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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/19/2010

Forecast: Warming fades after today

By Matt Rogers

Winter weather risk Wed. night thru early Fri.

* Antarctic weather safety training | CWG turns2! Comments? *
* Outside now? Temps & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
5Not quite as nice as yesterday with less of those beautiful blue skies, but still mild for January!
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Partly sunny and mild. 53-56. | Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. 30-36. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny and not as warm. 44-48. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


With the exception of Sunday's miserable cold rain, we have felt quite a nice reprieve from what started as a fairly aggressive wintertime pattern. Unfortunately, we have some reminders later this week that we are still indeed in winter with a threat for mixed precipitation at times late Wednesday into early Friday. But overall, this January thaw is not finished and we should see more warmer weather opportunities next week again.

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 (Tuesday): Variable cloud cover is expected today, which makes the temperature forecast a little tricky. Despite the prospects for clouds at times, we should still manage to make it up into the mid-50s or even a degree or two warmer if it's more sunny than cloudy. A mild wind flow from the west and southwest is expected at about 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clearing skies will allow temperatures to get a little lower tonight with freezing to sub-freezing levels out in the farther suburbs and mid-30s in the city. Light winds from the north are expected. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend....

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Sunshine is back on Wednesday, but winds are expected to be from the north to deliver some colder conditions. High temperatures should be about ten degrees colder than Tuesday with mostly mid-40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Skies should become mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of light snow or sleet after midnight. Lows will range from the upper 20s to low 30s. Light winds. Confidence: Low-Medium


Thursday is expected to bring cloudy skies with highs in the upper 30s. There is a 30% chance of snow or sleet early in the morning, followed by a break in the action through late afternoon. Confidence: Low-Medium

Thursday night is looking very tricky right now. Sleet and/or freezing rain are a possibility, which could persist for much of the night especially in the northern and western suburbs (where snow remains a possible precipitation type). In the District and south and east, sleet and/or freezing rain may change over to plain rain. Overnight lows will probably be in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Low

Friday could still see mixed early morning precipitation (sleet and freezing rain threats especially north and west of the city) before switching over to plain rain everywhere. Highs should only be in the 30s throughout the area with precipitation ending by or before the afternoon. Confidence: Low-Medium

Weekend weather looks somewhat mixed right now with highs in the low-to-mid 40s on Saturday moderating to the mid-to-upper 40s on Sunday (could be warmer). Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday but more clouds and some shower chances pop back into the scene for Sunday at this point. Look for lows to range from the mid-20s to the low 30s. Confidence: Low

By early next week, we should see another chance at highs in the 50s again.

By Matt Rogers  | January 19, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Making sense of the late-January thaw


I believe that this Wednesday-Friday event has the possibility to be a significant mixed weather event with the Northern and Western suburbs (Leesburg - West, Frederick and Gaitherburg - West & North really taking a hit. Temps will be marginal but I would not be shocked if we begin hearing of Winter Storm Watches as early at late tonight or early tomorrow morning coming from the NWS. Long range is also starting to look favorable for more snow. We have about a solid month to go before our chances drop significantly for winter weather so bring it on!!!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 19, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

I know it is early for this question, but hypothetically- if we had a wintery mix with temps on the warm side, would that present any driving issues inside the beltway? Is the ground warm enough at this point that a short period of wintery mix before rain change over won't cause many problems?

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 19, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I definitely agree that the farther west and north you go, the best chances you'll get for a Winter Storm Watch later this week. Longer term (Feb) does look interesting again as some key features like the Arctic Oscillation should return to more favorable levels for winter precipitation chances.

Posted by: MattRogers | January 19, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2, my thinking is similar that this warm January thaw period is allowing the ground to be warmer such that frozen precipitation in the District may not cause many problems. The bigger problems occur when the cold is much stronger and precipitation freezes to surfaces much easier. For inside the Beltway, this looks like a marginal event at this point.

Posted by: MattRogers | January 19, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that only CWG and Howard Bernstein are mentioning snow Wed night? It's not even mentioned as a possibility anywhere else? Where is this precip coming from? Looking at the maps, I don't see it yet.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 19, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey Thinkspring, the models are offering about 30% chance of some over-running precipitation Wednesday night. I'm concerned that our dew points will be so low, it will mainly be virga (not reaching the ground). But the chance is there.

