yet but it looks to be in the 5 inch area.

Thanks CWG for your candid forecasting with this storm. I was only mildly (but pleasantly) surprised at our totals. Like others on the board, I intuitively felt by Friday night that we had a decent chance at some good snow. But my feeling was backed up with the information and caveats you include in your forecasts---plus the analysis that others on this site provide. I love this blog.

Posted by: lilymama | January 31, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

It appears Reagan National Airport had a very good snow measurement with this past storm. Perhaps their 20 year streak of low-end snow totals has come to an end? National recorded 6.4" yesterday which puts the monthly total at 7.4 and the seasonal total to an even 24". Not bad.

SINCE JUL 1 24.0

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

My theory that I posted on the other thread was that National has a warm microclimate (perhaps above the surface) that suppresses snow totals (maybe melts a bit as it falls). Yesterday's event was so cold that it overwhelmed any local climate quirks.

Posted by: eric654 | January 31, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

According the the GFS...

light snow Wednesday, then...


Posted by: bdeco | January 31, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse


Interesting article, but personally I'm extremely skeptical of the impressive sounding verbiage having much to do with the reality of what's to come at "medium" and "extended" ranges

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hitting the 24" mark at DCA is great; I just looked at The Weather Almanac at data going back to 1970 and DCA has exceeded 24" only a half dozen times in the last 40 years.

I'm with those who feel that DCA is one of the least representative places to take measurements. I live in Glover Park in NW DC and our totals are usually closer to IAD than DCA.

I just listened to a certain TV weatherman apologize for blowing the forecast for areas north of town so I gotta' repeat what I said last night. A really good weatherman relies on his or her historical awareness and instincts and not just on computer models. Because as we've seen several times this year, nature does not always follow the model.

Anyway, thanks to CWG for providing this forum to share information, vent, and for providing more accurate forecasts than we sometimes find elsewhere. Yesterday was fun, partly because of the prolonged period of snowfall with temps in the teens. Very unusual this far south, east of the mountains.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 31, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Our weather checker, Jamie Yesnowitz, will post his critique of our forecast -- most likely on Tuesday and we'll have more post storm coverage tomorrow. Today, we'll take a short break... so feel free to consider this an open thread to talk about all things related to yesterday's storm and future snow potential...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on the Post's piece that leads with --

A winter storm expected to deliver little more than a dusting...

Posted by: jaybird926 | January 31, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

How are the roads today?? I'm in Alexandria. If I take it slow, are they okay to drive on? (I have little experience driving in snow.)

Posted by: Meg827 | January 31, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

jerryfloyd, perhaps you can give us the name of that weatherman. Initials? rhymes with?

Posted by: jojo2008 | January 31, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey gotta back CWG on this one. They did better than most. The models were hinting at a veer north, and in my mind I was wish-casting a veer north, but in the end I thought this change would simply double the total for me in Mont. Cty (2-4 instead of 1-2). I don't thing anyone could see this change tripling or quadrupling the totals to 6-8 or more. Not that anyone's complaining! Just an ironic touch to end the week, when one of the topics was the 10th anniversary of the Surprise Snowstorm of 2000...

Posted by: curtmccormick | January 31, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

As lilymama said:

"Thanks CWG for your candid forecasting with this storm. I was only mildly (but pleasantly) surprised at our totals. Like others on the board, I intuitively felt by Friday night that we had a decent chance at some good snow. But my feeling was backed up with the information and caveats you include in your forecasts---plus the analysis that others on this site provide. I love this blog."


I've only half joked that I spent more time tracking this storm than I did actually working this week.

I thought it was pointless until I realized that of everyone I know, I was really the only one prepared for a day of being snowed in. (I rolled my eyes when my Dad said we would only get an inch at most according to the Weather Channel).

CWG is now the only weather source I trust.


