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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 02/ 4/2010

Forecast: Major snowstorm poised to strike

By Jason Samenow

Double-digit accumulations likely

10:40 a.m. update: Accumulations in map below increased from earlier.

* Winter Storm Warning Friday morning through Saturday evening *
* Last weekend's forecast: Subpar | Snowy National Mall photos *
* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall *
* CWG on Facebook & Twitter | E-mail forecast to a friend *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
7Bright sunshine and seasonable temperatures; the calm before the storm.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Sunny. 39-43. | Tonight: Gradually increasing clouds. 25-29. | Tomorrow: Cloudy. Snow developing. 33-37. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


By David Streit* and Jason Samenow

A major, high-impact winter storm is very likely to strike the metro region with heavy snow Friday and Saturday. This storm has the potential to be as strong as the "Snowpocalypse" storm of Dec. 19-20 earlier in the season. The one difference is that the atmosphere will be modestly warmer this time around, allowing for the possibility that snow will mix with sleet, primarily along and east of I-95. However, the majority of this storm will likely be snow and we expect the most probable accumulations will be in the 12 to 20" range or more.


Snow develops SW to NE. Possible mix with rain/sleet. Temps 33-37.
Snow, becoming heavy late. Some mix S&E. Temps 30-34.
Snow, possibly heavy. Some mix S&E. Temps 28-32.
Snow, becoming breezy. Temps 26-30.
Snow, decreasing some in coverage/intensity. Breezy. Temps 27-31.
Snow tapering to flurries. Breezy. Temps 27-31.

Snowfall probabilities:

5% chance: Less than 6"
15% chance: 6-10"
40% chance: 10-16"
40% chance: 16"+



Today (Thursday): It will be a chilly start to the day with 20s but under plenty of sun, most areas should reach the lower 40s by afternoon. This will go a long way to melting the leftovers from Tuesday night's snow. Winds from the north will be light at 5 to 10 mph. Confidence: High

Tonight: The only hint of the approaching storm will be a steady increase in clouds beginning mid-evening. It won't be too uncomfortable as winds will be calm and, with the blanket of clouds, lows will only fall to the mid to upper 20s. With a lot of the snow gone, refreeze issues should be minimal. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

The old Vale Church in snow in Oakton, Va yesterday. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Tomorrow (Friday): Clouds will quickly thicken during the morning. Snow is likely to begin between mid-morning and early afternoon. A mix with sleet or even rain at the onset is possible along and east of I-95, but most areas will get snow. The precipitation should be light to begin with but expect moderate snow by mid-to-late afternoon with some accumulation by the evening commute. Accumulations may be around 2-4" by dusk as temperatures remain around freezing. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Snow will be moderate to heavy for a good part of the night with 1 to 2 inch accumulations per hour likely at times. Winds will begin to pick up from the northeast at around 10 to 20 mph, leading to some blowing snow and lowered visibility. The snowfall may let up some in the late-night hours, but it's likely to continue without much too much pause. Temperatures will be in the mid-to upper 20s. By morning, additional accumulations should be around one foot in many spots. Confidence: Medium-High


Saturday is likely to start with a second burst of snow in the morning as an upper-level disturbance follows the main storm offshore. Snow should taper off to flurries by or during the afternoon. Temperatures will struggle to make it up to the freezing mark. Look for another 2 to 4" accumulation with total storm snowfall expected to be in the 16 to 26" range most spots (some possibly more, others perhaps less). Temperatures will drop quickly overnight with the fresh snow cover to upper teens and lower 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday will see temperatures again have a hard time doing better than near the freezing mark due to the extensive snow cover across the area, despite mostly sunny skies and light winds from the north. In fact winds will calm by evening and overnight causing lows to plummet to the teens and possibly even some upper single digits in the colder suburbs. Confidence: Medium-High

Monday will again struggle to get to freezing after the very cold night and continued notable snow cover throughout the region. Winds will be light and clouds should be increasing ...the first sign of yet another approaching wintry system that could affect the area on Tuesday. Confidence: Medium-High

*David Streit is a senior meteorologist with Commodity Weather Group, LLC, in Bethesda, Md., and a prospective Capital Weather Gang contributor.

Updated: Thursday Feb. 4 @ 4:00 p.m

By Jason Samenow  | February 4, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Update: Confidence increasing in high snow totals
Next: Double-digit snows twice in one season: a rarity


Bring it.......Oblizzarated 2010!

Posted by: snowlover | February 4, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

These snows are pretty. The best things in life are free!

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | February 4, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Ok, let's plan for another snow ball fight. Who's in? What location?

Posted by: tmi1 | February 4, 2010 5:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand some acronyms used in this blog:


Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | February 4, 2010 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Welcome David. Great write-up guys. My morning comment about this monster of a storm is:
We're going to need a bigger shovel...

Posted by: dprats21 | February 4, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse

blah blah blah...accidents, rodent invasions, Seasonal Affective Disorder, backaches, grow up and stop acting like children...blah blah snow removal budgets, blah blah complain, bellyache, whine...

sorry - just anticipating thinksnow's comments. I am personally hoping for "the Fourth Horseman of the Snowpocalypse" myself. GO NATURE!!

Posted by: DrLRonHoover | February 4, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Does the 2 1/2 apples indicate you guys think most schools will close Friday or that you think most will close early?

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 4, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Just saw the latest NAM and GFS precipitation totals (two of the weather computer models showing how much water will fall)... How overstated are they?
This storm just went from exciting to concerning.

Let me revise my morning statement: Going to need a snow blower...

Posted by: dprats21 | February 4, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

The kids are gonna be in school until the 4th of July at this rate.

We need a special cast for likelihood of cancelling Super Bowl parties. Kickoff of the game is 6:28 Sunday.

Posted by: epjd | February 4, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all....Since this storm is going to be so bad, please talk with family, friends, neighbors who are elderly to make sure they have everything they will need to make it through this storm or better yet, invite them to stay with you until the storm is over.

Posted by: jcmcgrath1969 | February 4, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

David, welcome to the machine! So, now we're looking at a better chance of the r/s line staying south, what odds would you give DC on getting dry-slotted during the transfer to the coast?

Posted by: ParkerGP | February 4, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

This makes me happy.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 4, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

About the whole discussion on statistical forecasts: I love them, and that's why I read CWG and recommend it to friends.

They are more informative and more accurate than the standard "just a total" forecast. I appreciate everything you do to give us a good feel for the range of possibilities the models predict.

Posted by: waltraud82 | February 4, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who are overjoyed by this impending blizzard, please feel free to spend some more time in the snow and shovel my car out. I'll even supply the shovel.

Posted by: notindc1 | February 4, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I just noticed your accumulation probabilities on the front page of the WaPo print edition for the first time (or at least the first time I've ever seen them there)....our secret source is out!

Posted by: ftwash | February 4, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Can't hold a candle to the snow job the dems are putting on!

Posted by: jpost1 | February 4, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Parker, the dry slot is forecast to be very far to the south in this particular situation, so we shouldn't see that issue come along this time.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 4, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

What type of snow will this be? The soft, fluffy stuff like Dec or the wet stuff from 2 days ago?

Posted by: derrickd | February 4, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

@CWG-Could we see blizzard warnings go up like we saw in dec 19 storm?

Posted by: snowlover | February 4, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

CWG - thanks for your excellent analysis.

