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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 02/28/2010

March threatens to begin like a lion

By Brian Jackson

More likely to start like a temperamental lamb...

* A couple calm days before next storm chance: Full Forecast *

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Late Tuesday evening/Wednesday
Probability of Accumulating Snow (1" or more): 45%

Here we go again! This winter will not go quietly into March and leave well enough alone. Another coastal storm is threatening to add to our already record-setting snow totals late on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Right now, this trouble-maker is over the desert southwest creating rain and snow showers over Arizona and New Mexico. Working its way through the south, it will emerge into the Gulf of Mexico and begin to deepen late on Monday. Continuing to strengthen, it will begin to move north-northeast, taking a position off the Carolina coast by Tuesday night.

If accumulating snow is to happen, we should see precipitation begin to fall late Tuesday evening. Temperatures appear cold enough for the precipitation to be mostly of the frozen variety, though some rain may mix in, especially if the precipitation is light (preventing colder air from mixing down). After depicting this system hugging the coast and bringing significant snowfall to our area earlier in the week, computer guidance had trended towards a more progressive system moving out to sea. Some recent runs have attempted to move the storm closer to the coast, but neither consistently nor close enough for significant accumulations.

Accumulations: Currently my call is a good chance for some snow (possibly mixing with rain, especially east if I-95), but accumulations will likely be sparse. We're still on the fringe of this storm, though the this situation may still change as we're still several days from the onset. Regardless, though a significant amount of snow seems unlikely (at the moment), we may have to use the snow brushes one more time. Here's my assessment of current accumulation potential:

Less than 1": 55%
1-2": 20%
2-5": 15%
5"+: 10%

The Snow Lover's Crystal Ball appears when the potential exists for accumulating snow beyond 24 to 36 hours.

By Brian Jackson  | February 28, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Snow Lover's Crystal Ball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Winds relax for the weekend
Next: Forecast: Calm days before next storm chance


Does this look like a more "coastal" event? Basically, we're safe out in western Loudoun?

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | February 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I like that 10%.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 28, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's what Joe Bastardi is saying in his blog about the Tuesday night/Wednesday storm for the midatlantic "BE CONCERNED, BE VERY CONCERNED (that the next storm is coming further north)".

Posted by: DLO1975 | February 28, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Just looked at the weather channel's forecast and they have taken all the precip out of the Tuesday and Wednesday forecast.

Posted by: dcawx | February 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Isn't whether or not we see measurable snow really dependent on whether or not the huge low pressure sitting off the coast of New England moves out? Low pressure moves = new storm comes up the coast; low pressure sits and spins = new storm snows on the fish.

Posted by: worldtraveler | February 28, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

No phasing of the northern and southern jets certainly doesn't seem to bode well for us snow lovers. NWS seems to think there may not be much precip and then there's the issue of whether or not enough cold air will be in place. I wouldn't be surprised if the SLCB snow odds decrease in the days ahead, but would be very happy if the opposite occurs!!

Posted by: BH99 | February 28, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Based on comments from yesterday from CWG, it seems the current forecast for the storm to move out to sea (rather than up the coast) is due to the storm that is still to the north (I'm pretty sure today's clouds and flurries are still from the remnants of that storm).

Posted by: BH99 | February 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

CWG: What are you thinking for Richmond?

Posted by: richmondreader | February 28, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

DLO1975, it does look to come north, but unfortunately for snow lovers it comes north to our east. The northern stream wave is meager compared to past big phasers this year and it just does not want to line up right for us it seems. There's still some chance but we're running out of time consider models have been pretty consistent in missing us (except some lighter stuff if that).

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I totally diagree with FridayKnight. Acting like you can tell what will actually happen (e.g., it will snow 1-2 inches) is ridiculous. Maybe someday we'll really be able to tell, but certainly for now, probabilities are the best way to express the forecast. It's what I love about CWG as against all these other weather sites.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

FridayKnight's attacks are unwarranted. Can s/he be blocked? Or at least deleted? His/her tone is better suited for the health care debate.

Apparently s/he doesn't understand the purpose of the CWG blog and comments.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 28, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


You all have a better chance of getting some moderate snow, but even you all could get fringed. Also, being further south and east, you're more likely to have rain mixing issues, although if the precip gets heavy enough, you'd probably go over to snow. Right now, I'd bet against a major snow event.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, That sounds very disappointing, Ian.

Re: FridayKnight - he is just making inflammatory comments as a pathetic bid for attention. For whatever reason, he is desperate for people to respond to him. Best to just ignore him and he'll go away when he doesn't get his desired responses.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse


We're removing FridayKnight's comments.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the quick response. I hope it is mostly rain this time.

We really appreciate all that you do. Having grown up in Howard County, Maryland, we've been watching closely all winter long.

Posted by: richmondreader | February 28, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Did not see FridayKnight's comments..hope he wasn't dissing us liberals...I'm still a bit upset over sheepherder's "spay/neuter" remark!

I can remember coming close to such a situation with my comments about coverage of the police station standoff in Fairfax County some years back...what made me mad in that situation was that the newscasters on all channels kept repeating the same thing live on air OVER AND OVER AGAIN while not giving us a current local weather forecast at the usual time, [and at a time it was obvious that the situation at Sully Station had likely been resolved]. IMO it was somewhat disrespectful to the familes of the deceased officers that we kept getting their biographical and family information continuously for over a half hour or more. They could have at least taken a three-minute break for local weather & sports and should have paid more respect to the officers' families who were in a mighty tough situation.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Another miss if fine with me...there is still a lot of snow on the ground...went running in Sligo Creek Park yesterday and ended up on the road because the trails are still covered with snow...running on the road is not all that safe with cars whizzing by...

