Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/28/2010

Best chance for significant snow is south

By Josh Larson

Higher accumulations focused on central and southern Va.

* Temperatures primed to tumble: Full Forecast *

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Friday night-Saturday
Probability of Accumulating Snow (1" or more): 50%
Most Likely Potential Impact:

If you've been following along on the snow-tracking game here with the Capital Weather Gang you'll know that we're expecting an area of low pressure over the Gulf states on Friday to move to a position off the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast by Saturday.

You'll also know that there will be enough cold air delivered by today's Arctic front to ensure that any precipitation that does fall will be in the form of snow. No dreaded rain/snow line this time! Unfortunately, that cold air is actually the problem. So much cold air can act almost like a barrier, stopping storms from advancing. In this situation we're concerned about how far north the system will make it before the pool of cold air shunts it off to the east and out to sea.

So, this time around, the rain/snow line is not an issue but, ironically, rather the snow/no-snow line. Because of the aforementioned scenario, the further south you go from D.C. the better chance at snow, and the better chance at heavier amounts. This could be a situation where 20 or 30 miles north of downtown D.C. no snow falls, whereas 20 or 30 miles south of D.C. several inches or more could fall. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly where the snow/no-snow line will set up, but it's likely to be very close to the immediate D.C. area. A nail-biter, indeed.

Here's our latest assessment of snowfall potential for the metro area Friday night through Saturday:

50% chance: Less than 1"
30% chance: 1-3"
10% chance: 3-6"
10% chance: 6"+

By Josh Larson  | January 28, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Snow Lover's Crystal Ball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Update: Snow chances sliding south
Next: Forecast: Temperatures primed to tumble


boo.... (turns dejectedly from computer...)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 28, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

My prediction for the District: Nada. Nary a flake. Nuttin'

This feels like a classic DC "winter storm" scenario -- conditions must align perfectly for any real accumulation to occur.

Posted by: wrytous | January 28, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot Cold Front....

Posted by: celestun100 | January 28, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

CWG - Do the models take into account Virga? I would think at this point, because we are on the utmost northern fringe, and all of the cold dry air that will be in place, that anything that would fall, would evaporate before hitting the ground? That said, how accurate are the models under these senarios where cold air damming occurs? Do the models tend to "hit the nail on the head," or are they usually off in one direction or another? Meaning, is the storm probably going to go more South, more North or pretty much as the models are showing? Thanks!

Posted by: snowlover | January 28, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse


The models take into account virga. Unfortunately, we can't make a generalization about models for a situation like this. Some models do better on certain features than others, they're not all in one camp. Bottom line is that we're on the edge and we've got look at both model trends and the actual data to figure out what will happen here.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Remember the January 2000 storm... where they said the night before that it was going to go out to sea and we weren't going to get anything... and we woke up to a winter wonderland? 8 inches of snow, I think?

Maybe I'm wishcasting... but anything can happen. :)

Posted by: MKoehl | January 28, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The NAM moved north a bit. It's so maddening being right on the cusp, every model run is like crack.

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Kallieh- "like crack" too funny!!
The wish-casting reminds me of watching the stock market go up and down.
I am also still hoping snow... we'll see...

Posted by: celestun100 | January 28, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

This hoping for snow is also a lot like watching your favorite team blow it!!
Never give up!! come on snow!!

Posted by: celestun100 | January 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I live in Southern Maryland, St. Mary's County to be exact. Am trying to plan an event that may need to be cancelled. What are you thinking is going to happen in St. Mary's County Friday and Saturday? How many inches?

Posted by: SouthernBoy1 | January 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@MKoehl: I totally remember that storm. I think the only local weather caster who clued into that at the last minute was Sue Palka!

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 28, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

GFS run just went north too. Maybe there still is some hope.

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

North or South ....looks like the storm has squashed our chances of going down to Virginia Beach this weekend to visit the grandparents. :( Although if it snows 6 + inches here I will be happy.

Posted by: photojenn | January 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse


There's a higher confidence (medium, I'd say) that you'll see a couple to several inches there in St. Mary's County (so, maybe as little as 1-2" and as high as around 5"; these are of course ballpark and still subject to change), mainly during the day Saturday possibly into the evening. Whereas further north closer to D.C., forecast confidence is low -- as little as nothing at all and as much as a few inches.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

What about Purcellville, VA? Have a Saturday afternoon event there....

Posted by: bnh123 | January 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I live in Charlottsville Va my first question is that all the storm watches for down here everyone keeps saying south and central Va or is it still too far out for them to post those?? On they have a swath on snow 6-12 inches right through central va aand charlottsville is this how you see it ?

Posted by: cpm2cv | January 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

My deliriously fact-free wishcast is grudgingly downgraded to 4-6" in the District. That's not quite a real storm, but it's better than, say, drizzle or snowmist.

Posted by: 20009matt | January 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

kallieh, you said,
"The NAM moved north a bit....every model run is like crack." mean...there's a chance! there's still a chance....

at this point in washington's snowstorms (when the reality sets in that it's gonna miss us for whatever reason), i'm always reminded of jim carey in "dumb and dumber" - when the girl tels him the chances of them hooking up are about 1 in a million, jim carey is ELATED! he thinks, ", there's a chance..!"