Looking at the latest QPF's, it looks like we're in the 2"+ range. Even at a generous ratio, that gives us at least 20" here in the city.

Do you think the QPF's are overdone?

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 4, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

@ jpost1
I see you got your copy of the recent Frank Luntz talking points memo....but please take your snow job someplace else....this board is for weather posts.

Posted by: ftwash | February 4, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

From what I can tell, the snow should be in-between our last two events...not as wet as yesterday's, but not as dry powdery as last Saturday's. I think it may lean to the wetter side overall since our temperatures will be upper 20s to low 30s. Regarding the blizzard warning question, that is possible, but I believe the storm gets wrapped up farther east this time, meaning the better chance for blizzard warnings are on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 4, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

To those asking about model QPF, it tends to be (and is likely) overdone in situations like this...especially the NAM.

Though, the GFS was a little underdone for the December 19 storm for a few runs, whereas the NAM was slightly too bullish.

Posted by: dtkwx | February 4, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse


NAM and GFS: Two different models used for extended range forecasting that are readily available to the general public via NCEP - - NAM is North American Model. GFS is Global Forecast System.

HPC: Hydrological Prediction Center -

SREF: Another model, shorter range than NAM and GFS, also available at NCEP. Not sure on that acronym.

Posted by: RandC | February 4, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Let me echo jcmcgrath1969's comments: Check on family and friends who will have difficulty with this storm, and find out how you can help them, including bringing them into your home if you possibly can. Otherwise, replenish supplies of food & medicines, and of course offer to shovel and build them a snowman in the front yard.

Remember, helping others during a storm like this is scientifically proven to triple your snow enjoyment levels! :-)

Posted by: --sg | February 4, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to review David Streit's bio/CV before he's admitted to the CWG. I think our current roster blends power, speed, and offensive creativity.

Nah -- welcome aboard David! You're redshirted!

Posted by: wrytous | February 4, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm reading that this will be a lot of thick, heavy snow. Is there a risk of downed trees/power lines that likely won't be fixed by Sunday at 6:30?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 4, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Hoover -

I certainly hope the 6:01am comment wasn't directed at me. If it was, it was uncalled for.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 4, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Okay, a question a little more on the tounge-in-cheek side...

Ready to do combat at the grocery store today. How long it takes is really not an issue. My question is - the Whole Foods near work, or the Harris Teeter near home? Both options deliberately avoid use of a car, and since I have two of those huge Whole Foods bags - one for each shoulder - I'm sure I'd be able to do the 20 min walk home from Harris Teeter.

So - Whole Foods? Harris Teeter? Abandon the whole idea because of the justifiable crowds and go home to starve this storm out? Your thoughts... :)

Posted by: MKoehl | February 4, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

I will be praying the temperatures do not reach the 40s today west of the city. I dont want a slushy base when this storm starts. That alwasy seems to cut down on the totals. I want no less than 75% of what we have on the ground to be around when this storm hits. Rarely do we have snows that accumulate on each other.

Posted by: rocotten | February 4, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Follow up.
SREF: Short range ensemble forecast system. It's basically an ensemble system for the NAM (like the GEFS is an ensemble of the GFS). The SREF is multi-model however, unlike the global counterpart.

Posted by: dtkwx | February 4, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

With my 50 mile commute from Frederick to Laurel, tomorrow afternoon's rush hour should prove interesting. I am planning on bailing at the first flake....wait a minute, with that criteria I'll be leaving as soon as I arrive at my office...

Posted by: soyboy99 | February 4, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Great to wake up and see that we are still right in the cross-hairs. I had a dream that this one busted and we got half-rain/half-sleet....

Posted by: JDK4 | February 4, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

At what point do we all cry uncle?

Maybe we should appoint a delegation to go and negotiate with El Nino the terms of our unconditional surrender.

Posted by: Vingold | February 4, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse


It will be easier to shop in a crowd today than it will be once the snow starts piling up. I shop at Giant, Safeway and Shopper's because that is what we have around here.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 4, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the updates. I have some questions, mostly relating to the December 19 storm. That was snow on a Saturday that closed Federal Government on a Monday. I'm curious from the experts, or readers:

1. I park at metro, and then drive home. Is a 15-20 minute drive at 6 or 7 pm likely to be snowy conditions on Friday evening?

2. Will internal roads have been plowed by Sunday afternoon? Basically, I'm curious as to the disruption of potential superbowl parties.

3. What is the likelihood of closures on Monday? Schools and Federal Government.

4. I hear predictions of a cold front, but all weather forecasts have highs in the high 30s/low 40s on Monday, Tuesda, etc. That looks pretty warm to me, relatively of course.

5. Is there more snow (3-5 inches) predicted in the middle of next week?


Silver Spring, MD

Posted by: superseiyan | February 4, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse


You have a lot of questions, but let me take a quick crack at the :)

1. Yes.
2. Will depend on where you live. Tough call
3. Schools likely. Government, maybe 50/50.
4. Right now, looks like 30s Monday and Tuesday, cold; not frigid
5. Yes, chance of snow next Tuesday and Tuesday night. Accumulations TBD.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

2. Think the December storm - how well cleared were you then?
5. Models aren't very clear on that storm. Some as recent as two days ago didn't even show it, while others made it pretty major. But we should get a few inches, possibly more.

Posted by: RandC | February 4, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

@300 feet

Models may be overdoing precip output some, but there is broad consistency for at least 1.5" liquid equivalent across a number of models. That's why we're saying 12-16"+ , because there is some potential for snow totals to be higher. But there is still a chance things could shift in the other direction (less snow, more sleet) so we don't want to get too aggressive too fast with total projetions.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

re: questions pertaining to SchoolCast and FedCast

We're anticipating the possibility of some early dismissals on Friday, though it wouldn't surprise me if some schools pre-emptively close in anticipation of the storm.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse


One thing I'm seeing on the water vapor loops is there is a lot of moisture streaming north in advance of the storm. Right now, the front edge of that moisture is already well into Virginia / West Virginia.

I'm wondering about the current NWS forecast that today is supposed to be mostly sunny - with this moisture streaming in, I'm thinking we might see high clouds come with them. The 12:45Z visible image still is too dark to tell if there is a cloud shield associated with this water vapor, but I would not be surprised. And if we have high clouds, the temperatures will not warm as much today.


Posted by: RandC | February 4, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse


Am I reading it right that you think everything (School + Government) will be open all Friday?

Posted by: Bious | February 4, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse


Storm doesn't arrive until early afternoon in the SW portion of the region, and not until mid to late afternoon for most of the region. Schools will only close if they think they might get snowed in - more likely early dismissal if even that.

Government will definitely be open - ever see government close for anything less than the aftereffects of a super major storm? They won't close preemptively.

Posted by: RandC | February 4, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I hope the Government closes Monday, that would make the Super Bowl party a PARTY! :)

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 4, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Something is out of whack. I moved to Boston a year ago after a lifetime in DC, got my first pair of snowshoes for Christmas and all I can do now is LOOK at photos of snow in DC.

* * * Please send some snow north! * * *

Posted by: freen | February 4, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse


Thanks so much for doing a great job of covering the weather this winter. I'm a snow lover, and I'm so happy to be having a "real" winter this year!

I'm sure you're inundated with questions right now, but if you have time, here is mine: I am supposed to fly out of Dulles at 6:35 tomorrow morning to Las Vegas, via Atlanta. I am scheduled to return on the red-eye Sunday night, a direct flight from Las Vegas to Dulles, landing at 6:00 am Monday morning. Currently, I am supposed to be at a meeting at 10:00 Monday morning.

