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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 02/11/2010

PM Update: Melt, freeze, melt... repeat

By Ian Livingston

The dig-out days continue; risk of light snow on Monday

updated at 7 p.m.

* Federal Government: Back to work (2-hour delay, unscheduled leave) *
* Monday snow? | Report snow totals (map) | NWS snow totals *
* Snowiest winter ever | Wind chill factor | 'Best of' storm comments *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

Ahh, the dig out! If you don't mind wind, today was not too bad compared to recently. Plenty of rays from an increasingly high sun have aided the melting process nicely, especially on cleared spots. Highs warmed up a little more than expected, rising to the mid-30s to near 40 most spots. As much as I love snow, days like this have me yearning for the first flowers of spring.

Midday yesterday in Anchorage, Alaska Washington, D.C. Photo by author.

Through tonight: Winds continue to taper overnight though they won't completely disappear. Otherwise it's mostly clear and chilly with plenty of refreeze expected. Lows range from the mid-teens in the cold spots to the low-or-mid 20s downtown.

Tomorrow (Friday): Sun and above-freezing daytime temperatures lead to more melt and further opportunity to dig out. Highs range from the mid-30s to near 40. Clouds may increase late as winds blow around 10 mph during the day. Watch out for slush puddles!

See David Streit's full forecast through the holiday weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What were Snoverkill's final numbers?
As we announced yesterday, this is now the snowiest winter of all-time! The likely final numbers from yesterday's blizzard included 10.8" of snow at National (DCA), 9.3" at Dulles (IAD) and 19.5" at Baltimore-Washington (BWI).

Where do we stand on all-time records?
Washington's new all-time record stands at 55.9" (besting 54.4" from 1898-99) while IAD is now at 72.8" on the year compared to BWI's 79.9".

What about February records?
DCA is 3.3" away from the February (and all-time monthly) record for D.C. set in 1899 of 35.2"; IAD has already eclipsed the 2003 Feb. record by 10.8"; BWI has also eclipsed the 2003 numbers for Feb. by 8.7".

The incredible totals from the Snowmageddon/Snoverkill punch?
DCA, 28.6"; IAD, 41.7"; BWI, 44.3".

By Ian Livingston  | February 11, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wind chill: Its history & effect on people & things
Next: Forecast: Slow melting better than no melting



Posted by: DCcola | February 11, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Greenbelt, MD: Seemed as if we got 6-7 inches here, though it blew around so much it was hard to tell - my (very deep) footprints in the yard from after the weekend storm were completely gone. Anyhow, I was able to clean off the sidewalks and both cars in one outing this time. (It took me three post-Snowmageddon.)

So let's start rooting for another 3-1/2 inches for the month, so we set all the records!

Posted by: kevinwparker | February 11, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The last week or so has been crazy and exciting, but there is something refreshing and relaxing about today's relatively quiet weather and, for a change, a rather routine "PM Update."

Meanwhile, my family and I were finally able to break out of our cabin fever today. We found a way out of the neighborhood and a trip to Chipotle and Giant never felt so good. The only people with worse cabin fever than my 2-year-old son were his mommy and daddy.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Fedcast for tomorrow? Any update on metro status?

Posted by: Axel2 | February 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

we finally had a "plow-like" piece of equipment make it into the neighborhood. We have not seen one since the December storm. I was a 45-foot-long motor grader with the blade mounted under the center point. We watched him get stuck at the top of the cul-de-sac and then take 30 minutes to turn the giant grader around. I'm sure it worked fine on long streets with no dead ends, but the neighbors and I spent 2 hours digging out the mess he made as he turned around.

Posted by: drmammal | February 11, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

We also saw our first piece of plow like equipment today...a front loader! It came and cleared away some of the really big piles around us...we were so happy, we gave the driver some homemade muffins that we had just made! :-)

I'm also interested in the FedCast for tomorrow!

Posted by: bachaney | February 11, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey CWG: It seems to me that the recent pattern started on Sat Jan 30. If that 6.4 inches at DCA is added in, and the 3.3 inch snow of Tues Feb 2, then we've had 38.3 inches at DCA in 12 days, correct? Or in other words, almost 70% of the winters snow in the last 12 days! That has to be it's own mini record of some sort.