Posted by: MattRogers | January 19, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

You give an excellent analysis of the Thur. night period by saying it "looks very tricky right now"

As I said last night on Jason's column, the 81 corridor seems to be in the bullseye for an icing event.

The temp. profiles have warmed to a marginal level in the 06Z NAM, but the GFS remains in the safe range for the Valley.

The D.C. area is marginal or "very tricky"

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 19, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The 12z NAM comes in suppressed with the main event Thursday night. Keeps the bulk of precip. south of D.C.

A light over-running mixed bag possible Wed. night.

Temp. profiles for 81 corridor a little colder for the main event with sig. mixed bag possible, especially south of Woodstock.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 19, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Matt.

Agree with Augusta that 81 corridor is best bet for the Thurs storm. DC metro, temps are marginal at best and the ground and roads have warmed somewhat the past week. I walked thru my yard yesterday and it was mushy. No longer frozen solid like it was just 2 weeks ago.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 19, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

As Matt pointed out with his analysis, the Thursday night period is "very tricky".

The models will fluctuate with details on every run. The latest 12z GFS comes back north with .50-1.00 qpf. Surface temps would average 27-30 degrees along I81 and 32-36 in D.C.

High pressure to the north and northeast with cad will almost certainly give this event a colder solution than last weekend's, irregardless of the details.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Looks as though the warm-weather advocates are taking over here. Time for another Arctic outbreak...

There was a 5.8 earthquake earlier this morning just SE of the Cayman Islands...not on the same fault as the Haiti quake, but I think the whole fault system down there has been re-adjusted by the Haitian quake. Similar to the situation in the East Indies; there has been a swarm of earthquakes in and around Indonesia since the big tsunami-generating earthquake a few years ago.

What may be interesting is whether these earthquake swarms on various major fault systems are increasing the stress on relatively inactive fault systems elsewhere such as the San Andreas system.
There seems to be a connection related to volcanoes as well...I have heard that whenever Mount Pelee on Martinique erupts, Vesuvius tends also to become active in the other hemisphere. The last eruption of Vesuvius occurred in 1944; it is said that Vesuvian eruptions are more violent when preceded by a longer dormant phase. Just for the record, it is believed that Vesuvius had lain dormant for six or more centuries prior to the historic Pompeiian eruption of 79 AD. At any rate, no one in Pompeii knew the volcano was active, and barely a century or two prior to the eruption, the rebellious slaves led by Spartacus had held out for an extended period on the slopes of Vesuvius against the troops sent to quell the rebellion by Rome. The rich volcanic soil of Vesuvius was known prior to the eruption of 79 AD as a region producing some of the finest wines in the Roman Empire [they even had a brand name "Vesu-vinum"!], and it was the activities of latter-day wine farmers in the eighteenth century which resulted ultimately in the excavation of the ruins of Pompeii.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 19, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Temps really shot up today. Leesburg currently 62.

Gotta believe this is gonna have some effect on the late week storm. Temps are marginal at best for DC metro and from what I've seen, precip amounts are generally light. Roads especially may be too warm after past 5 days or so of warm temps for any accumulation.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 19, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

What are the long-range prospects for a return to colder, winter weather? Or have we had our shot and now it's just pre-spring for the next 6 weeks?

Posted by: ah___ | January 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

What impact do you think Thursday/Friday will have on Baltimore? Have to there mid-morning on Friday and wondering if it would be better to head north after work on Thursday.

Posted by: rockville4 | January 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse


Joe Bastardi at is predicting a very cold February for us. He said that it might be our coldest February since 1979. He does not think that winter is over by any means.

Posted by: rginsburg | January 19, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Is that the Bastardi hype machine springing to life?!?

Posted by: ah___ | January 19, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm scrapping the B-day ski trip this weekend, and instead I'll hit up the Zoo on Saturday (I've never even seen Tai-Shan yet, and he's bouncing to China a week or so from now). The way I see it, I can go skiing any number of weekends yet. I can't wait for a cooler overall pattern as well, to eliminate the Day Mush/Night Ice slope conditions.

Here's to hoping that Saturday stays Sunny and dry! (Bring on the Snow before then for sure though!).

Posted by: TheAnalyst | January 19, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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