Based upon the current forecast, do you think I have any chance of making it back on time from Las Vegas? I am leaning toward postponing the trip, both because I don't want to spend a quick weekend get-away stuck in the airport and also because I'd love to see the snow, but I'm just not sure . . .any thoughts would be welcome.

And keep up the good forecasting work. Thanks!!

Posted by: DianaJeaninArlington | February 4, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

When you see a huge "arrowhead" like that on radar -- with the vertices of the triangle in Mexico, South Carolina, and Montana, for Pete's sake -- is that all one "system"? Is there a name for that kind of configuration?

Posted by: Groff | February 4, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Other than "big."

Posted by: Groff | February 4, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

RandC - out my window I'm seeing some cirrus or cirrostratus clouds streaming in from the south; looks like your "high clouds" formulation may be accurate for today's temps.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 4, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Football isn't the only game in town on Sunday, literally. There's a 3:00pm start time for Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center as NBC's national hockey game of the week.

(For once I'm glad I don't have tickets to this one because I have a feeling it'll be difficult to get downtown.)

The teams are arch-rivals who really do dislike each other and you can make a strong case that the two best hockey players in the world will be on the ice. Just a suggestion for something to watch if you're snowed in during the hours before the kickoff in Miami or you want to get your sports-viewing party started early.

Posted by: greggwiggins | February 4, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

So ---most models are showing QPF in the 1.5-2.5 inch range right for our general area. Why has there not been an increase in the overall snow totals as of yet and should we expect a possible update tonight as the model trends verify? If some of these models hold true---we could truly see a historic snow storm as well as a very dangerous situation if this is a heavy, wet snow. I truly believe that we could see some of our western and close in northern burbs with 2-2.5 feet of snow!!! Am I wishcasting here?

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 4, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

If it's heavy wet snow, living at the end of a dirt road near Leesburg, I'm sure glad I have a 1000 g propane tank and a generator that works. Could be days before power gets back on with 2+ ft of snow.

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 4, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse


Didn't realize you were a wolverine. Didn't take anything in AOSS, but was a PiTE major, '09.
Go Blue!

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | February 4, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse


I think you'll be ok with that flight schedule.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

there is NO WAY i would leave town friday morning. that would be insane - especially because you called yourself a snowlover...

i remember one storm where i was "snowed out" of washington. we were stuck in hot sunny florida. it was HORRIBLE! unless this is an absolutely urgent life/leath kind of trip, stay here. apparently this could be historic....!

i hope you're right about the cloudiness. arctic species do not like 39-43 degrees and sunny...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse


The Caps game got moved to noon on Sunday a few weeks ago. Still on NBC.

Posted by: bryc3 | February 4, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

greggwiggins--puck drop for Caps/Pens on Sunday was moved up to noon for NBC purposes. No idea what the weather will do to it of course.

Posted by: Stevis16 | February 4, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I've been told the VA State police are being told to prepare for 40 inches of snow. So what is the likely hood of that horrible scenario? The 20 inch predictions is making me ill as I fear the special dues assessment to pay for the snow removal as HOAs etc are running out of budget to cover it all.

Posted by: hereandnow1 | February 4, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Any chance of things shifting and this entire storm being rain/sleet? The rain/mix line looks very close to DC and usually that means a slight shift and instead of 12" + were getting 1" and rain.

Posted by: Firedude | February 4, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@greggwiggins: Game time has been bumped up to NOON on Sunday because NBC is broadcasting it as the game of the week! Gonna try to get into the city, scalp a few tix, then head back out for the Super Bowl. All that plus snow might make this weekend the best one for the year!

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

@ DianaJeaninArlington

I was snowed out of Baltimore/Washington during the February 2003 storm. I was in Boston, so I still got to see some snow, but not the epic storm we had here. I was supposed to fly back in on Sunday night, eventually came back Tuesday night, after almost 24 hours at Logan. NOT FUN!

Posted by: bachaney | February 4, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Given that this storm is supposed to start at (approximately) sundown on Friday, and end at (approximately) sundown on Saturday, I recommend that we called it The Sabbath Storm. Not only will this be enjoyable for Jews, but it should also placate DC's sizable Ozzy Osbourne fan base.

Posted by: noneofyourbeeswax1 | February 4, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

may we reprise "snowman" for this one... ;-)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse


There's certainly a chance of some mixing (esp from DC S and E), but very unlikely this turns into a rain storm given overall pattern and consistency/agreement of the computer models.


I don't think 40" is plausible (less than 1% probability), although some 20+ totals can't be ruled out.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

is it just my monitor or is it really difficult to make out detail (i.e., the black lines) in the lovely dark blue area of the snowfall map?

it's pretty amazing (and i'd say statistically inaccurate) that the NWS "at a glance" calls for 100% chance of snow tomorrow.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse


I live near Whole Foods also. For the 12/19 snow storm I waited to go to the store, thinking I'd out wait the crowds. I woke up, played in the snow, went for a long walk, and swung by the store on the way home and it was closed early due to the storm. Total bummer. I had to spend the day without chocolate. Luckily, Murphy's in Old Town was open, and I was able to walk there and get some libations with some fellow snow lovers :)
I guess my point is- don't wait. Go- and like the proverbial boy scout- be prepared :)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

When was the snowiest winter in DC and how much snow was there?
With this snowfall plus the Dec 19th storm and the few small storms we had earlier in the week, do we have a chance to surpass it?

Posted by: SAB1 | February 4, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"white sabbath"?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I've searched for this online but can't seem to find it- what is the 2009/10 snowfall total for DC thus far?

Posted by: lb79 | February 4, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I love how the NWS always forecasts winds as gusting only 10 mph higher than sustained. Where I live (Harpers Ferry), winds invariably gust 2X, not 10 over. This is borne out by the NWS's own reporting stations' current conditions--and yet they go on forecasting gusts of only 10 mph higher.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 4, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to go ahead and say that with an 80% chance of 10 inches minimum, weather or not it gets to 12 or 16 or 18 or 24 or 90 is sort of not relevant. 10 will bring everything to a screeching halt into late Sunday, at the earliest.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 4, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@mandarb77. Good luck with the storm. I'm not on a dirt road but I'll be lucky to get down our W.Va. street before the Tuesday storm arrives. I'm preparing for a long siege.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 4, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I imagine I'm not alone on this one: we are scheduled to come to Georgetown U. for a parents' weekend event this weekend. Any thoughts on our ability to get in tomorrow and out on Sunday morning via Amtrak? Have to be back in NYC for a 9 am Monday meeting. How did Amtrak do in the Dec 19 storm?

Posted by: johneick | February 4, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse


We're forecasting 12-16"+ as the most likely range right now, which means more than 16" is certainly a possibility.


Right back at ya with a go blue. Football has been tough lately, no?

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

News You Chocaholics (e.g., Snowlover2) Can Use: CVS is selling four Cadbury bars for $5 this week (if you have a CVS card).

While Cadbury is downscale compared to the selection at Whole Foods (or better yet, Biagio's)you can scan and go at CVS and unlike Hershey chocolates Cadbury is at least edible.