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

I was doing some of my own now-casting and wish-casting before this last storm and what I found most encouraging on Friday were the satellite loops. They showed the storm steadily pulling northeast even when the precipitation was suppressed well to our south. I figured with the upper level dynamics moving north, the precipitation would soon follow. It's nice when the wish-casting works out, it's usually an exercise in futility.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I too tracked this storm all week on CWG. People that I work with know I am on the site all the time for the latest news, so I was asked many questions RE: weekend weather on Thursday & Friday. Based on CWG percentages I told everyone that the only thing certain was that there WAS going to be a snowstorm with probably a lot of snow somewhere in VA. but that it was simply impossible to calculate what the immediate metro area would get. The only thing that was certain was that with the cold, anything that came down was going to be 100% snow.
"Look out your window" Saturday was about the best I could tell them, with a reminder to check the forecast that morning if they had plans to go out. No doubt I will hear some road condition horror stories tomorrow.
And now we have the month of Feb.....

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 31, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

jaybird926, At the very least you'd hope WaPo writers would be aware of a WaPo weather blog's forecast, but maybe not. By Friday night I can't recall anyone going with a dusting... NWS was among the lower by late Friday but even they were calling for several inches by Friday night. For people following a place like this they'd know that forecasts were going up and likely to keep going that way instead of down.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Expected" Redux

In light of today's Washington Post headline about dusting for Giants, I repeat a comment I posted yesterday. Before, let me say that I think Dan was being too humble in his comments in the article. Also, Kevin is right on in regard to not enough attention being paid to radar a evolving dynamics (as true with the Jan 25, 2000 "surprise" snowstorm.

The reality is that there was or was not more snow than expected, depending the meaning of "expected".

If expected is either this or that, such as the NWS official prediction through Friday evening of "little or no accumulation" - without expressing the obvious uncertainty that there could be more or less - then the NWS forecast was clearly a bust.

If expected is to assume erroneously that THE forecast is the most likely possibility (highest probability, e.g., CWG's 40% for less than 1"), then more snow than expected is a valid assertion.

But, the complete forecast provided by CWG (and Bob Ryan) made it clear that "expected" included the a distinct possibility of a heavier snowfall (CWG's 15% chance of 3-6" and 10% chance 6"+)

Providing the probabilities of possible outcomes is not CYA, as some might assume, but recognition that there will always be varying degrees of uncertainty in forecasts, and to convey the impression otherwise, as in the NWS prediction, is a disservice to users of those forecasts.

For more on dealing with uncertainty, see my latest post

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Officially...5 inches here in Columbia Heights West.

Please see my post of last night...bdeco's Great Super Bowl Storm is the one I was commenting on last 18Z model run is suggesting 36 to 48 inch ALL-TIME RECORD snowfall amounts for the entire storm which could last up to three days, starting Friday.

However early runs today seem to be indicating a possible track west of us from central Mississippi. That would bring us nothing but a 3 to 4 inch rain, with some mixed precipitation possible at times. It's also possible that we could have periods of rain, snow, and wintry mix throughout next weekend.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 31, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

5.75" in falls church - measured EARLY this morning before sun and/or compaction.

i will post pics of a new gargantuan arctic insect species i've discovered either monday night or tuesday night depending on the weather.... ;-)

re: driving in snow/ice etc... it is all about MOMENTUM. always be conscious of your momentum, and don't try to change it suddenly: brake, turn, accelerate GENTLY.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 31, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@jojo2028, the weather person that apologized about yesterday's forecast for north of town is from Oklahoma and promised to do better next time and I'll leave it at that.

Also, it's a bit unfair to single just one announcer since most of them erred. However, on Friday night Sue Palka upped her estimates for the immediate D.C. area to four-six inches. She is one of those rare TV forecasters who consistently concatenate the models with experience and intuition.

Weather forecasting is so much like the rest of our fast-paced society; we've become over-reliant on producing weather, economic, etc. forecasts based on computer models, which substitute for intensively researching past data, trends, and historical records.

OK, enough sermonizing...

