Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 02/ 3/2010

Models stay consistent with major snow potential

By Dan Stillman

Afternoon update: Winter Storm Watch issued

* Winter Storm Watch Friday morning through Saturday evening *
* Weather takes a brief breather: Full Forecast | Weather Checker *
* Photos: One cold and snowy day on the National Mall *

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Friday-Saturday
Probability of Accumulating Snow (1" or more): 80%

3:00 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire metro region Friday morning through Saturday evening. They are highlighting the *potential* for more than 12" of snow, with localized amounts exceeding 20". Keep checking the CWG blog for updates including revisions to our own accumulation assessment...

Posted this morning: Welcome to an alternate universe where almost every storm this season, including yet another last night, seems to work out quite well for snow lovers. All this is in sharp contrast to years past that have featured storms that fizzle out or miss the D.C. area altogether. The question now: Will the storm that threatens for Friday and Saturday keep the snowy streak going?


Global Forecast System model predicts 1.5" to 1.75" of precipitation (light purple shade) for the D.C. area Friday through Saturday. That would likely be upward of 15 inches of snow, if it were to fall as all snow. Courtesy NCEP.

At the moment, everything remains on track for a major winter storm beginning during the day Friday and continuing into Saturday. A substantial accumulation of snow is becoming increasingly likely. It's not a sure bet, however, because: 1) Today's Wednesday and we're talking about Friday and Saturday. Things can change with track and storm intensity in that time, though the models have been fairly consistent on both; and 2) If the storm tracks a little bit further inland or north than the models are currently depicting, which is possible, then sleet and/or rain could mix in and cut down on accumulations.

All that said, unless/until a critical mass of model guidance trends in a different direction, there's no reason to believe that a major snowfall isn't a real possibility. Could it be as big as the 16-24" storm in December? Not out of the question. In fact, I think there's a good chance someone in the mid-Atlantic sees totals into or nearing that range. For it to be the D.C. metro area, however, it would likely require a "perfect" track -- one in which we stay in the sweet spot of precipitation, but also see little to nothing in the way of sleet and/or rain mixing in. With still 48-plus hours to go, there are still a range of possibilities:

20% chance: Less than 2"
25% chance: 2-6"
30% chance: 6-12"
25% chance: 12"+

Oh, and by the way, there's the potential for yet another storm during the early to middle part of next week. Too early to get into any details on that one.

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

By Dan Stillman  | February 3, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Snow Lover's Crystal Ball, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: This past Saturday's snow forecast: Subpar
Next: One cold and snowy day on the National Mall

Comments

I'm REALLY hoping for a two footer at least, but if the majority of the precip. accumulation we have now stays around until then, I'll settle for a 12"+ snowstorm anyday of the week.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 3, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Looking forward to whatever Mother Nature brings - but REALLY HOPING it's a lot of snow. It will be hot, muggy and unberable soon enough so let's enjoy the snow while it's here.

Posted by: DrLRonHoover | February 3, 2010 6:02 AM | Report abuse

@cwg - I'm a webmaster for a big community in Loudoun County, do you know where I can find snowfall statistics for this year and the past few years?

Posted by: ThinkGreen | February 3, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Seen NAM? It's showing more potential than GFS, and doesn't even reach the end of the storm yet.

Posted by: RandC | February 3, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

I am a snowlover, and even I am about fried on the whole snow thing. LOL. I am peering down at my front steps and walk and debating on when I should go out and shovel them...and the idea of trying to clear upwards of two to three times what is out there now has lost it's appeal.

However, Mother Nature seems to be of a mind to make the lovers happy...so I'll have to live with whatever she dishes out. :-)

Kim in Manassas

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 3, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

@Thinkgreen, shoot us an email at our weathergang address, I can probably hook you up with whatever things you need.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

WOW - it's SO beautiful out there. this ...WOW...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

WaPost has another misery piece this morning.

Gray snowdrifts?

Do these people ever get out and enjoy the beauty, as in Walter just said?

Posted by: jaybird926 | February 3, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

There are all kinds of different snows, and the one overnight is probably many people's favorite kind: wet, so it stuck to the trees, but not enough of it to create much havoc. And since it's so warm out, it won't last.

Those of us who were out and about before 7 or so were really treated to a beautiful sight. I had to stop on my walk to the Metro station to take pictures of the snow on the trees reflecting the streetlights. Just gorgeous.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 3, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

CWG - big favor/question. Need to fly out Thursday morning early and fly back Friday afternoon at 4pm. I will decide at the last minute tomorrow, but would you try it?