Let me also add a plea to stock up on some birdseed during this storm. And the squirrels would be grateful for any nuts that came their way, because it's supposed to be very cold after this snow.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 4, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse


Obviously the earlier you come in tomorrow the better chance you'll have of making it before snow starts to have an impact. Hard to say if/when on Sunday trains will be back to normal service.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

How bout a Caps Cast for Sunday? Biggest Caps game of the year so far. Would hate to see the home advantage negated because nobody could get there.

Posted by: cassini | February 4, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Any idea when this two-storms-a-week thing is going to knock it off? I never thought I'd say this while I lived in DC, but I'm getting really, really tired of the snow....

(I'm also not a Fed, and my workplace has repeatedly said, "we are in no way attached to the Federal government; if there is any possible way to come in, you are expected to do so." Blech.)

Posted by: | February 4, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Amtrak is really good with dealing with snow (better than airlines at the least). You should be fine tomorrow, but expect delays and extremely crowded trains (read: SRO) on Sunday, even the Acela will be full boat. There will still probably be a few cancellations and lots of delays, but it'll be better than the alternative. Getting to Union Station on Sunday: walk to a metro station as underground station in the metro system stay open during the snow. Cabs will be few and far between.

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this is more a question about airport operations and/or sports scheduling, but does CWG (or anyone else) have any views as to the likelihood of Sunday's Caps-Penguins game getting played at the scheduled 12 PM? How likely is it that the Pens will be able to get in here from Montreal? Yes, the snow may be over by Saturday afternoon, but how long before the Pens can land at National or Dulles (and what time would they have to land to actually stick to the Sunday noon start time)?

Posted by: lmf-DC | February 4, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

CWG: My company is holding a test in Dover & Newark, DE on Saturday. Are we looking at heavy snow accumulations that far east?

Posted by: sportsjunkie29 | February 4, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

If anyone has an extra Sunday Caps-Pipsqueaks ticket, my email is I'll find a way to get downtown!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 4, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

So we have NatsCast, UnitedCast and SkinsCast ... apparently we'll have to have CapsCast as well?

I hope NBC has backup plans.

As far as next week goes -- I've seen other forecasts that say the snow will come in on Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Does that mean we're projecting later on Tuesday? (Yes, I have plane tickets from Dulles very early Tuesday morning!)

Posted by: BDVienna | February 4, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse


We'll have a separate post detailing some of these issues in just a little while.


DCA (Reagan National) has 27.3" of snow this season. Record is 54.4" from 1899, but since the observing station has been at Reagan it's 46" from 1996

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

ib79, local snowfall from this winter can be found at the NWS's Local climate page Here. Currently, DCA is at 27.3 inches, BWI is at 35.6, and Dulles is at 31.1.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse


Haha..should we be "Paranoid" about the White Sabbath not happening?

Posted by: JW211 | February 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

New to DC and so glad I found CWG - love it!

What are the chances that: (a) a flight will be able to land at BWI circa 7 pm on Saturday; (b) that I will be able to get from DC to BWI to pick up a passenger on this flight? How should I attempt to get there?

Posted by: freezingtexan | February 4, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Guys, the Caps game will go on. NBC/FOX/ABC is very strategic in planning their lineup this sunday to be against the superbowl and as someone pointed out, this is a huge matchup in the NHL. Since the snow will end almost 24 hours before the game starts, there will be enough time to get some clearing going. As long as the teams and the TV crew can get there, the game will go on. And if that means the NHL will have to hire plows to drive the team down from Pittsburgh, then I'm sure they would.

Posted by: jpl1019 | February 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Was supposed to go up to NY city for the night on Friday, returning Saturday. Not gonna happen.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 4, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love the 12Z NAM QPF of 2.0-3.0 inches for the area. Could be overstated, though.

Posted by: bdeco | February 4, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I am supposed to leave on a business trip today and return Friday around 4:45pm. Do you think I will be able to return at that time tomorrow? Please let me know so I can decide whether or not to postpone.

Thank you!

Posted by: manbeth | February 4, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse


1. Iffy. Airport may just be reopening at that time but with limited service. Only one runway open probably. If they're coming in on an international flight, your chances are better. Expect domestic flights to be severely delayed.
2. Getting there: if you have easy access to the Beltway and I-95, driving may be best. You could also take Amtrak up and back, but I believe ticket costs might not make that economically feasible. I have a feeling the Metrobus shuttle will not be operating, but check with the wmata site. Perhaps having them jump on a supershuttle is the best idea.

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

First of all, shout-out to the CWG from The Sabre, we need a gameday forecast for basketball season as well.

That being said, I was out of town for the Decemeber storm, but does anyone recall if Dulles was prepared at all? I have a Sunday 10am international flight...and since my major client is only available on Monday (75% of the reason for the trip), I'm starting to really get concerned.

I'm sure my seats for Saturday night at Kennedy Center are useless, haha...but luckily newer models show the storm tapering off Saturday afternoon, possibly giving them 12+ hours to work the toll road and runways and get back on schedule?

Posted by: VamosUnited | February 4, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

There are an amazing amount of experts that read this site. I had no idea we had this many experts on everything from weather, airport and train operations, driving in snow, sports league scheduling. WOW!

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 4, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Pens aren't coming from Pittsburgh.. they have a game in Montreal the day before at like 2ish?

Should be interesting to see if the game actually happens. Also interesting that they'll be playing on less than 24 hours rest trying to end a streak that threatens their (and the league's) all time streak... (given the Caps actually win the next 2).

Posted by: heltzooor | February 4, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse


And if there's one thing we need in the DC area, it's MORE SQUIRRELS.

Posted by: spyderjerusalem | February 4, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Completely off my normal track - I dont think the Caps game is going to be played at all...not if there is 20 inches of snow in the city - it wont be worth it to the team to play if nobody can get to the Verizon Center.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 4, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Warning is up! 24 hours in advance!

Posted by: megamuphen | February 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@ manbeth

Assuming anyone could give you solid advice you'd probably have to tell them whether you are driving or flying and where you are going/coming from.

Posted by: dummypants | February 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Got tickets for Ford's Theatre Friday night, which means I would be downtown until 10 p.m. and have to go back to Maryland at that time. If it's not cancelled, would I be better off driving or trusting to the tender mercies of Metro's Red Line? Or should I start thinking about giving up on the whole thing?

Posted by: faygokid | February 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

And as part of the upgraded WS Warning, NWS is now predicting 16" to 24". Wow. I mean, just....WOW.

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 4, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

For all of you asking about flights from the Dec storm: I had a Sunday afternoon flight out of Dulles. The backlog of passengers from all the delayed/cancelled flights from Fri/Sat was overwhelming. Lines were 6+hrs long and I missed my flight. Go super, super early and DO NOT try to check bags.

Posted by: cec191 | February 4, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

So I am totally excited for this snow storm, you guys have no idea. And now we have a Winter Storm I expect this storm to hopefully be more potent then decembers storm.

Posted by: lll1424 | February 4, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

DullesARC: The caps money comes from being on national TV on a Sunday, not from the fans going to the game. Either way, they would probably play the game on Saturday night and will definitely plan on Sunday. Too much money at stake to postpone a nationally televised game. The teams use charter planes so as long as there is a runway around here open, they'll be here.

Posted by: capsfan5 | February 4, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse


NOAA is calling for:


Let the rumble begin!

Posted by: lll1424 | February 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse






Posted by: capsfan5 | February 4, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

For all you people asking questions about flights, here is my advice. If you have a flight scheduled in or out of the area between 3pm and 9 pm Friday, 65% chance it will be canceled or delayed. Between 9pm Friday and 6am Sunday, it will probably be canceled (Snowball's chance in hell probability). If your flight is after 6am Sunday to Noon on Monday, expect serious delays.