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 31, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The model I saw was showing over 60 inches of graupel for next weekend with sustained F-4 force winds (Fuji scale). Little green goblins will surf through downtown DC on a 32 ft tidal surge.

Posted by: GD1975 | January 31, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I cannot begin to think about next weekend. I need to get off this emotional snow roller coaster. Seriously. I am on this site WAY too much lately. No obsessive checking in for me until Thursday (other than my typical am check). And I mean it. Well, maybe Tuesday. After all, I need to know if those snow showers will amount to anything. And if I am on Tuesday, why not just go on Wednesday as well? No point in skipping a day until Thursday. Plus the forecast following will be fun to follow in it's entirety to the weekend... Oh, who am I fooling. I am a CWG junkie.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 31, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

9.0 inches of snow at 7 am with 6 below zero.

Tuesday and Tuesday night, though a minor blip on the screen at this point, will have to be watched closely.

Late week and next weekend presents a real threat with another Winter Storm. Early qpf and 850 temps. last 3 runs of GFS gives around a foot of snow across west central Va. Slightly less D.C.

00z EURO slightly inland with track presenting precip. type issues in I95 corridor, but the 12z EURO just in, suppresses more in line with GFS. Brings up to Hatteras then ene out to sea. This would result in higher prob. of snow in 95 corridor.

Very early and changes almost certainly await, but the trend is our friend.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 31, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

9.4" in NW Spotsy, now have about 31.5" for the season. Planning on fishing 301 bridge Mon., couldn't get there last week.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 31, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Main roads are fine, but back roads & subdivisions are icy. Neighbors have beeen spinning around (not on purpose) in the parking areas - let off the gas pedal people!
Temp has not gone above 31 here all day. There will be lots of black ice to watch out for tonight & tomorrow morning, so be careful out there if you have to go out.
I think it quite likely that Fairfax schools will late tomorrow.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 31, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Snowlover 2 --



Posted by: dinergirl1 | January 31, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

^ Fairfax already has a professional day tomorrow I think.

Manassas City has already closed for Monday. We gonna get a schoolcast CWG?

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 31, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I too enjoy this site because it is fun place to talk about the possibility of snow with other people who enjoy the topic, "Will it snow?"

We just got back from sledding. Almost no wind, beautiful sunshine and lovely white sparkling slick snow, perfect for sledding.

Actually perfect for cross-country skiing, but I don't have skis for the kids.

Posted by: celestun100 | January 31, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

DC Convention Center has just now poked above freezing!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Snowlover2 and to quick checking this obsessively during snow season.

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 31, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: samdman95 | January 31, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@Augusta Jim

I agree the coastal low needs to be watched for Tuesday night. Note an update to that section of the forecast above to account for some of the uncertainty there. The operational models keep it safely out to sea, but ensembles (both GFS and SREF) suggest it's worth keeping an eye on.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm back from beautiful and WARM Maui. I see that none of you snow lovers bothered to shovel my driveway. Thanks for nothing.

Maui was fantastic. The humpback whales were calving and were too many to count while watching from the coastline. Even saw a few "breech" the water surface which is an awesome sight. Was fun watching them teach their young calves. Also learned about "vog" or volcano fog from a local. Great visit.

Hope you all enjoyed your winter while I was gone, because I brought back a whole suitcase full of tropical air that I'm gonna unleash soon!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 31, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Alot of people think this has been a very cold winter, when in fact, it hasn't been. Thru Jan 31 Reagan is -.65 degrees, while Dulles is +.8, so basically the temps have been average this winter. Everybody remembers the cold days but seem 2 forget the warm days.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 31, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse


You ask and you shall receive ... SchoolCast now added at the top of this post.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

18z GFS is interesting for Tuesday night - more precip than previous runs, but it might not be snow.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 31, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

wow low schoolcast... manassas city, spotsylvania county, and madison county schools are all closed

Posted by: samdman95 | January 31, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I am thinking that the roads in Alexandria and Arlington are fine, and there should be no school delay tomorrow morning- but then again, I have not driven around today. From my neighborhood walk the roads seemed clear and dry. Anyone who was around those cities in cars have any thoughts on school delay possibilities?