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | February 3, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!! Just wanted to let you know how much I love your site...moved here from CA last year and have relied on your site for all my weather info!! My son and I especially like your "apples" to let us know about school closings!! HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Posted by: mjnanny | February 3, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: samdman95 | February 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

@jaybird

Sorry, I was happy Annie Gowen wrote that piece.

"Enjoy the beauty"???? You do realize some of us have to go to work and have many other obligations, right? And, as of 8am, I haven't had a snow lover yet knock on my door and volunteer to shovel my driveway. I'm sick and tired of it all. It's incredibly disruptive.

There's also a little thing called "seasonal affective disorder". Remember, one man's beauty is another's gray clouds.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

From HPC:

OVERALL MODEL QPF CONSENSUS AVERAGE 1-1.5 LIQUID EQUIVILENT OVER AREAS COLD ENOUGH FOR SNOW INDICATES POTENTIAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS IN THE 1-2 FOOT RANGE. GALE FORCE ONSHORE WINDS CONT ALONG THE DELMARVA/NJ COAST SAT AS A DEEPENING SFC LOW EXITS THE NC SOUNDS AND MOVES EAST OF THE VA CAPES. THERE ARE SIMILARITIES TO THE FEB 11-12 1983 STORM WITH A MORE SUPRESSED NRN EDGE TO THE PCPN AND AS FAR SOUTH WITH COLD AIR.

The February 1983 storm gave DC 16.6" and Baltimore 22.8" of snow.

HPC Source: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/preepd/preepd.html

Posted by: RandC | February 3, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

It is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL out there this morning. The trees are like a delicately crafted fairy land and the fog smoothes out any rough stuff that wrecks the view. There are so many days and months and years that we miss out on these kind of rare special days when most of life slows down just a bit to have a cup of hot cocoa. I gotta say I'm really thankful. And looking forward to this weekend. And looking forward to the upcoming-sculpture-of-the-storm. Also, why were these flakes so fluffy and thick unlike the icy ones on the weekend. Can someone post the link to the snowflake site again?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 3, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Please, not Saturday. I'm supposed to be going to Germany, and it will mess up my chances to visit a Therme and co-mingle with naked women.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | February 3, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Swell. Best seats in the house for "The Rivalry" at Ford's Theatre Friday night, and it's supposed to start during the day on Friday. Had expensive tickets for another play, too - the weekend before Christmas. Had to eat those; hope it doesn't happen again. This winter, it's not a wise idea to buy tickets well ahead of time, apparently.

Posted by: faygokid | February 3, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Gorgeous morning in Potomac near Great Falls. Everything coated with gobs of white, heavy snow. My three-year-old just declared it's a PJ day. Sounds good to me.

Posted by: someonelikeyou | February 3, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I know it's impossible to know exactly when at this point, but how early on Friday do you expect the madness to begin?

Posted by: hils | February 3, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

ThinkGreen: do you ever ask someone to shovel your driveway? They would probably oblige. And I seriously doubt that you don't have enough time to appreciate what is likely some beautiful snowfall.

Posted by: KBurchfiel | February 3, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

My wife is due to land at Dulles around midnight Friday night/Saturday morning. Will she land before I'm due to leave for the Winter Olympics on Tuesday? And will I be able to leave on Tuesday?

Yeah -- the snow fanaticism is a bit out of hand. Sure, a nice 6-inch snowfall a few times a winter is nice, and it's very pretty today. But paralyzing the entire transportation system? Can we keep that to a minimum, please? Maybe once every five years? Not twice a winter.

Posted by: BDVienna | February 3, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I see the Accuweather "alarm" just went off for the weekend storm. 13.7" for Burtonsville (and the descriptors for Friday, Friday night and Saturday are impressive) 3-6, 6-10 and 1-3, so I guess that's 10-20 inches?

Posted by: MDDem2 | February 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"THERE ARE SIMILARITIES TO THE FEB 11-12 1983 STORM"

Oh. Joy. Not.

