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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 02/12/2010

Forecast: Slow melting better than no melting

By Camden Walker

Next best chance for snow: President's Day

* Monday snow? SLCB | Report snow totals (map) | NWS snow totals *
* Snowiest winter ever | Wind chill factor | 'Best of' storm comments *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Cleanup map *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
7Morning sun, melting snow and highs above freezing combine to help cure that cabin fever.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Mostly sunny a.m. Partly to mostly cloudy p.m. Upper 30s to near 40. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Chance of flurries. Slight chance of light snow. Mid-20s to near 20. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny to mostly cloudy. Increasing p.m. winds. Low-to-mid-30s. | Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny. Upper 30s to low 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Whatever we do, we just can't seem to get snow out of the forecast. First, there's a chance of flurries tonight, even a slight chance of light snow. And then the next highlight (or lowlight) of the forecast is the possibility of accumulating snow on President's Day. At least some sun and highs above freezing today, tomorrow and Sunday will keep the slow melting going. Watch out for icy spots on streets and sidewalks this morning if you're headed back to work, or just out of the house for the first time in a while.

A parking meter up to its neck in snow Wednesday in NW D.C. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

Today (Friday): Mostly sunny skies through the morning move the melting process along, as do highs in the upper 30s to near 40. Still, breezes from the northwest around 10 mph will add a bit of an extra chill to the air. Cloud cover increases from the south during the afternoon, but precipitation associated with a storm system in the Southeast U.S. should stay to the south. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Skies turn mostly cloudy, which should help keep temperatures from tanking -- lows in the mid-20s to near 20. Winds won't be too much of a factor at around 5-10 mph. There is a chance that the northern edge of that southern storm system brushes the area with flurries. There's even a slight chance of a period of light snow, especially for the southern suburbs. Confidence: Medium

Can we get through the holiday weekend without snow? Keep reading for the forecast into early next week...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Skies could vary from partly sunny to mostly cloudy depending on the proximity of a cloud shield associated with that system tracking off the Southeast coast and out to sea. Highs aim for the mid-30s, but with enough clouds may only reach the low 30s in some places. By afternoon there will be a noticeable wind chill as winds increase to around 20 mph with some higher gusts. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy and breezy as lows dip to the upper teens to mid-20s. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday (Valentine's Day): More melting with partly to mostly sunny skies for the balance of the day (clouds may increase late) and highs hitting the upper 30s to low 40s. We still might be kind of breezy, but all in all a nice enough day to get out and about. Just heed those slush puddles! Confidence: Medium-High


Clouds increase Sunday night, but we should stay dry unless the next potential snow-maker speeds up. Lows drop to the upper teens to low 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Cloudy skies accompany highs that may only reach around freezing on President's Day Monday. Low pressure approaching from the west or southwest could produce some accumulating snow as it transitions to a stronger costal system, but forecast confidence is low. See more details in today's Snow Lover's Crystal Ball. Confidence: Low

Some sun could return Tuesday with highs in the 30s. Confidence: Medium

By Camden Walker  | February 12, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Melt, freeze, melt... repeat
Next: Snowbound in the suburbs


Where is everybody?

Posted by: Murre | February 12, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I think some folks might have snow and/or blogging fatigue. It's been an exhausting week. I still keep tuning in to CWG, my favorite blog :D

Posted by: krosseel | February 12, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

One blizzard or two?

NWS defines a blizzard as "large amounts of snow OR blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for an extended period of time (at least 3 hours)."

Wednesday's storm seemed to fit the bill. But what about Fri-Sat's snow? Everyone seems to be referring to it as a blizzard, but the wind levels didn't hit the mark.

What do you think?

Posted by: gthuronyi | February 12, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Murre, you asked,
"Where is everybody?"

making up for time spent this past week:

looking out the window,
saying, "omg that's pretty",
(or fretting, depending...)
checking the radar,
hitting F5,
reading comments,
writing comments,
making a drink,
looking out the window,
saying, "omg that's pretty",
(or fretting, depending...)
checking the radar,
hitting F5,
reading comments,
writing comments,
making a drink,
looking out the window...


preparing for more of that this monday...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 12, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm anxiously awaiting the "Meltamorphosis"
to come...maybe I can finally find the fire hydrant they keep telling us to clear.