If you have a flight anytime after 1pm on Friday, reschedule for a morning flight or tonight (Thursday) if possible.

Based on my experience of growing up and living in this area (26 years).

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | February 4, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Hey, we may soon having real Penguins in D.C., not just the ones from The Burgh!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 4, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

jpl1019 & Capsfan5 -- I agree with you that they'll want to play this game if at all possible, and especially given that its on national TV they won't be all that worried if a lot of fans can't get downtown. (Interesting question whether they'll make any accomodation, e.g., refunds, for fans who can't make it.) But I'm less optimistic than either of you that the Pens will be able to make it. Just a factual question -- does anyone remember how long it took National/Dulles to reopen after the last storm? Or how long it took to get back to "normal" operations? I seem to recall for quite awhile it was one runway open, and then only for flights landing from overseas. My second factual question is when would the Pens have to get here to make a noon start time? If they can't land until Sunday morning, say 9 or 10-ish, could they still play at noon?

Posted by: lmf-DC | February 4, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure they'll postpone the big Villanova-Gtown game Saturday afternoon at Verizon.

Posted by: voltron88x | February 4, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

For All you planning on flying.

I flew into Dulles on 12/20,about 8:30pm from California(I had been on a Hawaii cruise). The airport had been closed since Friday and had reopened at 6 am Sunday. The baggage area was crazy. There was luggage piled up all over the place. I finally found someone from United who said it was taking 3-4 hours to get the luggage to the terminal. I could wait, come back and pick it up the next day, or stand on a VERY long line to have them deliver it, which would take 3-4 days.

Posted by: pmknp | February 4, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I flew out of DCA on Monday, December 21st and DCA was running as normal with the only difference being: there were a lot more stand-by passengers in the terminal and there were still a few rippling cancellations. From my experience, the massive lines at the airport have been the ticket counters/rebooking lines. Printing out boarding passes at home allows you to bypass all of that; it took us 6 minutes to go through security.

NBC and the NHL will do everything in their power to make this game go on as scheduled, based on previous weather/sports incidents it wouldn't be surprising if the Pens landed sometime between midnight and 3am, but having a charter plane also gives you more room to sneak in to an airport sometimes. As far as refunds go, Ted Leonsis is probably working on this very scenario right now.

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This was posted on Twitter this morning, thought you guys might get a kick out of it:

@delrayser Worried about the impending DC snowstorm? I made a poster that might help:

Posted by: agrapple | February 4, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I am supposed to fly into DCA from upstate NY around 4:45 tomorrow. Anyone care to venture a guess as to whether or not that flight time is possible tomorrow?


Posted by: manbeth | February 4, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

faygokid, I would take metro on Friday. Metro will not run to above ground stations once 8 inches of snow has fallen (this shouldn't happen until the middle of the night/early morning so you should be ok).

Roads by 10pm will be horrible and even if you can drive in snow, too many people in this area can't so I would avoid driving if possible.

If you are worried about taking metro and dealing with long waits for trains, may I suggest the use of the metro mobile site (if you have a web enabled phone). There is a selection to view next train information (#3) from the station you will be taking a train from. Has helped me prevent 20 minute waits so many times. Just select "Next Train" and select your station and you can see if the next train in your direction is 5 minutes or 20 minutes away.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | February 4, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We HAVE to go to Rehoboth for a meeting Friday early afternoon. What's the forecast to get there and how much snow will that area see?

Posted by: jhwpro | February 4, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

What do you think of my chances of getting out of BWI on Tuesday AM? Heading to Costa Rica for "I gotta go where it's warm" therapy....


Posted by: CCCinNaptown | February 4, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Our organization is planning an Sunday afternoon event in Leesburg for about 65 people from all over the area. Is it too soon to reschedule?

Posted by: dottie_b | February 4, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

LSAT Saturday morning at Georgetown's main campus. Looks like some additional study time may be in the future.

Posted by: anon56 | February 4, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Other than people giving you death stares out of envy, you should be fine, however lots of colleagues reported massive parking spot shortages at BWI during the Dec storm so plan ahead. This may have had more to do with the holidays and less to do with snow, but who knows.

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Anyone flying this weekend, be aware that airlines will often cancel flights well before the storm hits, to avoid having planes stuck in the blizzard. So if you have a flight arriving Friday morning, don't think you're safe because the storm hasn't hit yet!

Posted by: mcfiddish | February 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

uh, about the storm itself, is anyone concerned about tomorrow's predicted temperatures and the storm's onset time?

given how warm it's supposed to be btwn now and then, are we expecting any of the first part to stick?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Accuweather is calling this the Weatherman's Storm of 2010!@!#! I apologize if this has already been talked about but the comment list is so long I don't want to go back through it!

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 4, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Haha a lot of asking about whether flights will be cancelled, etc.... I'm not so sure CWG has a direct line to the FAA or anything :)

Posted by: voltron88x | February 4, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

1. Pre-treating roads;
2. Predictions of double digits snow falls;
3. Already naming the storm.

Folks, this is setting up for a bust. We are due for one and things never go as planned around here.

Posted by: epjd | February 4, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse


love it or leave it....i think you know which one to do! jk :) no bust on this one too much model agreement

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 4, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

interesting to see the NWS be as bullish with this storm as they are. calling for 16-24 24 hours before the storm is interesting. they are usually pretty conservative

Posted by: danuva | February 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry - and I am a Caps fan - that game is not being played in front of 35 people. The game is going to be postponed, and I bet they call it off today to keep the Pens from needless travel. Hockey, unlike baseball has PLENTY of days off built in to re-schedule. This is looking like a historic snow event.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Accumulations in post above now increased from earlier. i.e., we are becoming more confident that the "+" or "or more" ranges from the earlier map/forecast are within reach.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Has the CWG thought about measuring accumulation totals in terms Greg Oden's junk? This would really help me visualize just how much snow we're getting.

Posted by: FradMaukins | February 4, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I think CWG's forecast of 12-16+ is the better forecast at this point. Still 24 hours away, so things can change still. I think it's a little early for NWS to be hedging that high. That call is better made when the storm is here.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 4, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Hilarious! I'm a portland native, go trail blazers!

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 4, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Folks-- Flights leaving between late afternoon tomorrow and late afternoon Saturday are likely to be delayed and/or canceled. that will be the worst time to travel. Though the storm will be over Sunday and Monday, the backlash from the storm will probably result in continued air travel disruptions. By Tuesday more snow is possible, so just be prepared for travel headaches pretty much any time traveling starting tomorrow.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

My name for this storm: SNOWGASM 2010!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 4, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Dulles ARC: I agree with you about the Caps game to a point. They don't have plenty of off days built into the schedule this year because of the Olympic break. In fact, nobody on the board has mentioned the fact that they have a game against Atlanta on Friday night, and that's going to be letting out right into the teeth of the storm. Doubt the Thrashers will be able to get out of here. One of the many problems for the Pens getting here from Montreal is that they still need ground transportation from the airport. Dulles to downtown is liable to be impossible (and/or impassable) if we get that much snow, so they'd have to bring them into Reagan National. I, for one, am glad they didn't bother to sell that game as part of my partial plan this season.