Posted by: Murre | February 3, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

This morning's GFS model is in. It is just slightly colder than last evening's run. Enough mixing with sleet and/or rain to significantly lower accumulation totals is still a "concern" for, I'd say, inside the Beltway and southern/eastern suburbs. But if the current track continues to hold, and if the storm is as intense as the models continue to show, it still looks like a big snow for much if not the entire metro area. But again, a close call on that mixing is still a possibility.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"THERE ARE SIMILARITIES TO THE FEB 11-12 1983 STORM"

Still my favorite snow storm ever. I was in high school in the Shenandoah Valley. I think we were off at least 2 weeks from that storm. Unfortunately that meant going to school on a few Saturdays in the spring.

Posted by: JW211 | February 3, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Hi CWG. Great job you guys are doing. I'm totally addicted to this site. Anyways, question for you guys. I'm flying out of DCA at 4pm EST on Friday to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Las Vegas. I have the option (with a dreaded fee) of changing my flight to leave DCA at 3pm instead of 4pm. Do you think the weather will be significantly impacting our area during that time? I'm usually all for big snowstorms, but I've got to get to Vegas!

Posted by: SteveinAtown | February 3, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Folks-- All indications are that this weekend's storm will be a major to potentially crippling/historic storm. The lingering issues are where/whether sleet will mix in, and whether a dry slot will briefly impact the region as the primary (inland) low pressure system transfers to a secondary (coastal) low pressure system. Whether the storm is major or crippling/historic depends on how these issues work themselves out.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

....aaaaaaand I've got to work again this weekend. Typical.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Are we looking at more then 2 feet?

Posted by: allisondt | February 3, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@StevinAtown

Kind of early to get into confident starting times for precipitation. But I'd say there's a decent chance we'll see stuff falling from the sky by early-to-mid afternoon. Theoretically, you'd probably be increasing your chances of getting out by shifting to 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. But it's impossible to say now (maybe even the day of) whether the 1 hour would really make a difference in reality. If precip gets going nicely by 1 p.m. or earlier, then you might get canceled no matter if it's a 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. flight. If the precip waits until, say, the 1-4 p.m. timeframe, then it could make a difference. We'll try to take a good stab at a star time window in tomorrow's forecast post.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

No more snow! NO MORE! I can't take it anymore. I'm moving to Florida.

Posted by: B-rod | February 3, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info Dan! By the way, I'm a former "Postie" from the 6th floor of 15th/L. Keep up the great work at a great company to work for!

Posted by: SteveinAtown | February 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So, blizzard this time? Last time we had the snow, but not the wind. I'm getting the sense from the models that this one has a higher wind potential. I really don't want my power to go out and have me miss the super bowl...

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

If one more bleepin' person writes/says that it's a winter wonderland out there, or like fairyland filled with gossamer lace, in the immortal words of Eric Cartman, I'm going to kick you right in the nuts. I can't TAKE this. I left upstate New York on PURPOSE.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 3, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I might cry. And they won't be tears of joy!!!

Thanks for keeping us in the know, CWG. I think I speak for all the winter weather haters that we love CWG even if we don't share the joy most of you get from snow!

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 3, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

What a winter! Four inches of snow this morning. Already, just over 31 inches since Dec. 1 in Springfield, VA. Bring it on!

Posted by: ricschwartz | February 3, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Love it or hate it, it's gonna come. I for one, just want to be informed.

Posted by: GrassHouse | February 3, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

This is so depressing.

Posted by: hereandnow1 | February 3, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to ask Al Gore to shovel my driveway.

Posted by: TGT11 | February 3, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Gunga, have you looked outside this morning? It's like a winter wonderland out there! :)

Posted by: ultrapop101 | February 3, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

ultrapop101,
i love the gossamer lace look of the tree branches lined with snow. it's just beautiful...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Crippling, wow, that's not a word I wanna hear associated with my weather. :-(

Guess I'm off to CVS to get my meds tonite or tomorrow instead of waiting for the weekend.

We've got plenty of alcohol, TP & comfort food, we're good for a change. Just make sure I can't get out on to Route 108 Monday morning & I'll be fine.

Posted by: wadejg | February 3, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh what a beautiful day it is outside. And the bittersweet melting of the snow is replaced with news of another snow or...two on the horizon. The streets and sidewalks are clear but the yard is full of the white stuff. It is wonderful.

Posted by: ArlingtonSnowGal | February 3, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Walter, it's like living in fairyland.