Posted by: chrisdc65 | February 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought IAD was at 9.3 - that 2.2 showing from the 9th - was that an oversight, or an adjustment? Seeing 11.5 today at IAD was a surprise for me.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Feds will be working tomorrow

Enough buses/Metro will be working by tomorrow

Feds will get delay time to get in and leave for those that can't make it

But, work will go on

Posted by: Bious | February 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it looks like NWS changed back to 9.3" at IAD with an early afternoon update. I will fix as well.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I figure I've had nearly 40 inches of snow at my place in Glover Park in the past 10 days, 45 inches in the past 12 days. I never experienced this in Boston, where I lived for 10 years, nor have I in any other city I've ever lived in. Those Baltimore and Philly records, by the way, are measured at their far-out airports, which get considerably more snow than their downtowns do. The appropriate analog for DC would be IAD, IMHO.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So anyway, about Monday's storm...some of the models look to me like they are trying to dig that clipper in a bit as it hits the coast, with a negatively tilted axis. Anyone else seeing that too?

Considering how every single storm is overachieving this winter, I would not be so quick to write off Monday's event as "light." I think 3-6 inches is very much on the table, which is a "moderate" event in my book. Once in a while we do get a clipper with some kick, and this one is surely a candidate in this pattern.

Posted by: curtmccormick | February 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

chrisdc65, that's true. Or about 250% the seasonal average over that same period.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Day 5 of the DullesARC-BabyARC Experience...her mommy gets home at 630 after an all week free clinic for the underserved medical needs of SW VA. I cant believe I've been in the house - alone - with the kid since before the Super Bowl kicked off. At least I know her pre-school will be open tomorrow, so an OPM closing wouldnt be so bad.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 11, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Metro reopened Union Station to Silver Spring above ground route...bad sign for feds if you want off on Friday.

Posted by: DaLord | February 11, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the weirdest part about this storm is that for a while there, it didn't look a bit like it was going to dump that much snow. I actually did a 30 hour time lapse video of the storm, and it just sort of flurried for the first 45 seconds of the video (about 4.5 hours) and then WHAM! it just dumps out of the sky. Have a look :)

Posted by: sdawncasey | February 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Dulles reported a 11.5" two-day total if you look at the reports that they post for each day:

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

CWG, I realize the snow season hasn't come to an end, but there's no question this year's totals will impact annual snowfall averages. I believe 30-year averages (and pls correct if I'm wrong) are the basis for calculating average annual snowfalls.

If so, based on what's fallen thus far this season, back-of-the-envelope calculations are annual averages will increase by:

DCA: 1.25"
IAD: 1.75"
BWI: 2.00"

Obviously, if a longer cycle (e.g., 50-yrs) is the basis for annual averages, then the increase will be less. Just not sure about this.


Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay, this is a light enough thread after the last week of ten posts a minute... :)

Newbie Met in training: I'm already getting the AMS book ref'd a few days ago, but is there a good reference on how to actually read the NWS models to understand what you folks are talking about when you say x qpf is coming? (I know what it means, I don't know where you get it from in the model pages from the NWS website. :) )

I saw the reference last week to the 850/6 hr charts, but couldn't see how that shows what's coming for what future period of hours/days.

So, can someone point me to a 'Weather Models for Dummies' sort of thing? (And, um, why isn't this in the CWG FAQ? If it is, I sure missed it! :) ) Thanks much!

Posted by: leesweet | February 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse


Your analogy would be appropreate in most cases (although not near as much as the situation in DC), but in the most recent storm, the total snow at WBAL-TV was 2 inches more than at BWI (21.5 inches at WBAL, 19.5 inches at BWI). WBAL-TV is at 3800 Hooper Avenue (well inside the city limits). Also, the weather station set up at the Maryland Science Center (right on the water's edge at the SW corner of the Inner Harbor) has had snow readings so far this season the same as, or in a very narrow range different than BWI's readings and the readings at WBAL.

In all the other snowstorms this year in Baltimore, the differences in snowfall totals between the city (WBAL AND the MSC) and the airport have been very insignigicant.

Also consider - IAD is almost 20 miles outside the Capital Beltway, and in the middle of no development. BWI is about two miles outside the Baltimore Beltway and in the middle of the greater Baltimore metropolitan area. Also, Philadelphia International Airport is also in the middle of developed communities that are part of the greater Philadelphia metro area, not out in the sticks as is IAD.

