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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/15/2010

Brief snow and mix to pivot through region

By Jason Samenow

Precip won't last long, amounts to be light

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Radar: Latest regional radar shows movement 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.

After all of the big-time snow events this season which have met or exceeded initial snow total projections, it looks as if today's event is more likely to fall short. As the storm center approaches and and passes over us or just to our west, we are likely to see a period of precipitation mainly between mid-afternoon and mid-evening. After that, it will quickly cutoff.

Why will snow totals probably be on the low side?

Timing and temperatures: The arrival of the precipitation during the warmest part of the day (mid-afternoon) will make it difficult for snow to stick, particularly in the District and to the southeast.

Mixing: Although temperatures will be cold enough aloft for snow, temperatures near the surface especially from the District and to the southeast may be sufficiently warm for snowflakes to melt to rain before reaching the ground (especially when precipitation is light).

Precipitation intensity: Although there may be brief periods of moderate precipitation, a lot of the snow (or rain) that falls will be light as this storm doesn't have a ton of moisture to work with and some of the moisture will be snowed out as the the storm crosses the mountain.

Short duration and dry slot: Because the storm center is passing to our west or just directly over us, a dry slot is likely to move into the region once the center moves north of our latitude. That will quickly cutoff the precipitation this evening (between 6 and 10 p.m.), although some wrap-around light snow or flurries could impact the northern suburbs thereafter (but odds are just about 30%).

For all of these reasons, I now think snow totals will be on the low end of the ranges in the chart shown earlier. Is there some chance the higher end totals could be achieved? Yes...about 1 in 3. Because this disturbance/clipper swinging through is energetic (notice the nice, well-defined swirl to the system on satellite and radar), it's not out of the question the precipitation could fall heavily for a short period...producing a quick couple inches of snow. The most likely time for this would be between 4 and 7 p.m. if it were to happen. Having said that, I'm favoring a pretty modest event with enough to whiten the ground from downtown and to the east and southeast, and around an inch to the north and west (though Frederick and Loudoun counties have a decent chance of 2-3 inches or so).

Our next update will be around 3:30 p.m.

By Jason Samenow  | February 15, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Some snow likely this afternoon
Next: Quick-moving event to cause few problems


For once, I'm glad we're missing the snow.

Posted by: ah___ | February 15, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Yet another day off ruined by snow. Maybe there won't be much in the DC area but since I board my horse in WV, I won't be able to ride this afternoon without risking a bad drive back. Going over the mountain on I70 won't be fun in snow, so I'm not going to risk it. I never want to see snow, sleet or freezing rain again. I was over winter 3 storms ago when I found myself sliding sideways on hill in WV. This ridiculous.

Posted by: js2225 | February 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Feeling aad and snowbegone about today's forecast. ; ((

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

re: post above, feeling Sad (not aad) and snowbegone. Just want to get to 60" for the season. Like round numbers, not this 55.9" DCA stuff (or in BWI's case, 79.9").

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 15, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Everybody who's rooting for more snow is entitled to their own opinion, but I personally hope that a huge wall of frozen slush collapses on their homes. This is ENOUGH.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 15, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I remain convinced that DC proper and maybe even the close-in suburbs to the north and west (Bethesda, Reston, Arlington) will get effectively zero snow. If we do get more, it will be the first time in 27 years that I've seen snow out of any storm--but especially a clipper--that passes to our north and west, except for wraparound snow after the low center passes (we got a lot of that on Wednesday February 10). But I've never seen a clipper do that to us. As CWG says, if this were to happen at night, the chance might be slightly, but only slightly, better. Now, I've clearly set myself up to be wrong, haven't I?


Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I must be wrong, because I thought most Alberta clippers slip into our region from the Northwest (in the direction of Alberta) and usually bring in cold temperatures and light precipitation. This one seems to have only one of those three things going for it in terms of the light precipitation.

Posted by: rocotten | February 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Snow flurries beginning out along the Fauquier-Warren county line. Current temp at 31.1F at ~1850 ft after a morning high of 37.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@js2225. It's not only I-70 you have to worry about, unless your horse is stabled right beside the highway. If you're familiar with W.Va., you know our roads are pretty terrible even when dry and clear. Add in historic snowfall and depleted snow-removal budgets and you can imagine the conditions.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 15, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Gunga2009 - I see on which side of the snowbank you stand! This winter has certainly been polarizing in the meteorological sense. Some snow lovers are having a field day; but even some neutral/sensible people who didn't really care either way, have now been massively inconvenienced this winter. Thanks for voicing your opinion--even with some a colorful metaphor which I hope happens to no one!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

In general, the cold, snowy winters tend to drag on late.

This Friday looks fine for my dance, but there is the chance of another big event in the Southeast around Feb. 25-27. Weather board posters are citing analogies to Superstorm 1993...this event could tend to track inland and give us more rain/mix.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 15, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Bombo47jea

25th - 27th is still very far away from a weather forecasting perspective. The same person who is predicting that huge storm also forecasted this Monday storm to be 6"-10" inches of snow for the DC, we'll see.

Posted by: parksndc | February 15, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Superstorm 1993 (March 6-7 or so) tracked east of DC. But it was so deep and powerful that it sucked warm Atlantic air in, which caused us to get a lot of sleet and rain in DC. We still got about 6 inches of snow out of it, though.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 15, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Light snow is beginning to fall in Stafford.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | February 15, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Hi again-could you please provide some information on when this snowy and cold pattern is likely to change? By the end of Feb. our average high reaches 50--sure would be nice to see that or higher by then...