Posted by: Melewen | February 3, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

TGT11,
inexplicably, you said,
"I'm going to ask Al Gore to shovel my driveway."

well, will you ask rush limbaugh or james "greatest hoax" inhofe to bring you a smoothie when it's hot in the summertime...?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Melewen,
heh heh heh...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoy reading this blog and the subsequent comments because I learn alot about the weather the expertise so many of you have.

As such, I'd love to draw upon your guidance for a question: I don't understand how we will be able to have such a big snow accumulation this weekend given that the temperatures during most of the snowfall will be above -- or just at --freezing level.

Friday is supposed to have a high of 40 degrees and the preceding days will be mid-40s, so the ground will be relatively warm when the snow starts arriving. We will apparently have a high of 33 degrees on Saturday.

My experience has been that for a snow to produce an accumulation and keep it, the temperature has to have been below freezing for some time before the arrival of the storm. Last night's snowfall is one example -- it was high-30s most of yesterday and this morning, my sidewalk is already clear without my having to go out and shovel it.

I'd appreciate any education I can get on this issue. Thank you.

Posted by: ConnieCubsFan | February 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Fridays snowstorm has been upgraded to a Snow-Hurricane, or a Snowicane....Board up your windows...

Posted by: SA-Town | February 3, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

For all the Snow Boo Birds out there, we get it; you don't like snow. Everytime I read one of your gripes, I picture a grownup in a huge kids snow suit stomping their feet and pouting. When life gives you snow, make snowmen!

Posted by: the_local | February 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

As Cartman ALSO says, "I hate you guys . . . I really hate you guys."

Hey, I can deal. I just hate it. I've got a fridge in the garage full of really good beer (made a major Total Bev run last weekend), we'll hit Costco on Friday, got my snowblower, got plenty of books, got FIOS.

I'm just SICK of it.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the predictable teabagger/sloper/birther global warming-Al Gore post.

"How can we claim there is global warming when there is snow on the ground?"

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | February 3, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Is it to early to talk about naming the upcoming storm?

There is nothing we can do about the snow, so let's stock up, sit back and enjoy the snow. We'll talk about this winter for years to come.

Posted by: irish031 | February 3, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Breathtakingly exquisite panaromas of white in Glover Park early this a.m. Too bad it was so fleeting.

DCA is up to 26.1", or 19.9" inches short of the all-time DCA record. If we shift the snow mojo into high gear we oughta' be able to set a new record by next week, even though the snowaholics may have to dodge digital snowballs lobbed our way.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 3, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned Mark Twain, but I didn't see him quoted, so here goes:

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." ` Mark Twain

You can't change it, may as well enjoy whatever aspects you can. I love all four seasons and am thrilled with our winter so far. I do feel badly for those of you like sheepherder who are having difficulty with the snows, though.

The tracks for when and how heavily the snow will fall Friday will greatly impact me as well. Unfortunately, seems as if I will need to wait until Friday morning to get a good enough feel for the timing.

Patience grasshopper- er, I mean, arctic insect!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 3, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Aaaa! Abandon your cars!"

Looks like I might have to attend that Super Bowl party via teleconference. Damn. Better buy myself some beer and chips.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | February 3, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@ConnieCubsFan

It doesn't have to be below freezing before a storm for significant accumulations. If it snows hard enough, both the air and the ground will drop close enough to freezing (or even below freezing), so that after an initial period of melting, the snow will start sticking. There have been cases where we've had double digit (or close to it) accumulations with temperatures at or a little above freezing for the entire storm. For the storm this weekend, we think temperatures will probably be below freezing most of the time, with the probable exception of the onset.

It is true that with temps closer to freezing and mild temps before a storm the snow will not accumulate as quickly, but if it's a big enough storm with enough moisture, that issue can be overcome.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Can we PLEASE, for the love of God, leave the politics OUT of CWG, folks? I purposely escape to CWG to AVOID all of the coverage throughout the rest of WaPo.com. Snow haters I can take, but if this political sniping begins again, I'm off to the EasternWx forums for good....

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 3, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Gunga

I lived in upstate NY (Schenectady) while I studied at SUNY in the 90's (92-98) and there was so much snow. I was a substitute teacher at the time and they never had snow days, but of course a lot of people would call in. Then I would struggle with finding a parking spot.

I still think this is beautiful weather, a true winter wonderland!

It melts so quickly here that I don't see how anyone can mind the snow. Last weekend was the only cold snow that we have had here in the last 8 years.