Posted by: ValleyCaps | February 4, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I believe this storm has the potential to drop 2 to 3 Odens.

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Also, for people concerned about travel, please check out the Get There Blog by Dr. Gridlock. There are posts about flight delays currently on there.

They also give shout outs to the Captial Weather Gang's blog frequently. Would be nice if the Gang did the same.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | February 4, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

just an the new GFS comes in, the trend over the last four cycles has definitely been moving the center of the storm westward, pushing the 540 thickness line closer and closer to the area. I've not looked too terribly close at thermodynamic profiles of the region, so I can't say anything conclusive, though. I know the 540 line isn't the end-all-be-all. That said, a more warm atmosphere could drive down snow/liquid water ratios and thus storm totals. Furthermore, the 12UTC has added about .25-.5" extra liquid water over the area relative to the 00UTC run.

Posted by: captmrwill | February 4, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

ValleyCaps -- You are right there are fewer days off this year, but both teams have Monday night (and Tuesday night) free, and Verizon Center has no events scheduled then. I would not be at all surprised if they push Sunday's game to Monday. You are also right to worry about Friday's game. I wasn't focused on that one (since I have tix for Sun but not Fri), but that one may be in doubt too. Whereas the problem for Sunday will be whether the opposition can get here, that shouldn't be a problem for Friday. But I wonder how responsible it'd be for the team or league to insist on a game being played when it will let out during the worst of the storm when travel is, in the words of the forecasters, likely to be "impossible."

Posted by: lmf-DC | February 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

NWS has definitely gone "all in" on this one. In my zipcode which is just 2 miles south of the "snow hole" (DCA), they are projecting total accumulations of 23.2 inches!!!

Posted by: SJ43560 | February 4, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I just called the Caps to ask about Friday night's game. Of course I sprung for really good seats for my husband's birthday. They said it's almost certain to go on as scheduled. And, the guy told me they were looking at the stats and could find only 4 games in recent history that were canceled and 3 of those were due to a hurricane. He said the decision is made at the league level - DC's input likely won't matter. I'm not worried about getting there, I just wonder about getting home.

Posted by: megster671 | February 4, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@the_local and CWG, thanks for the BWI parking tip and the travel warning from tomorrow on out. I'll hope for a window outta here on Tuesday AM.

Posted by: CCCinNaptown | February 4, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Betcha they will need to upgrade this to a BLIZZARD WARNING at some point during the storm!!!

I'm forecasting possible THUNDERSNOW between roughly 3 PM Friday and noon Saturday. Will consult Vaisala, etc. for verification.

Accumulations aoa 16-24 inches are definitely possible. Forty inches somewhere is not out of the question. If DCA gets such amounts this could be an all-time record snowstorm for us, beating the "Knickerbocker" and possibly even the "Washington/Jefferson" [if DCA gets 40"!]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 4, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Snowpoc II.

I'd color in all of those apples and jets.

Maybe three Capitol domes now, pending the OPM midday conference.

24 inches plus is dizzying, but is looking incresingly possible.

Current discusson on SEWX regarding whether 2/6 > 12/19. Entirely possible at this point, depending on ratios. QPFs of 2+ now.

Just. Freakin. Insane.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 4, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Hi - I am a little new to this all. Here is what I don't understand. I took the leap and looked online at GFS and NAM models and the precip models all seem to show that the storm will miss us and go east out into the atlantic. See

and then

for Nam - the same thing happens as well. What am I missing that you all see?

Posted by: shackleton | February 4, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Wow two big storms in one winter. This is so awesome.

Posted by: nolagirl67 | February 4, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Anyone have any tips about where to buy a snow shovel in Laurel? I lent ours to someone in our apartment building in December and never got it back. :-( Home Depot and Wal Mart are both out.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 4, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

More abbreviations:

SECS--Significant East Coast Storm [though I say "Significant East Coast SNOWSTORM"]

MECS--Major East Coast Storm

HECS--Historic East Coast Storm

Also Proposed: BECS--"Biblical" East Coast Storm

Tomorrow's event is probably an HECS, but becomes a "BECS" if it exceeds the "Knickerbocker" [28 inches] or "Washington/Jefferson" [36 inches] in snow depth, as measured at DCA. An IAD measurement exceeding either snow depth remains an HECS.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 4, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Both of those models show us getting "Heavy" precipitation. We will not be directly under the center of the storm, but this storm is HUGE and rain and snow will extend many hundreds of mile from the center of the low pressure.

Posted by: GD1975 | February 4, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

GD1975 - Thanks for the help

Posted by: shackleton | February 4, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Re those fretting over pending social engagements/travel plans this weekend...I'm thinking about emergency personnel and how they'll be able to get to where THEY MUST BE.

Posted by: mchristinaw | February 4, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

shackleton - match the color chart on the bottom -it's a chart for inches of "rain", to the colors that are on the Eastern seaboard. Then look at the amounts the colors indicate.

CWS has stated that ratio would be about 10:1, though that can be in flux - if the chart says 1.75 inches of "rain", we might get about 17.5 inches of snow.

In other words, we're getting hammered.

Posted by: MKoehl | February 4, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@ JerryFloyd1-

Thanks for the chocolate tip!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 4, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@mchristinaw -- most of us at my agency are planning to stay put at work at least for Friday night after the shift ends. My squad is working all weekend through Sunday. Hopefully I can get home Saturday night!

Posted by: natsncats | February 4, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's my likely timetable:

10 AM--3 PM tomorrow: Light--moderate snow, snow showers.

3 PM tomorrow--noon Saturday: Heavy snow, continuous or in intermittent bands. Thundersnow possible, especially overnight into Saturday.

Noon--9 PM Saturday: Snow begins tapering off, but moderate to heavy banding still possible. Cold winds may increase with blizzard or ground-blizzard conditions possible.

9 PM Saturday--midday Sunday: Snow tapers off to light snow showers or flurries, ending from west to east, possibly during the day Sunday. End of storm likely by Super Bowl kickoff.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 4, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@megamuphen - you could try Ace Hardware (corner of 198 & 29), or if you don't mind a short drive, there is a "mom & pop" hardware store close to the intersection of 32 & 108 in Clarksville called Kendall's. They had shovels over the weekend, not sure if there are any left. Good luck! :-)

Posted by: kathyb39 | February 4, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Shackelton, regarding the storm "miss us and go out to the atlantic" that is what you want to see.

The core of that storm is warm moist air. Its my understanding that if that core were to pass directly over the top of us, its virtually impossible for any of that to be snow. Instead, it would push out all the cold air, and we would get an "inland runner" and a lot of cold hard rain.

So yes, the core areas of the storm over the atlantic will get tons more moisture than us in DC will see. However, if we saw that, it would be simply rain and very very disappointing for us snow lovers!

Posted by: SJ43560 | February 4, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

My storm name suggestion:


My apologies if this has already been suggested and I've missed it.

Posted by: lkusmin | February 4, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This storm is getting too much hype! I think it will just be a rain event! ;)

Posted by: Firedude | February 4, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Forecast ramped up? NOAA has been calling for this snowfall amount since yesterday around noon.

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 4, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Firedude...leave now...jk...but seriously what is wrong with you :)

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 4, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

SnOwBAMA 2010!!!!

Posted by: SteveinAtown | February 4, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

My husband's flight is supposed to arrive at Dulles tomorrow night at 8:30. Only a very slight possibility he can get the earlier flight that lands around noon.