Posted by: Nomad1 | February 12, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The blizzard conditions in Bethesda were really captured in the first photo in this write up of the last two days:

Posted by: leftmidfield | February 12, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm just fretting over the next one now. Part of me really wants another hit: part of me (well, the majority of me) just wants the kids back in school. Monday is timed for maximum disruption, unfortunately.

It is quite amazing how the comment totals drop off when there isn't a state of emergency! But it just makes sense: I hate the crazy hype from the TV sources.

Posted by: BadMommy1 | February 12, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse


My husband and I are trying to remember all of the storms (since Snowpocalypse in December) that contributed to the current 55.9" DCA record. We can't keep track.

Where can I find a breakdown like this, or can you do it? I remember snow the past two Saturdays, then there was a Wednesday storm in there... help! I also remember a little more snow came in December after the big one.


Posted by: teezee210 | February 12, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

or making some awesome snow sculpture, right? Looking forward to it!

Posted by: ChickenLady | February 12, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

It would be rather humourous if FFX county had to cancel classes on the makeup day formerly known as the Presidents Day holiday. I say that as a parent of 3 who has vacation plans for the new combo Graduation Day/4th of July weekend this summer. The kids really need to be back in school but there is no way a bus could currently make it through my neighborhood. Keep that cloud shield away so the sun can try to do what the county apparently can't - create passable roads.

Posted by: amaranthpa | February 12, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse


Check out the NOAA site:

Select the "Preliminary Monthly Climate Data (CF6)". This gives you data, by day, per month (which you can pick). You can also select from the three airports as well as a few other cities.

Posted by: amaranthpa | February 12, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

teezee210: Go to
and you'll find it all, month by month, going back several years. Good luck.

Don Lipman- Capital Weather Gang

Posted by: Weatherguy | February 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Happy for you guys in the warming department, you seriously need it.

Down here in Mobile we're having "Snopocalypse in Dixie" as the radio station I listen to dubbed it. It's not snowing right now, just rain, but with the way everyone is talking, it sounds like there's a blizzard raging. Everything is closed (except my University, we're open) and the roads are absolutely deserted. It's mildly entertaining. I think everyone back in DC needs to take a page out of the playbook down here -- when there's a threat of snow, stay home and duct tape the windows until July.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA | February 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

indeed.... ;-)

i've got big plans. part one will be ready tonight. pics posted either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 12, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse


There was also a really good graphic on the front page of yesterday's WaPo, showing accumulation for each of the storms during the season. It's near where CWG's Jason was quote -- above the fold :)

Posted by: krosseel | February 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

DFW had a record 12.5" of snow yesterday and has had about 15.5" for the season. Their snowiest season ever (in the 1970s): 17.6" Just about the same amount recorded at DCA in last weekend's storm.

But it's all relative. The 55.9" inches recorded at DCA this winter is less than the average annual snowfall for Beckley, in southern WV (more than 2K ft above sea level). Of course, Beckley doesn't usually get the big hits we've had here.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 12, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, everyone!! Good stuff

Posted by: teezee210 | February 12, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@krosseel, Jason has been living on the front page of The Washington Post this week. ; ))

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 12, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse


Indeed, as it should be! Jason's a great spokesperson for CWG and in my opinion for the meteo community.

Posted by: krosseel | February 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, I made it to work.. at least it's Friday!

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Back to lurking.

Posted by: Groff | February 12, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

nomad1 - I love Meltamorphosis. My roof will love it even more.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | February 12, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Re: Where is everyone? ... If like me, just now getting back home after a futile attempt to get to the office. 20 minutes of moving nowhere with an endless stream of brake lights ahead was enough to turn me right back around.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@weatherdudeVA, it is snowing in Dothan, in SE Alabama and winter storm warnings are up there. I picked cotton nearby there when I was kid. Closest resemblance to snow they usually have in southern Alabama is those cotton bolls.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 12, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

In looking at the data from NOAA, I found the following stat which was really interesting to me. At Reagan, snowfall on the 5th totaled 8.7 inches from 0.61 inches of water. The 6th gave us 9.1 inches of snow from only 0.38 inches of water. That was one heavy snow early on, comparatively.

Posted by: amaranthpa | February 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

CWG, today's forecast has a confidence of Medium meaning "We think we're on the right track, but the forecast details are still taking shape."

What are the details that are still taking shape? Is it the southern storm?