Posted by: critter69 | February 11, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It's great Metro's opening above-ground stations, but if people can't get out of their neighborhood, what's the use?

Posted by: ianswank | February 11, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@critter69, when IAD opened, it was out there in the middle of cow pastures and woods in all its lonesome glory. But it's now pretty heavily developed around there now, certainly to the north, east, and south. When I flew into the airport during the late afternoon a couple of years ago, I was astounded at how much development there is.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse


i agree but if all metro is opened above ground tonight i think feds will be working. I'd rather they give everyone the rest of the week plus a long weekend so we can all get our lives back together.

Posted by: DaLord | February 11, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

CWG: Looking long-term, when can we expect to see "normal" temps again? In just 2 weeks, the normal high at DCA will be 50. That sounds like a heatwave right now.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 11, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse


qpf stands for quantitative precipitation forecast. In this source of NCEP model forecasts it's identified as Pcpn. In the "NAM" (a regional forecast model) output is every 6 hours, so that the Pcpn forecast is the total precip forecast over the 6hr period leading up to the verification time. For example, the Pcpn for the 24 hr forecast is the accumulation from 18-24 hours.

The GFS output (global model) is every 12 hours with the Pcpn being the accumulation over the 12 hour period leading up to the verification time.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

@DaLord I suspect if hist Monday were not a federal holiday, there might be a better chance of the feds being out tomorrow. All I know is I made it into work 4 days already this week. While the second storm was not as bad in the valley as it was closer into town, I had to move 26 inches of snow on Sunday so I could be ready to get back to the office Monday.

Posted by: ValleyCaps | February 11, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Re: the Feds opening on Fri, they will, most likely on liberal leave. It would be too politically embarrassing to shut down for an entire week, esp. with the Prez Day holiday coming up. People would start screaming about soft Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

Also, the Senate was back in session today and bus service on major routes in D.C. resumed at 1:00 p.m.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Couple of questions, one slightly pedantic the other kinda gross. What was the liquid total for national in terms of precip. And, anyone suffering from blood boogers? I haven't noticed the humidity, but I get these when I go to dry climes like Las Vegas and El Paso.

Posted by: jojo2008 | February 11, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

the map from Wednesday looks much better today no heavy snow.
Take a look at the link

Posted by: umpandref | February 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@SteveT Thanks for the table link; that helps, but: What I was looking for was more of a "How do you find regional qpf numbers?" That (normal) CONUS chart seems awfully hard to tie down to an actual reading for qpf for, say, NoVa, or a certain area/county/town.

See why I was looking for 'WX Models for Dummies'? :-)

Posted by: leesweet | February 11, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@umpandref So, no snow? No 'heavy' snow? What? :) Sure is different!

Posted by: leesweet | February 11, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Green Line now up and running at full service

Posted by: DaLord | February 11, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse


UFO at about 1:30 ... what is that?

Cool video. Shows just how long it took for snow to stick on pavement. I can hardly believe it, but I remember being worried we wouldn't get enough snow!

Posted by: AlexBike | February 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

From a just-posted NY Times article:

"Mr. Berry decided Thursday evening to keep the government shut for a fifth consecutive day, meaning that offices will not reopen until Tuesday, because Monday is Washington’s Birthday, a federal holiday."

WTOP working to confirm.

Posted by: map408 | February 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse


It's a bit too much to answer you in this framework - i.e, via comments

I'd be glad to discuss further - send me an email ( and I'll back to you

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Map408! If that's true about fed being closed tomorrow that's pretty sweet.

Posted by: watchingweather | February 11, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Eh, let's not jump the gun. NYT may be wrong. Wait for the locals to confirm.

Posted by: DrewinAlexandria | February 11, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll join with the others thanking CWG for their good storm coverage... thanks and keep up the good work!

If interested, I wrote an article today on human vs computer generated forecasts.

Current temp=25.2F

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

@AlexBike "UFO at about 1:30 ... what is that?"

At first glance It looked like a full moon & stars...but closer inspection looks like a single headlight and flakes of snow...was someone riding a bike, or was that a car with veering of the road.