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 31, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse


SchoolCast is for the DC metro area in general. So while there certainly may be some cancellations, I don't think I'd go as far as a 50/50 chance of no school for folks like D.C., Fairfax, MoCo, etc. But I do think a lot are likely to be delayed, thus the 1.5 apples.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

CWG: Suggestion for a quiz next weekend, esp. if there is snow on the ground: How many Superbowl Sundays in D.C. with an inch of snow or more on the ground at DCA?

Or, alternatively, what was the snowiest Super Bowl Sunday at DCA? (For nerdy snowophiles like me, the answer for the first 43 Superbowls can be gleaned on pp. 90-91 of "Washington Weather" and in much more detail on pp. 545-554 in Vol. II of "Northeast Snowstorms").

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 31, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Please don't tell me it's going to snow again next weekend. I'm so over this weather. It ruined my whole weekend!

Posted by: js2225 | January 31, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Next weekend, a snowstorm would be perfect, you should already have your Superbowl snacks and you can work them off shoveling after the game!

Posted by: celestun100 | January 31, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I concur with the comments regarding being a CWG junkie. I spent a ton of time on this site this past week (and also which focuses up here on Baltimore) and was the only one in my office to prepare for this storm. (I'm in property management so we have to prepare for snow removal for our tenants.)

I even got an email from my incredibly stubborn boss yesterday admitting that she was wrong and I was right. She copied the whole office on it and I'm framing it for my office. :) Thanks for making me look good, CWG!

Posted by: klh84 | January 31, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

No, a snowstorm would NOT be perfect next weekend, especially for those of us who have planned big Super Bowl parties. No one would be able to safely make it to attend if the roads are treacherous again. Count me firmly in the 'Is it springtime yet?!' camp, especially since it only seems to snow on the weekends here this winter!

Posted by: nocando | January 31, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see I'm not the only one :)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 31, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

0z NAM came on board in a fairly big way for the midweek event... pretty wet actually, looks like over .25" at DCA. Potential seems to be growing with this one.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 31, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Argh! My beloved yoga class is Tuesday night. No way I can handle the multiple bus+train connections in bad weather (assuming the buses even show up). I'd hate the miss the class...I'm gonna hope this storm doesn't pan out.

Posted by: --sg | January 31, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

After all the snow hoo-ha, took a break. Only to hear at 7 p.m. this evening that our schools (Fauquier) are closed. We got between 5-6 inches, but can't say whether, for once, So. or No. Fauquier's snow is responsible. Congrats to CWG's forecasting of this storm. I found it responsible and accurate for my area. Plus, the hype was exciting without raising unrealistic hopes/fears. This is why I recommend this site to those interested in following weather. Also why I have the unflattering nickname in my office ["Doppler"].

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 31, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Ian, .25 inches of precipitation equals how many inches of snow? I'm sure you get this question all the time.

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 31, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Ian, I really didn't want to hear that... my car looks like the Bonneville Salt Flat on wheels!

Posted by: southbridgemom | January 31, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I measured 6.5 inches at the tail end of the storm last night, which brings my total in Greenbelt to 32 inches for the season. The highest I can recall in my 18 years in the area was in 1995-96, which I think was in the 50+-inch range. BTW, the Post had an article today that stated that DC averages 8 inches of snow per year, which I'm almost positive is wrong--I thought it was 16 inches at DCA (which of course is on the low side for the area), with more representative averages coming in at 20+ at the other two airports.

Posted by: markf40 | January 31, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I would love another snow storm, but it's gotta come on a weekday so I don't have to go to work! I'm a CWG junkie-you guys are the most reliable. With all the snow so far this season, I'm beginning to wonder if I need snow boots! I love it!!

Posted by: BruinGirl2001 | January 31, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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