Posted by: amaranthpa | February 12, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

CWG SLCB shows 15% chance of 6+ inches of snow Monday/Monday night.

Does anyone have a snowmobile or a team of huskies w sled available for rent or sale?

Managed to escape the bunker yesterday afternoon thanks to sunshine melting, NO thanks to FFX plows.....where are they?

Did not attempt to go to work today. Roads are still much impaired, as Dan's post above describes. Be careful out there & watch out for folks on foot.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 12, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Repost from Below =)

Jim in NOVA here --

Honest question to CWG. If you were due to fly into IAD Monday night (9pm), returning from a weekend trip, and you needed to be at work on Tuesday - would you can the trip?

Second question - how early would one's trip need to be Monday to get in before the snow?

I realize things are still iffy but I have to make a decision in the next few hours, based on the best information available.

Posted by: jahutch | February 12, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse


Ah, the joys of working from a home office. My commute is about 10 seconds.

Sorry - I just had to point that out. In many ways I do miss the people I used to see everyday going to and from my office - like the parking garage attendant, the coffee shop workers and, if nice weather, the people playing chess in Dupont Circle.

Posted by: djm-01 | February 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@CWG -

Now that things have calmed down on the board a little, I have a question on long-term forecasts.

I realize the pattern remains active and more storms are likely, but at what point do we start having precipitation "type" issues? It is the middle of February now and the sun is rapidly getting higher in the sky after all. I think Bob Ryan said last night that in 4 weeks, the sun will be at 48 degrees at high noon.

What are your thoughts? Thanks for the insight.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 12, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone,

Hope you are continuing to enjoy the snow.

I am sick of baking.

We made brownies, three batches of cookies (differnt kinds), Parker House Rolls, home-made pizzas and regular dinner rolls during the storms.

We made a snow fort but have had trouble making a snow man.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 12, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Good question ... today's confidence should've been medium-high (only real uncertainty is when and how many clouds roll in) whereas tonight's confidence should be medium due to the uncertainty of flurries/light snow. Changes have been made above.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Have to share, especially with the parking meter in the picture...
One of the parking meters outside my building at work is completely plowed out (from the sidewalk), so that people can pay and get their printout tickets from it.
I'm seeing the mounts of snow where cars would ordinarily be parked, and I'm thinking, "Really?"

Posted by: MKoehl | February 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse


January 8: 1.0 at DCA

January 30-31: 6.4 at DCA

February 2-3: 3.3 at DCA

February 5-6: 17.8 at DCA

February 9-10: 10.8 at DCA

There also was 0.2 at DCA in early December, around 5th or 6th, plus 16.4 on 18-19. When I add that all up, I get 55.9. Bingo, it must be right. The total at my house in Glover Park was just over 66 inches, including 45 inches in 12 days, just amazing.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 12, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Ah, celestun, you're one of the ones who cleaned out all the flour and sugar from the grocery store! (kidding)
I made bread once, and otherwise have been doing non-baking cooking - turning bones into stock, neck pumpkin into pumpkin butter, and previously frozen crabapple juice into jelly. Otherwise, my husband and I have been sharing shovel duty each day, on our drive and on the road.
All good things, but I want OUT! My office has been closed since last Friday, and I'm not looking forward to dealing with customers when I return.

Posted by: fsd50 | February 12, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Just for the record, here are the top snow producers from this week's storm. These reports are from cocorahs trained observers in Maryland covering Feb 9-11. In strong wind/snow events, multiple depth readings are taken, with an average depth reported.
27.0" Towson
27.0" South Gate
22.0" Sykesville
21.5" Mount Airy
20.0" Thurmount (with 4' drifts reported)
19.1" Damascus
15.2" Columbia
13.5" Montgomery Village
13.3" North Laurel
13.0" Takoma Park
11.8" Wheaton-Glenmont
11.5" Silver Spring
Other nearby readings were lower, with sleet being a factor. Also, the strong wind hampered snow water equivalent readings, with many of the 4" gauges being over-topped with snow. In fact, the observer in Towson couldn't even get to the gauge as a result of severe drifting!