Posted by: crazer | February 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Delay and unscheduled leave.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Federal Government Operating Status in the Washington, DC, Area

the following message applies only to Friday, February 12, 2010

Status - Delayed Arrival
Status - Unscheduled Leave Federal

Agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under a DELAYED ARRIVAL/UNSCHEDULED LEAVE policy. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would normally arrive, and employees who cannot report for work may take unscheduled leave.

Posted by: map408 | February 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

fed - 2 hour late arrival / unscheduled leave

Posted by: natsfan76 | February 11, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse


Its not like NYT is citing a shady source or anything... the reporter was in his office, apparently, when he made the call. Why would they risk their job on an inconsequential profile that will, likely, hardly be read?

Posted by: me_ahogo | February 11, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

OPM website says Delayed arrival, and Liberal Leave...

Posted by: DaveB2 | February 11, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

OPM website says Delayed Arrival and Liberal Leave....

Posted by: DaveB2 | February 11, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Fed: open under delayed arrival/unscheduled leave

Posted by: motherrunner | February 11, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Obviously Sewell Chan (the NY Times reporter who wrote the government would be closed 2/12) now looks like an idiot. Perhaps he won't have to go to work Friday?

Posted by: prokaryote | February 11, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice job, NY TImes

Posted by: owensm | February 11, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how long it will take them to take the article down?

Posted by: mcleve | February 11, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: me_ahogo | February 11, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

As noted earlier, it would have been politically too embarrassing not to have open the Federal Govt on Friday. I suspect a lot of pressure was applied to Metro, etc. to make sure that there was enough service to go through the motions. A

s to how many people actually show up for work? Enough people have cabin fever that they may get decent workplace attendance.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Well that doesn't make any sense. Poor Times reporter. Or else they'll just take it down and only a few CWG blog readers will have noticed, in which case no harm no foul.

Posted by: watchingweather | February 11, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

@SteveT Will do, and thank you much!

Posted by: leesweet | February 11, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

They corrected the article

Posted by: mcleve | February 11, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1, agree.. I think this week probably helps bring down a local politician or two. In my eyes the response given what happened was moderately decent, but I doubt most people realize just how big what happened here was. In retrospect, the first storm was very well forecast across the board so maybe we should have tried to bring in the assistance prior.. but who knew we'd get back to back storms like that at the time.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow amazing. Not the winter to miss i had a feeling it would be bad i remember i was telling everyone to be ready for a big storm we were overdue but who would have thought to this extent.Couldnt comment during the past week too upset i missed everything.Awsome to watch though.Great job as always CAPWGang..... Today on still 33% average has yet to fall.Its not over yet. One more big one? why not lets see if it happens.

Posted by: jmc732msstate | February 11, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

DCA seems to be a consistent underachiever in snow storms. Less than IAD or BWI or most places in the District, which have had a lot more in all three big storms this year. Is it possible that the measuring location, next to the Potomac, is distorting the outcome? (It seems this happens with temperature in the summer, where the DCA high on record or near-record days is lower than that in the city or at the other official measuring points). Should the measuring point be moved?

Posted by: erickoe | February 11, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

@Ian, shades of the snow storms that paralyzed D.C. in the week following the 1987 Super Bowl. However, at least none of our local politicans said, "God will take care of it."

I'm hoping mail service resumes in my neighborhood soon. No mail since last Friday. The Washington Post has been delivered, but not the U.S. Mail.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The thing that really aggrieves me is lack of sidewalk shoveling. I understand streets need to be cleared for emergency personnel. The thing is, as soon as they are people start driving on them at normal speeds like it's business as usual, but there are no sidewalks. So pedestrians, who are actually the sensible ones given the still somewhat treacherous driving conditions, are really at risk for being hit since they have no choice but to walk with on the streets with fast moving vehicles. It really irritates me.

Posted by: watchingweather | February 11, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I've seen the postal truck both Tuesday and today (Springfield), and without watching all the time, I don't know if they've come other times. However, today I got very little mail, just a catalog. I wonder if the mail coming from the outside is also delayed, like the shipments of milk and produce...

Posted by: DrMeglet | February 11, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

We did get mail today too, but it was unusually light as well, given we have not gotten mail since Friday. Also the FedEx truck was out and about. The Sunday WaPo finally showed up :)))))

Posted by: drmammal | February 11, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

@me_ahogo You were saying?