Posted by: steske | February 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The National Climate Prediction Center was saying yesterday colder than normal and drier than normal for the mid-Atlantic through the end of February. New forecast is issued between 3 and 4 pom EST.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA very light snow at 36 degrees.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 15, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Very light snow/flurry activity just started in Lake Ridge.

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 15, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Light snow in Manassas for about fifteen minutes now.

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Light snow here in Oak Hill...

Posted by: Beachboy4ever | February 15, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see that the spring brigade is gaining momentum.

Just remember, we're one day closer. And one more winter day is about to go in the books.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 15, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Snowing in Alexandria!

Posted by: lawtonk | February 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Light snow on Richmond Hwy (near the Fairfax County Center)

Posted by: Melewen | February 15, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Light Snow starting in Loudoun County.

Posted by: ThinkGreen | February 15, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It's snowing... again... Fair Lakes area.

Posted by: veronica7 | February 15, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Snowing here on the west end of Alexandria near Landmark... little flakes. Not sure how warm it is outside, but I just got in from a walk about an hour ago and it's definetly too warm to stick.

Posted by: MKoehl | February 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Begining to snow in Alexandria

Posted by: ntrlsol | February 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Light snow in NW DC. The snow/rain designation is the radar isn't exactly correct, unfortunately.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, it's getting close but still no snow in DC - I am appreciative of your updates, all!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Light snow (and no rain!) falling at Catholic University's law school in NE DC.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 15, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah it juuuust started at the DC Convention Center. eerie. 60 seconds after I posted!
Regarding radar, I am finding that rain/snow line algorithm not performing accurately at all this entire winter! grr.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Light snow in Shaw.

Posted by: smjennings | February 15, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

snow starting in downtown Silver Spring

Posted by: bmp246 | February 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Light snow in downtown DC (5th and E) that seems to have just about stopped at 2.32 pm, but judging from NWS radar, will soon start again in some form.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Snow just started in University Park (near UMD).

Posted by: BobLHead | February 15, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Snowing in Suitland!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA had a band of moderate snow for the past half hour; streets wet, just a dusting on deck. Too warm for meaningful accumulation.
So don't be scared.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 15, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Light snow is SW DC near waterfront.

Posted by: DCcola | February 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It's snowing in Reston, started as flurries 30 mins ago, but now, it's snow. 37 degrees - car windows just starting to frost. 37 & Snow is so peaceful - 37 & rain is depressing.

Posted by: Restondad2 | February 15, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

We're getting flurries here in the Van Ness/Tenleytown area.

Posted by: batsandgates | February 15, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

heavy snow in spotsylvania. about 1/4" on deck/cars...just started sticking to the road.

Posted by: panthersny | February 15, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Snowing fairly hard in Reston, but it's melting as it hits the pavement.

Posted by: Restonmom | February 15, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Light snow falling in your nation's capital... perfect Olympic watching weather!!

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 15, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Snow is now coming down steadily in Manassas...sticking to the back deck...not sure about the roads.

Kim in Manassas

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Snowing in the Gaithersburg Airpark area!!

Posted by: wadejg | February 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Light snow in Falls Church...

Posted by: tbva | February 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Snowing in Silver Spring for past 40 minutes.

Posted by: Murre | February 15, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, interesting radar. It shows rain, but is definitely snowing steady in Falls Church.

Posted by: Bworl | February 15, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Been snowing at 310 Bridge for about 1/2 hour.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Snowing moderately in Lake Ridge. Starting to stick to cars and ligth dusting on decks.

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Moderate precipitation coming down in the Huntington area. Looks like all snow to me, not sure why the radar is showing rain? Also from reports where the snow started earlier- the snow apparently is bringing in some cold air causing temps to lower rapidly. Not sure if it will hold true here, but if so that will help with sticking.

Posted by: kallieh | February 15, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Heavy snow falling in Stafford with the pavement beginning to get covered a bit. There's definitely no rain or sleet in this as it's pure snow falling.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | February 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Snowin' pretty good at 29 and Nutley in Fairfax.

Get ye gone, spirits of snow! In the name of the Bob Hope Desert Classic, I banish thee! In the name of SPF50, I banish thee! In the name of Rehobeth, Ocean City, and the Outer Banks, I banish thee!

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

And it's snowing hard w/big flakes. Beautiful.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

WOW! The whole backyard is covered already! Oh... wait...

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 15, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

This radar provides a better rain/snow line algorithm:

Appears that the rain/snow line is moving east. However, looks like this will be brief due to the dry slot.

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 15, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Back edge of the snow is already halfway thru Fauquier County as the storm moves rapidly northeast. The snow should stop in Fairfax County and DC by 6pm.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 15, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Temp has dropped 3 degrees in past half hour in Reston. Now 34 & moderate snow - cars have a light coat, black snow being covered nicely.

Posted by: Restondad2 | February 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Snowing harder in downtown DC than I ever expected; not sticking, though. Do I get to eat crow in the form of snow??

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the roads in WV were horrible this weekend. I was there all weekend, staying at my parents' house. Driving was a challenge to say the least. I wasn't too worried about getting to the barn but because of the turnout schedule, I wouldn't have been able to ride until after 2. So I would have been stuck driving back in the 4-5 p.m. range when the storm would have been at its worst. I board at a place very close to Shepherdstown, so the roads around the barn aren't too bad but to get back to the DC area, I have to go over a mountain, whether I take 70 or try to go some other way.

Posted by: js2225 | February 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Please see walter in falls church for any chance of snow crow.

Posted by: Restondad2 | February 15, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Back to our usual no-shows!

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | February 15, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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