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 28, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

walter- I'm still clinging on. All the model runs so far this morning have been tracking about 50-75 miles north from where they were yesterday putting us in better position for something. If we can track another 50-75 miles before it starts, we may actually get something good. long as the next model runs don't track south again.

The Euro comes out at 1, we'll see what it says.

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

another 50-75 miles north I meant. Why no edit button washpost? Why?

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@Walter-in-fallschurch: ROFLMAO!!!
That Jim Carey Reference is perfect. I'm hoping for some measurable snow, but know the chances are very low up here... but there's still a chance! Yeah, and I could also win the lottery this week.
Still hoping.....

Posted by: dprats21 | January 28, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Due to my big dance tomorrow night, this has never really been a welcome snow event for me, especially if it starts before 8 PM tomorrow.

Even in areas south of us there may be less snow and more slush/sleet. It appears that the 540 thickness line, generally indicative of the rain/snow line, is now moving north from North Carolina into Virginia just south of Richmond. It's just possible this storm could be a classic under-performer, even where there's supposed to be snow. Too much warm-air advection generally changes the snow into wintry mix or cold rain.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 28, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Boo to cold rain! I will it away with my snow loving brain power.

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The models have been doing a "rope-a-dope", and are now starting their northward progressions. Similar to January 25, 2000, when all models had a storm going out to sea, only to end up dumping more than a foot of the fluffy stuff in most locations around DC. Get your shovels out!!

Posted by: johnnierat | January 28, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What is the best website to look at these models?

Posted by: trojans25 | January 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

It is definitely correct that this morning's models have shifted north of last night's runs. That I can't dispute. However, I still remain skeptical of much accumulation in DC and points north. Snow-lovers, do the snow dance!

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell (the Euro confuses me)- Euro is coming in inching north of yesterday's runs too.

Thanks Josh for the level headed advice, I'm not expecting much but just clinging on to any shred of hope we have.

*snow dance* *snow dance*

Posted by: kallieh | January 28, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Josh - Any chance you will go out on a limb and) post a new, updated snowfall guess map? I'm curious not only for DC region, but also central and SE Virginia.

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone, assuming we do a map, that would likely appear tomorrow morning. So far we haven't seen anything different enough today in the models to prompt an update. Check in with PM Update to see if we have any updates there, and/or the possiblity of a short update around 11 pm after this evening's model runs.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I still like a bit of a north trend down to the wire myself... it could be tougher north of DC but we'll see.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Not overlooking this weekend's potential snow, but it is hard not to notice the gargantuan storm brewing for Super Bowl Weekend! That thing looks nasty!

Posted by: GMorg11 | January 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Ooo... I feel like I jinxed it... in a good way... when I mentioned the January 2000 snowstorm earlier - and now the models seem to be running more north...!

@weathergrrl - seems to me Bob Ryan metioned something on his 11pm broadcast, too.
It was too funny - I stayed with friends that night, and all of us were govt workers or contractors... my friends had just walked out the door and I was watching the newscast - it was my war whoop when the it was announced the govt was closed, that caused my friends to turn around and not take the unnecessary treck to work... :)

Posted by: MKoehl | January 28, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@trojans25, here's the NOAA site I'd recommend:

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I have a grant distribution reception in Baltimore Saturday afternoon from 1 - 3 pm. The fellow who's giving me a ride is planning to pick me up in Montgomery Village about 11 am. What's the chance I'll have to clear snow from my wheelchair ramp? What's the chance we'll be slipping and sliding on our way to Baltimore and back?

Posted by: rlguenther | January 28, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I too remember Sue Palka being the only evening weathercast tipped off the 2000 storm. I remember 2 days earlier, there was alot of "maybe a big one" speculation, but then on the day before the storm consensus was "not gonna happen".

If I recall correctly, Sue Palka even broke in to regular programming time to give a update - we were gonna get wallopped!

Posted by: SJ43560 | January 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

So is the Richmond area far enough south to expect a large accumulation?

Posted by: jwblake | January 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@jwblake, yes indeed. In fact, I could see the potential for 6-10" there...

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | January 28, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I too remember JAN 2000 storm. We lived in Quantico and NEVER seemed to get any snow. At 6 am a neighbor called and told us to look out the window. Sue Palka was right on...and we have been her fan ever since. We all got a snow day and the kids still remember that event.
That being said, I really hate the stuff and hope we don't get too much this weekend.

Posted by: jawz33 | January 28, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

My Husky has been doing her snowdance all the time lol. She and I both need another barn blasting snowstorm! I need to test out the snowshoes that I received for Christmas too! Bring the snow baby!

Posted by: TheAnalyst | January 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

you people are sick hoping for snow, I wish global warming were really happening and we weren't pushing past seasonal averages

at least we'll have normal temps next week

Posted by: TGT11 | January 28, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Sue Palka... her collegue Gary McGrady (?) said tonight that Southern Maryland can look forward to 3"-6" Saturday. Maybe, maybe not. But right now, if there is a wedding, you guys are the bridesmaids. WE are the bride!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 28, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

BTW - Snowlover2 - Remember when I told you earlier in the week that SO MD keeps a close eye on storms from the south? We're making the milk, bread and toilet paper run tomorrow, just in case.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 28, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

it is Snowing!

Posted by: samdman95 | January 30, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company