BTW, does anyone know when the optimal time is around here for putting up bird houses?

Posted by: steske | February 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Put up your bird houses now, house finchs, bluebirds, wrens, & other song birds will start nesting by early April. If your putting up bluebird boxes, rub some soap inside the top of the box 2 keep wasps from nesting. Also clean out the old nest after the young fledge, this will prevent mites from getting in the old nesting.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 28, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Now for my February evaluation and for Meteorological Winter 2009/2010.

I will grade February, 2010 at A-minus, taking off a point or so because we probably got TOO MUCH snow. It's so bad that we're getting feedback from the pro-spring people who don't like it--thus the A-minus. One reason I've been pro-snow has to do with that string of boring snowless winters we've had to ENDURE since 2002/2003. To be frank, I can get seasonal affective disorder from boring-forties and boring-fifties weather interspersed with all that raw, cold rain we normally see in a D.C winter.

As for Meteorolgical Winter 2009/2010, I'll give this winter an A. The only bad spot was a snowless January, with a couple of rainy weekends. We broke all-time snowfall records and had big storms in December and again in February, including the full-scale Snoverkill blizzard on the 10th. When I heard this was an El Nino winter I was more concerned about a repeat of the 1997/98 rain disaster rather than this year's record snows. The difference??? Quite probably there was no Greenland block in 1997/98.

What's ahead for March? Probably a below-normal beginning with warmer weather ahead later in the month as we "spring ahead" with DST. The lamb/lion analogy refers to the fact that March can alternate between near-winter and near-summer with strong winds possible as the weather changes sharply. We may even get a "bonus snow" or two outside of meteorological winter next month.

Anyway, I'd like to see a few "normal" winters in the next few years with our expected fiteen inches or so of seasonal snow rather than this "feast or [more often!] famine" cycle we've been having. I bet next winter won't have quite so much snow as this year, but would like to see a few more flurries or sharp but brief snow squalls.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 28, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Glad whenever overt political comments are deleted from the CWG space.

Re: March coming in like a lamb, etc. according to USA (and other research I've done in the past) "the phrase apparently has its origins with the constellations Leo, the Lion, and Aries, the ram or lamb. It has to do with the relative positions of these constellations in the sky at the beginning and end of the month," etc.

I line up the lions re: March snows, but it looks baa-d for the 2010 March lions.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 28, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@VaTechBob -

Thanks for the tip on soap and wasps' nests. The sustained winds several days ago tore our bluebird house off of the tree. We need to put it back up ASAP, but SOMEBODY forgot to recharge the screw gun. I told spouse ten minutes ago that it needs to go back up right away, but spouse didn't believe me. I read your post aloud. End of discussion. ;)

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 28, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I always thought the 'lion" referred to March being cold and windy at the beginning of the month and "almost spring-like" at the end of the month.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 28, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@celestun100, the March lion/lamb saying might be an instance of astronomy being coopted by meteorology. ; ))

Another would be "the dog days of summer", which has its origins in the position of the dog star during the summer months in the northern and southern hemispheres.


Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 28, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

There's snow flurries out there this afternoon. Quite a nice little shower out by the Fair Lakes area in Fairfax county earlier.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I like that 55%.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse


Interesting- funny how things get mixed up like that but make sense both ways and so continue in a new way. Reminds me of the Romans renaming the Greek gods and that kind of thing.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 28, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

More evidence that snowstorms are good for us.

According to accuweather, crime was way down after/during the blizzards in Baltimore and DC.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 28, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

What difference does it make if it is a lion or a lamb? Bunch of BS crap. Stupid groundhog couldn't even see its shadow, so what the hell does anyone care about a lion or a lamb? Sheesh!

Posted by: FridayKnight | February 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm flying into Charlotte, NC, early Tuesday morning and then flying out late in the morning to St. Thomas. Any thoughts on how this storm may affect Charlotte early Tuesday?

Posted by: cabster | February 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@DLO1975, Joe B. has correctly predicted 28 of our last 3 major snow storms

around this time of year, he gets really good at "winter is not over yet" statements, and telling people to "watch out" for every little clipper than might leave a dusting

appreciate CWG not hyping the weather like accuweather just to get people to keep paying attention

Posted by: TGT11 | February 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, it's a full moon tonight.

Maybe I'll go try to witch up another foot or so. I'd be happy if we get another 3 inches, though, which is about what it feels like is coming.

Posted by: thardman | February 28, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

We have to go to Baltimore on Wednesday. Do you think the storm is going to cause any problems? I was planning to drive, but might end up taking MARC.

Posted by: dhlunar | February 28, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse


At this point, the storm doesn't seem like it will cause significant travel problems from DC to Baltimore Wednesday... but please check back tomorrow and Tuesday.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

time for early spring planting and ordering of seeds. No more big storms, I think that last one was it for us. The winter has been amazing and thanks to CWG for all the hard work. The sun angle gets better every day and the ladies will have their sundresses out soon.

Posted by: drc231 | February 28, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: gitkonlyyou | February 28, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Uh... are there any grounds to delete gitkonlyyou's comments?
Or rather... blatant, tacky advertisement that I have no idea what they're selling except it's got something to do with clothes?
(gets down off of soapbox)

Posted by: MKoehl | February 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it is the full moon, but where are these "odd" folks coming from? (Friday and gitk).

Can they go back where they came from?

Stop spamming our weather thread!!! (Only the regulars can spam...and then only about the weather messing up their dance schedule or the ineptitude of local jurisdictions when it comes to removing snow and fixing potholes! :-) )

Kim in Manassas

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 28, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

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