The NYT has gone downhill in a huge way since Keller took it over. He's running the paper into the ground.

Posted by: DrewinAlexandria | February 11, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@WatchingWeather, there is nowhere to put the snow for sidewalk shoveling in my neighborhood, not to mention the fact that it's simply not worth the effort. I decided this time around to simply break trails along the sidewalk in front of my house with my snowshoes (It's the first major snow we've had since I got them for Christmas). It's actually a great trail, if I may say :-) The snow is all packed down and completely passable.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 11, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why anyone would say IAD is in the sticks. Just get on the toll road one day during rush hour to see how many people live out here in Reston, Herndon, Chantily, Ashburn, Leesburg and all the way out to South Riding, Aldie, Purcelleville.

Posted by: RoseVA | February 11, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

RoseVA, IAD isn't really an urban area OR a rural area. It is cooler than downtown DC. It has less development per square mile around it, overall. I wouldn't say it is in the sticks. But definitely has some suburban sprawl. Yet not enough to prevent heavy ex-urban snow accumulation!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

@Ian and @Jerry, I remember as well back in 1993/1996, and how our streets remained buried and unplowed for weeks on end then. We trudged to the local Giant with sleds for the groceries, trekking in thigh to chest deep snow, and people were dragging grocery sleds whilst cross-country skiing down the middle of Reston Parkway no less! This time around, Reston Parkway was completely cleared within 24-48 Hours, and my side-street was being inundated with contractor plows. We didn't use to have contractors until the past decade or so, and it has made a huge difference (In major storms prior to 2003, they used to have to bring in front-end loaders to clear my streets, because the plows couldn't make it down here).

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 11, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Goes to show you that you can't believe anything that the NY Times writes!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 11, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I think those of you who criticize DC's and the suburbs' response to this snow are forgetting something, and that is thatthis recent even is extremely rare, if not unprecedented. DCA got more snow in these two events than fell in the Knickerbocker storm. To manage so much snow, you'd need to invest in capital equipment that wouldn't be needed more often than once every 20 years, to be generous. That's just a bad investment strategy. A typical big snowstorm in DC is 10-14 inches, and I think that's what the city and suburbs should be prepared for. Even that happens only every few years. And then when you get a February 1979, or January 1996, or February 2003--all of which were less challenging than this past week's dumpings--you struggle through as best you can. And let me tell you, having lived through all those, and the infamous "Double Whammy" of January 1987, the city has done way better with December 19's storm and the two recent ones than it did in 1987, or in 1996, when I didn't see a plow for more than a week. In fact, the plow showed up the day before we got about 2-3 inches of rain.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | February 11, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

On an earlier thread talking about ice dams, someone was saying they couldn't find a roof rake. I was just thinking that a swimming pool supply store probably would have a long extension pole with a brush head that might do the trick... this is an untested theory; be careful! No leaks yet at my house so I'm just planning to ride this out.

Our mail came today and I felt bad that he had to get out of his SUV since I hadn't reshoveled around the mailbox yet. Our road was pretty iffy before Christmas due to the 12/19 snow and my package status was delayed. I called the local UPS office and they agreed to meet me at the main road for the delivery. I met the guy, picked up my package, and delivered a neighbor's package on my way home.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Work and daycare are both open tomorrow. Never thought I'd be so happy about that!

@RoseVA - South Riding didn't exist before 1995, and Ashburn was a rural bedroom community in the not too distant past. Someone who hasn't been back here in a while may be unaware of just how much the area immediately surrounding the airport has grown. I'm not that old, and I remember when driving out to Dulles really did feel like leaving civilisation behind.

Posted by: jaradel | February 11, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm glad that the Feds are open tomorrow, but with Penn line being the only MARC entering the city, very few metro buses running in MD and VA, many local bus services not running (Howard Transit and Connect-a-Ride for me), and the metro not operating out of Rockville, its going to be tough for a lot of people to get to work. I guess that's what liberal leave is for.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 11, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, looks like we can all storm passes to our south, then a small clipper aoa Presidents' why is Eastern Weatherboard still blocking guest access???