Posted by: mtpeaks | February 12, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

someone's GOT to turn one of those "mounts of snow where cars would ordinarily be parked" into a car snow sculpture - maybe something easy like a VW beetle! THAT would be funny.....

you said you were having trouble making a snowman. it all depends on the temperature. by 11:00 snow that's in the sun should be "packing snow". soon after that it should all be packing. snow on top in the sun is more "packable" than the snow deeper down.

you mentioned somewhere earlier that you were clearing snow off your roof. be VERY careful with that to make sure you don't damage your shingles.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 12, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Fox news just reported a derailed metro train. No details yet. Anyone else hear about this? Weather related?

Posted by: schrute | February 12, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Train derailed at Farragut.

Posted by: schrute | February 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

fsd50 I want out too.

Thanks for the info. I will probably get the snowman made, but won't manage to damage the shingles.

I was banging at the icicles from an upstairs window. It seemed like I was making progress, however when I looked at the length of the roof from outside I realized it was a lost cause.

I have thought about making ice socks, but will first get advice from my upstate new yorker brother in law before I actually make another futile attempt!

Posted by: celestun100 | February 12, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm back to work, and back to lurking.

And of course, waiting for Walter's snow sculptures.

Posted by: Murre | February 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@celestun100, do you live anywhere near Glover Park. My inner cookie monster is crying out for cookies. Oh, well, I'll head over to Whole Foods and grab one there. BTW, the DC snow removal eqpt is doing serious work in my neighborhood; kinda' fun to watch the snow blowers at work.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 12, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Finally made it out of the house today. Our neighborhood's roads are hard, icy snowpack, but once you're on the main road outside the subdivision, it's clear and dry. There are walls of snow several feet high along the sides of the roads, but our commute this morning was easy. I don't anticipate issues on the way home until we get back to our neighborhood; the ice might be tricky to navigate.

Posted by: jaradel | February 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness, traffic was HORRIBLE going from Germantown to NIH. With all those northern red line stations closed, everyone was driving in. Took over 2 hours. Really miserable.

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

Are all these storms related to the negative oscillation in the Arctic? Does anyone have any idea when that's going to reverse again?

Posted by: Krista_L | February 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring: Speaking for myself, there can be precipitation-type issues at any time of winter. These issues have more to do with storm track and the amount of cold air available to the north and west of a storm center than sun angle. (Sun angle, does have a strong effect on melting snow quicker)

A "wintry mix" can occur just as easily in January as in March if a storm center passes too close to one's location. So, until late March, I wouldn't put too much stock in the time of year for snow potential. Look at overall temperatures, especially aloft, and the prevailing jet stream and associated storm tracks

Don Lipman- Capital Weather Gang

Posted by: Weatherguy | February 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

krosseel - thanks for understanding! :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Krista_L - I just checked the forecasts, and there could be a brief repreive in AO being *less negative* around February 23; however, it doesn't appear to be "reversing" into positive territory any time this month. We'll stay cold overall, it looks like. eesh.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Melt time? I'm tired of shoveling.:)

I've got a second car in a garage, up a hill on a gravel driveway about 150 feet long. I don't need the vehicle, but I'm curious as to just how long I would likely have to wait if I decide to let nature take its course and let melting take care of the situation.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Posted by: calliope2 | February 12, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

While I love the snow, it has kept me from fishing the 301 Bridge. Have only gotten out twice since Jan 22. Hopefully I can start fishing by next Wed., just keep the winds away.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 12, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Since my job has had me working mass amounts of overtime the past couple months, I have dreaded these storms each time they come.Plowing, plowing, plowing, salting,, salting and plowing some more.

Now im all for it! As long as the tax payers keep paying my time and a half and double OT this coming monday holiday, I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Maryland, DC, Virginia and all its counties and municipalities will be bankrupt after all is said and done. And when the feds bail them out, we'll all be paying for it. My bank account is looking pretty though, thanks winter!

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


Your "It's all relative" comment gave me a good chuckle.

When I was in college (in NE Indiana), we had a classmate and resident in the dorm who was from Cameroon, West Africa. The coldest it had EVER been recorded in Cameroon was about 47 degrees. One January, the temps went to, or dipped below, zero, and wind chills stayed below zero, for a week, with lots of gusty winds. When the cold finally broke, it 'warmed' up to the mid-20s, we had a snowfall of about 4-5", the winds became calm, and James wrote home that the weather was 'beautiful!'. His parents wrote back with a "Are you crazy?!?" comment. James' response was "It's all relative."

Posted by: critter69 | February 12, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

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