Chances I'm at home by myself (and the baby) over the weekend??

Posted by: jrjumper | February 4, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Name suggestions:

Point of Snow Return
Alvin and the Chimpmunks; The Snowquel

You should also consider Tevin.

Posted by: lyssa919 | February 4, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

will coastal areas get hurricane or near hurricane winds?

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 4, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Having seen so many predicted big snows end up as rainstorms, those urging caution are just being prudent.

I hope we get at least 19" and set a new DCA record, but to paraphrase Yogi Berra, "it ain't snowing, 'til it's snowing".

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 4, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm...just thinking out loud:

1)Storm very reminiscent Snowpocalypse: CHECK

2)time-line above repeats "Saturday": CHECK

3)We just had Ground Hog Day: CHECK

"Phil? Phil Connors?!"

Posted by: bruin64 | February 4, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: voltron88x | February 4, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@megamuphen if you order now, could have a shovel to you tomorrow. you'll have to pay for one day shipping, but it might be worth it for all of this craziness.

Posted by: bachaney | February 4, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

From a 12-year DC resident/Federal employee, those hoping for Monday off and a "real Superbowl party" on Sunday evening shouldn't hold their breath. Even if we get two feet of snow on Saturday, OPM likely won't make a decision on closure until very late Sunday night, or - more likely/per norm - until 4am-ish Monday morning. Even if they do close the government.

Schools and local governments may very well announce their decisions early (by gametime Sunday), but those working for The Man - or elsewhere - shouldn't plan as if they'll know anything before the game ends.

Posted by: TheBorg | February 4, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again with the use of "+" and "or more" 12-20+. You can't be wrong with a spread like that! So what does the plus mean? 22, 25, 27, 30? Just about every other outlet uses a specific range. For example, NWS says 16-24.

I know I'm going to get crucified by people on here. So bring it on.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 4, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Cold rain with thunderstorms in the vicinity down at MSU. Shes streaming in moisture from the gulf with a large precip shield already .... GET READY yall its coming

Posted by: jmc732msstate | February 4, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

just means it's probably a conservative estimate

Posted by: danuva | February 4, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Funny how Caps fans are also snow fans. I think both games will go on, there won't be enough accumulation by gametime on Friday to affect that game, and the snow should taper off in time to get a charter flight in somewhere by late Saturday night. Getting there at noon on Sunday might be a challenge for fans though!

Posted by: BobLHead | February 4, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The Federal Government announced the Monday closing after the December snow in the middle of Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: pchart | February 4, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Also gotten reports that a lot of meteorologists up there are taking some flack with snow amount variability the fact remains that most people dont understand even if the heaviest axis of snow is determined the banding cannot until it shows up on radar especially once redevolpment begins off the coast heavy snow bands will generate and strengthen whoever gets hit by these will recieve higher totals

Posted by: jmc732msstate | February 4, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

During the December storm, OPM made the call to close on Sunday afternoon. So there is some hope that will take place again this time. Fingers crossed! :-)

Posted by: schrute | February 4, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

OPM closed the Feds the Monday after the Dec storm only because Metro said that above ground stations would be closed. If Metro is fully operational 2/8, Feds will have liberal leave and up to 2 hours execused late arrival.

Posted by: Firedude | February 4, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

How soon is it likely we will have any clue about this yet-another storm coming midweek next week?

Posted by: esmerelda123 | February 4, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"SNOWMAGGEDON" (thx lkusmin)

Starring Ice-T, Vanilla Ice, Will Snow, Freeze Luv, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and George Gervin.

Posted by: bruin64 | February 4, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

yay! another snow ball fight! no guns this time!

Posted by: brandonesque | February 4, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Metro was open the Monday after the December storm--I went to work from the Twinbrook (above ground) station.

Posted by: Louise9 | February 4, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

When OPM closed the feds on the Monday after the december storm, the director made a point to say that they're trying to reach those sorts of conclusions earlier than they have in years past, due to family concerns of employees and the like.

Posted by: zim94 | February 4, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Louise9 You are correct Metro was open on 12/21. But originally on Sunday 12/20, Metro announced above ground stations would be closed that Monday.

Won't matter this time around anyway, coz its just going to rain. ;)

Posted by: Firedude | February 4, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Bombo: Thank you for those abbreviations... they are not posted anywhere, and I had figured it was some super technical lingo (Like High Energy Convective System), lol. Also, I like your timeline write-up.

SHOVELS: Wow. Everyone is out, except the PepBoys in Germantown who's manager had a hunch and stocked up. (The only ones I could find in Germantown- broke my big shovel fighting Snopocolypse)

GROCERY STORES: Around here (Upper MoCo), it is controlled chaos, but the aisles are clogged with extra stock of .... you guessed it, TP & Bread. Drivers are already behaving badly in the parking lots, so be safe, be patient.

Firedude: I don't think we can jinx this one too much. It's a matter of a lot of snow, or a ridiculous amt. of snow.

JerryFloyd: LOL.

What a crazy winter.... so far....

Posted by: dprats21 | February 4, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I find it very weird that stores are running out of shovels again. You'd think that everyone who needed one would have gotten one in December.

Posted by: zim94 | February 4, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hate it, hate it, hate it. I'm supposed to be flying out of Dulles early Wednesday morning. What are my chances of getting out of here?

Posted by: NoVA23 | February 4, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I have a guest who is scheduled to fly here on Saturday morning. Clearly that's not happening. How soon do you anticipate airports will reopen?

Posted by: soprano87 | February 4, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Tariq has a post up about weather and the Caps game that is a bit less optimistic than mine above.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 4, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Errr, that would be Lindsay with the weather related Caps post.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 4, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Just arrived back from the Manassas Giant on Wellington. Lots of people shopping and it appears there is extra stocking going on, however, that could just be normal for a Thursday, since Giants' weekly specials run Fridays to Thursdays. The milk cooler looked a bit worked over.

Another few hours and the store is really going to be crazy.

Posted by: irish031 | February 4, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Curious: For all those saying they are already at the store, do you people work? By no means do I mean that in a negative light, I am just honestly curious if you people work, and if so, did you take off to go the grocery store??

Posted by: cj658 | February 4, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

How bad do you DC natives think the roads will be for me heading south (to NC) down 95 at 4:30?

Posted by: ocop | February 4, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@cj658 I'm going to hit the grocery store shortly, during my lunch hour, I imagine I'm not the only one.

I need to stop reading these threads b/c you guys are giving me lots of storm cooking ideas and my list is getting long.

Posted by: ana_b | February 4, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse


I work from home,and so on the way home from a client site, I stopped by the store. I'll do that a lot even if we are not expecting any type of storm. There are advantages to working from home...

Posted by: irish031 | February 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I live and work in Alexandria, so stopping by Giant during my lunch hour is easy-peasy.

My only needed stop on my way home is the ABC store and I'm set for the storm (I feel weird picking up liquor during lunch) ;)

Posted by: summerandwinter | February 4, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice article Dave. Has D.C. ever experienced two 1 foot + snowstorms in one season?

Posted by: Rivy1 | February 4, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

United has cancelled many flights arriving to Dulles as early as 1:45 p.m. Friday.

Ugh. Can we negotiate this down to a foot of snow that falls overnight instead?

Posted by: BDVienna | February 4, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

We're all doomed....DOOMED!!!