They did NOT do this for the big thundersnow last week!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 11, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the local response to this storm was decent enough; definitely better than in 1996 when Mass Ave. in Bethesda didn't see a snow plow for almost a week. But there were definitely some self-inflicted problems. On my street, a snow plow got stuck going uphill. So instead of doing the obvious, which would be going through a nearby parking lot and coming down the hill, the plow just reversed and we didn't see another one for over 24 hours. And since the plow quit halfway, there was a three feet mound of snow blocking traffic that a bunch of us ended up having to clear. Overall, though, I think Montgomery County did an okay (not great) job. On the other hand, the state has done an awful job. River Road is a complete mess.

There also needs to be a lot more info put out there that if you have a sidewalk in front of your home or business, then you must clear it. Not enough people are doing this, which creates dangerous hazards for pedestrians.

In any case, I greatly enjoyed the storms. Got to know some of the neighbors better, and it's always great to be around when a 111 year old record is broken! Still, quite glad things are starting to get back to normal. Only wish we see grass again before March.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 11, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@nlcaldwell, what part of River Road is a mess? Inside the Beltway?

Posted by: Murre | February 11, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I am going to give VDOT props! They have really done an excellent jobs on the roads.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 11, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

At least we were kind of prepared for what we just got and forewarned by CWG. My cousins in TX (Ft. Worth) have 10 inches of snow in the front yard and it is still coming. I have seen some snow and plenty of ice there but never 10 inches. Makes what is surrounding my house and between me and my office seem easier to wrap my head around. Also makes me thankful for WTOP and CWG.

Posted by: johnslau | February 11, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I commuted to work today from Alexandria to Rockville, even though my office was officially "closed" (private sector, not federal government). It was a great cure for cabin fever, but after all, it was still work. Then again, in this economy, I guess I should just be happy to have gainful employment... I'm so conflicted!

Posted by: snowpro | February 11, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Camden, agree with you. Just taken an exception to the statement that "IAD is in the sticks"

The first time I came to some restaurant in Herndon was in 1996 and it felt like I was in some village. I lived in Ashburn for a while after that was way out there. Ashburn and further west have grown exponentially. In the last 15 years these areas all grew leaps and bounds. All these places get much more snow than DC, Arlington, McLean. Amazing how much difference just a few miles make. Sometimes I get few inches less than Ashburn which is only 12 miles or so away. It's all about those yellow bands on the radar I guess.

They did a pretty good job of shovelling and plowing in Herndon and Reston this year. Ashburn too, in some sections.

Posted by: RoseVA | February 11, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Guys, few questions:

What is the best way to get the ice out of the gutter pipes. I cleaned the snow around it and tried to break the ice and it didn't quite work.

Should we do a neighborhood even to clean our heatpumps or let them be? I don't think I even know where the heat pump for our building is.

I have to say thank you to the trash pickup company, mailman and paper guy who delivered in spite of the lousy weather, bad roads and huge piles of snow everywhere.

Last not but not the least, thanks CWG. Can't wait to go back to work and be in the office for real. I am sick of invading the pantry.

Posted by: RoseVA | February 11, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Glad you guys in northern Virginia are in decent shape. Wish I could say the same for the snow-bound nabe I live in.

This afternoon while crossing Tunlaw Road N.W. at Calvert St., I heard two ladies yelling to each other about Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon. The word is out!

Then I joined dozens of others trudging up Tunlaw, in the street, because Harry/Harriet Homeowner hadn't shovelled his/her sidewalk. Cash-starved D.C. issue citations to the non-shovellers? Never happens, esp. in an election year!

Earlier today, I watched a dog who had gotten loose inside Whole Foods bolt outside the door, and run into the middle of Wisconsin Ave., bringing traffic to a halt.

So much thoughtless stuff happening. Fortunately, the majority of people are considerate and caring but the bozos can really make things difficult.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 11, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Re: gutter pipes

I guess that's one disadvantage of white/cream colored pipes as they don't heat up as much in the sun as brown ones.... the thought crossed my mind of trying to place a mirror to deflect sun towards a shady drainpipe today...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

0z GFS shows whole region in .25-.5 qpf Monday night. With moderate ratios that could easily be 4-8".

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 11, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

CWG - It appears that the precipitation shield for the weekend storm, the one that is suppose to stay well south of the area, is kind of creeping northward. Not saying that it's going to reach this area, but given the models' tendencies for a last minute northward trend . . . .

Posted by: johnnierat | February 11, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Since I am the person who stated that IAD is 'in the sticks', I should slightly clarify that remark.

IAD (the terminal and ALL runways) is situated near the middle of 12,000 acres of land, with surburban (at best) development on three sides for a couple of miles (especially to the North). Relatively no development to the west, espcially in comparison to the miles and miles of development that surrounds DCA on all sides. BTW - that 12,000 acres is 18.75 square miles of basically open space.

BWI (the terminal only) is situated on about 3,200 acres of land (and not near the center of that land, either), with surburban AND urban development for several miles in ALL directions. BTW - that 3,200 acres is 5 square miles of basically open space.

DCA (total airport) is situated on 860 acres, of which 733 acres are on land and 127 acres are underwater. BTW - that 860 acres is less than 1.35 miles of basically open space, with almost 1/20th of a square mile actually underwater, and just over 1.14 square miles on land.

Stating that IAD was 'in the sticks' may have been a little over the top in terms of hyperbole, but realtive to the other two airports in the area, not that much, in my opinion, especially when you consider the square miles of open space surrounding the terminal at IAD in comparison to DCA and BWI.

As to the traffic on the Dulles Toll Road? Please don't tell me that the amount of traffic on the Dulles Toll Road is greater than the 24-hour per day, four lanes in each direction, traffic that passes within 8 miles of BWI in I-95. Add in the 24-hour per day, two and three lanes in each direction, traffic that passes within 3 miles of BWI on Maryland 295 (the northern end of the B-W Parkway); and the 24-hour per day, three or four lanes in each direction, traffic that passes within 3 miles of BWI on I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway); and I'm sure you'll still state that the Dulles Toll Road has more traffic, won't you?

So, relatively speaking, and in my opinion, IAD is 'in the sticks' in comparison to where BWI and DCA are situated. And also in comparison with Philadelphia International Airport.

Posted by: critter69 | February 11, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@dylan and @johnnyrat

The latest GFS model trends are duly noted, and will be reflected in forecasts posted tomorrow morning...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Bye, Guys. It really is time to get back to work and stop sitting here reading all of these WX threads. I won't be back until the next anticipated storm forecasts. Oh, wait...

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 11, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed that the general rule involving storms approaching this region from the west [mild air & rain rather than frozen precipitation] doesn't always apply with 2 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures below 40.

Saturday's storm could trend northward, but still pass to our south, while Monday's storm likely will affect us. Warm air advection begins to assert itself as meteorological winter nears its end. This year the beginning of the WAA rush has resulted in our two big's actually a bit early, since it normally happens AOA Presidents' Day weekend.

This year's abundance of cold air aloft could enhance the upcoming severe weather/tornado season...normally in an El Nino year there are fewer tornadoes in the classic Great Plains Tornado Alley, but more tornadoes in the Southeast and East. This bears watching, as more tornadoes in North Carolina and adjacent areas tend to be nocturnal.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 11, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

WaterfrontProperty: I've been wasting/enjoying way too much time here lately myself... This week has been so crazy, I actually got confused for a minute today about what day it was...

Just checked Vancouver weather... looks like 50 degree days to start the Winter Olympics...

I also saw that GFS 36hr view showing light precip approaching the DC metro area... will be interesting...

Current conditions... 22.6F with significant winds... SPG

Posted by: spgass1 | February 11, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Does the USPS, along with it's privatized buddies FedEx and UPS, plan on ever going back to work? Or do I have to go pick up my packages and mail myself? I've been working through both storms. If I can make it from Rockville to Dulles and back daily, then they can drop some letters in my mailbox and some packages on my porch.

Posted by: Havoc737 | February 12, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I have also noticed that the southern storm seems to be tracking a little more to the north. Although all of the forecasters feel confidence that this system will remain to the south I am becoming less so. No a forcast, just an observation.

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

So once again, the 10% chance of 8"+ is becoming an actual possibility? Makes sense. This is the winter of 10% after all...

@Murre, I didn't get a chance to check out River Road today so it might be better (was referring to inside the beltway in Maryland). But it was previously plowed with only one narrow lane on each side and huge mounds of snow. Add in the Whole Foods and McDonalds traffic, and the road was a mess.

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

Ooh...have to agree about the 96hr GFS. I was thumping on this 24 hours ago. Given the THX and the upper temps, this system is going to generate very fluffy snow with a very high snow/water ratio. GFS is around .4 depending upon location. This could be a bit more than modest.