Posted by: RichinVA | February 4, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

According to the latest NAM, easily 18+ in most of the DC areas.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 4, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Just hit the grocery store and they were saying they've been busy all morning but are waiting for the crush to come in starting around 4. Get there now while you have the chance! They were already out of eggs and flying quickly through milk and of all things blueberry muffin mix.

Also went in search of another shovel since one of mine has seen better days and was told at two places to come back at 12:30 for a new shipment coming in. Walked in the door at one two minutes past 12:30 and they had a line of thirty people out the door holding shovels. Completely sold out. Arrived at the second to see the same thing. Looks like the old boy is going to have to make it one more storm!

Posted by: HokieTerp | February 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

What do Uccellini and Kocin say?? They are the prophets when it comes to snow! :)

Posted by: joecct77 | February 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Half the people in my office ran out to the grocery store on their lunch hours. Our refrigerators are stocked with their bags. A colleague of mine joked that he could take one thing from each bag (that would probably go unnoticed) and he'd be set for the weekend!

Posted by: jwg9004 | February 4, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The OPM just announced unscheduled leave for federal employees for tomorrow. Awesome! Bring it on!

Posted by: Mowald | February 4, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I am preparing for this like I would a hurricane when I lived in Florida. LOL. never would thunk it.

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow - latest NAM, at least 18in for most of DC area

And the latest GFS 18+ too

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 4, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Wegman's in Dulles was as crazy as I've ever seen it. Took forever to find a parking spot, and then the checkout lines were stretching back into the aisles.

Working in public safety means we often have weekdays off -- usually great for running errands and such, but not today!

Posted by: natsncats | February 4, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I live and work in Tysons and went to the new Harris Teeter on Westpark at lunch. There was a line to get in the garage and the check out lines were all wrapped around the front of the store. Plenty of bread and milk but hardly any proteins. No chicken, no ground turkey, no lean pork chops. Either they are waiting to restock around 4pm or folks are going to be pretty upset after work when there is no chicken left.

Posted by: alcw1 | February 4, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

New Winter Storm Warning from NWS. Just upped the totals to 18"-24". Guess it just moved the bottom amount up 2".

Posted by: matt555 | February 4, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You can order a shovel from amazon by 4pm and with overnight shipping, get it tomorrow morning. I decided going that route was cheaper than wasting gas search all over the area.

Wegmans was already a zoo at 8am this morning, some things were already sold out. Their employees were handling it really, really well. Keeping people in nice organized lines and quickly moving them through check out. My cashier told me they called every employee in today.

Posted by: bettylou1 | February 4, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget, people are stocking up for their SuperBowl parties, not just for the snowpocalypse. You can't find a chicken wing to save your life out there.

Posted by: vaguypost | February 4, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Just came back from the Giant on Westbard in Bethesda. They were well stocked even though the aisles were brimming with people (including their personal shoppers...). If you can, I highly advise waiting until later tonight or early tomorrow morning to go. It looks like they have plenty of stock to last everyone, so no need to rush.

This storm is starting to sound more concerning than exciting. Just hope we don't have too many power outages and no roofs collapsing.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 4, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse


I laughed out loud.

Posted by: dannno301 | February 4, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: the_local | February 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

CWG: Any chance you can post a new storm potential article soon? The last two articles are less about potential but still have comments on it. Getting to be hard to keep up with all 3 articles.

Posted by: dukenilnil | February 4, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Newest NWS winter storm warning for Charlottesville has raised storm totals from 16 to 24 to...

20 to 28. This is getting out of hand!!!

Posted by: crozet | February 4, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I went to Whole Foods and the shadows on the wall were warm. The armadillo wouldn't come out and my shoelaces reached for the stars.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | February 4, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Super Snow MMX!

Posted by: NigelTufnel1 | February 4, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Now I understand by animals hibernate during winter....sounds like a good plan for the next week!

Posted by: B-rod | February 4, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

As long as my Fios keeps working, I'll be a happy camper.

Posted by: SUMB44 | February 4, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of snow shovels at Betty's Azalea Ranch on Lee Hwy in Fairfax.

Posted by: karen53 | February 4, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

For those of you worried about flights, Southwest just announced it was cancelling flights into BWI, Dulles & Philly beginning Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.

If you're planning to fly anywhere, you should definitely check ahead.

Also, many airlines are waiving change fees due to the storm.

Posted by: lvnbraves | February 4, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

ya! bring it on!!!

Posted by: rmk1122 | February 4, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

SREF = Short Range Ensemble Forecast
NAM = North American Mesoscale model
GFS = Global Forecast System

These are all atmospheric models run at NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction).

HPC = Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, which is part of NCEP.

Posted by: carusocm | February 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, I WAS going to fly into BWI Friday about noon, shuttle to Arlington, and leave via BWI Sunday morning. USA. Not real likely, eh?

Posted by: onemore45 | February 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

In December's storm, Southwest cancelled my flight, and let me change it the day before the storm. They also, after I asked, reimbursed the early bird fee I had paid for the flight. I was very happy with them

Posted by: craig19 | February 4, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse


Thanks, Ace Hardware at 198 and 29 had a ton!

Posted by: megamuphen | February 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@megamuphen - glad I could help. Just got home from the Giant in Burtonsville, what a madhouse! But the line moved quickly and the employees are still smiling (so far).

Posted by: kathyb39 | February 4, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

thinkspring – you are too smart! My post was aimed right at you. I was hoping that I might head off a blizzard of negativity and buzz-crushing comment from you and your ilk.

I understand that snowstorms like this are disruptive, dangerous and expensive. People drive off roads, flights are delayed, municipalities spend money clearing roads, and the list of negatives goes on and on. I get it. I understand. But I also understand that this is an act of nature and no amount of wishing, hoping or whining will cause it to be anything other than what it WILL be. The posters in this forum to whom you so graciously condescend and endlessly hector are simply expressing amazement at an awesome force of nature rarely seen in our boring corner of the world. We understand the negatives but prefer to dwell on the positive.

There are two ways to go through this storm – happy or miserable. I choose to revel in the wonder of it and share my sense of amazement with like minded folks in this forum. I will take my dog for a long walk in the snow. I will shovel out some of my neighbors. I will stop the snow plow and offer the driver something hot to drink. I will make sure my neighbors are OK. Why be negative and miserable about something over which one has no control.? Your negativity and attempts to teach our collective grandmothers how to suck eggs is tiresome and unwelcome. And yes – spring will come in due course. And we will enjoy it all the more having experienced one of nature’s most potent forces firsthand.

If you derive some sick pleasure from raining on other people’s parades I think you’d get more bang for your buck telling five year olds that there’s no Santa Claus. Or standing up in front of a church service on Sundays to deliver a lecture on how, metaphysically speaking, God is an impossibility.

Posted by: DrLRonHoover | February 4, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

DrLRonHoover--BRILLIANT. Your words are powerful and moving. Thinkspring and others of his or her ilk derive some perverse satisfaction through their endless barrage of disparaging comments. Thinkspring seems to resent those of us who goodnaturedly engage life fully.

We didn't choose or create this storm! But it sure is one hell of an example of God's awesome power. Where is the sheer amazement? It's all good..precious time to enjoy family, some comfort food, the chance to chat with neighbors and the folks in line at the grocery store.

I'm with you. Go nature! (Oh, and good call on the hot drink for the plow driver!)

Posted by: Hoyas4Ever | February 4, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Snow flakes starting in Reston

Posted by: Rmjw | February 5, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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