The jet/midflow does have memory. It can be forced by things that we don't know, but still maintain configuration. That sure appears to be the case here. Remarkable.

BTW I am thinking the not too poor amongst us (including myself) should contribute to one great end-of-season party for the cwg community. Any ideas on venue? This has been such a once-in-lifetime season (me having used most of mine!) that I would think it would make for a great get-together. None of us--even you young-uns--may ever see this again here.

If the cwg community thinks this is worth my pursuing, email me I am willing to put some funds into this, and we will see who else is. It's just gotta happen.

Posted by: pmichaels1 | February 12, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Havoc737 wrote, "If I can make it from Rockville to Dulles and back daily, then they can drop some letters in my mailbox and some packages on my porch."

Most people can't appreciate how many things have to go right for a package to show up on your doorstep or in your mailbox. It truly is amazing once you get to know the system.

For starters, you would not believe how much mail is transported via aircraft. Even USPS mail. Did you know that the USPS has a standing contract with FedEx? Needless to say, the mail that is delivered via air freight isn't going to arrive when the airport is closed or weather conditions don't permit landing. And when an airport is closed for a period of time, and then reopens, take a wild guess which aircraft get priority to land? Packages do very little complaining and the squeaky wheel truly does get the grease.

Once the package arrives at the airport, it has to make it to the distribution center. Just because your road(s) from Rockville to Dulles are passable, doesn't mean the road to the distribution center is passable. :(

Once the package arrives at the distribution center, it needs to be processed. And that requires people. And that means the people that do the processing and delivery need to have passable roads. If they can't get to the distribution center, you are out of luck. Your package will languish on a dock awaiting processing. If half of the processing personnel can make it to the DC, distribution center, then it will run at half speed.

-- to be continued --

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 12, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

-- continued from previous comment --

Once your package is processed, it needs to be delivered. And that too, requires personnel. And just because you can make it to work, that doesn't mean that they can make it to work.

Once they make it to work, they still have to make it to your house. And their is no guarantee that the route from the distribution center to your house is passable.

And none of this takes into consideration priority. Now factor into the equation express mail and priority mail.

The plane that carries your packages is low priority to land at the airport. Packages don't stand in line at the ticket counter screaming at the top of their lungs demanding to know what you are going to do to compensate them for Mother Nature. The street to the distribution center is probably low priority on the city's snow plow list. The distribution center isn't likely to call and complain that they can't make it to the grocery store or that the mother-to-be's water just broke and they need an ambulance but the ambulance can't make it to the house.

There are so many little things that have to happen for that package to make it to your doorstep. And almost all of them are low priority in a storm.

Patience is a virtue. So chill out, enjoy a cold one, and be thankful that even though your package is delayed, you aren't blocked in. And think about it; which would you prefer? Would you prefer that your package was given top priority in those conditions - or the little old lady down the street?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 12, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

pmichaels1 - Hi Pat - I am sure Jason is in touch with you more; but your idea sounds grand. What a season! Would be great to get together and make a toast to history we're living!

Mr_Q - wow I had no idea USPS has a standing contract with FedEx!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 12, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

If I had some cold ones to have, maybe I could chill out. Until then I'm mad as hell, and I want my mail and/or fedex/ups packages!

Posted by: Havoc737 | February 12, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


You would not believe how much mail travels as air freight.

I feel for you. :(
Depending upon where your packages are, you might be able to drive to the distribution center and pick them up. I've driven to our UPS distribution center and picked up a package before. Give them a call. The worst they can do is say no. Good luck.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 12, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Just have to add some MAJOR KUDOS to the crews here in Takoma Park, MD. Our streets are plowed to the blacktop, they worked tirelessly through the night(s) and smiled and waved. The streets are passable, and they've been coming back through to start moving the mountains of snow out of the intersections. WAY TO GO TAKOMA PARK PUBLIC WORKS!!!!!

Posted by: MayesGleason | February 12, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse


Have you had any help with your anger-control problems? If not, plenty of help is available - just ask for a referral from your doctor.

If you don't get those anger-control problems under control, you might find that your employer-provided health insurance is no longer available, as you will have been fired.

Posted by: critter69 | February 12, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

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