Maryland snows are great because the snow comes down, looks pretty, then melts before it has a chance to get all brown and ugly.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 3, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with all you morons? It's not beautiful! Actually for people who don't how to drive it's dangerous.

I'm so tired of people who just act like 5 year olds every time snow falls. When I worked in Virginia I noticed that people there especially go stupid over the stuff, unlike people in DC and MD. I think it's a nice change of scenery, but grow tired of it easily.

Posted by: TheMarylander | February 3, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

This is a 4 season climate area--we get lots of muggy heat in the summer, have been known to get this sort of cold snowy winter and are repaid by the sort of springs and falls people in temperate all year climates can only dream of.

Stock your house properly with the stuff you need to be indoors for a day or two and enjoy the fact that for a day or two you will not be forced to run around like a maniac 24/7 and can just vegetate.

And if you really hate snow this much move to Florida. Or better still, Arizona, and leave the snow for those of us who grew up with it and LIKE it!

Posted by: librarylady61 | February 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I will not respond to your "moron" comment except to say that if you don't like snow, why are you even reading this board?

I am aware that snow causes problems, I had to fly of BWI on Dec. 20 and was exhausted from shoveling, I dig my neighbors out and shovel off their steps, but I still like the snow.

Besides, the weather has nothing to do with whether I like it or not. The Mark Twain quote was quite appropriate.

OK. Good-bye- we are going sledding.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 3, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. We were planning on going skiing in the Shenandoah Valley this weekend, but I'm guessing that's not such a good idea. Problem is that I'm married to a hard-core skeptic who refuses to believe that we'll get snow, let alone a big storm, until the totals are already on the ground. What say you, CWG? Is this a skeptic-proof storm?

Posted by: paige_va | February 3, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"When you stop seeing beauty, you start growing old."

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 3, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We only got a couple of inches at most last night at the Harry Nice Bridge. Streets and driveways remained clear.

Gunga - The cardinals looked bright and chipper in the snow-glistening trees this morning awaiting their turn on the bird feeder.

For the storm coming this weekend, we'll be making a small store run, but mainly to Petco for the four legged children. Make sure your pets have plenty of their own food. They'd be really happy sharing your pot roast Saturday, but that's probably not the best thing for them.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Some of us love snow, some of us don't. The comments board is for everyone -- those who have every right to be enthusiastic about snow and wish for blizzard upon blizzard, and those who'd rather see D.C.'s climate become more like Florida. (I'd be good with a mixture of both!) Can't we all just get along?

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know when GFS and NAM projections are updated on this site: http://coolwx.com/cgi-bin/getptype.cgi?region=ne&model=gfs&run=00&fhr=29&field=acctype

Or, alternatively, another page with dates for each GFS and NAM? I figured out how to convert the times to EST, but because they are not dated as far as I can tell, was not sure if I looked at the 18Z projections at 1:05pm EST if that would be todays, or if would still be showing yesterdays. I am getting all-geeked up for the storm and want to make sure I am looking at the most up to date forecasting.
Thanks!

Posted by: dukenilnil | February 3, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I know there has been talk of accuweather hyping storms, but for anyone looking for early snowfall projections...

http://www.accuweather.com/news-story.asp?article=2

Posted by: tricia8 | February 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Folks, I am not trying to get anyone overly excited or alarmed, as there are still several key issues to be resolved with the upcoming storm. But the analog of Feb 10-12 1983, which NOAA mentioned in a discussion today, is potentially a good one. That storm brought a solid 10-20 inch snowfall to DC metro, with up to 30 inches in the higher elevations of Va. It also dumped just under 2 feet in the Philly and NYC metro areas, and 18 inches in Boston. There appear to be several differences with this upcoming storm though, as no analog is a perfect match. Stay tuned!

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Quick correction to my previous post: Boston received 13.5 inches from the Feb 1983 storm, not 18 inches as I indicated.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Margusity is likely on the ball with this one...everything we've all seen is pointing to a similar amount to Dec. 19...I think we all know what's coming, but its hard to grasp because these are only supposed to come around once every seven or eight years, not seven or eight weeks. Im going to guess that Topper will show up with a big number first, probably around the 6pm news cycle. I dont think any tv mets will show their hand till then. They (tv mets) ALL know that tonight will be a big ratings night on local tv!

Posted by: DullesARC | February 3, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

EURO came in colder. I'm personally becoming less concerned about mixing in the immediate area.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

dukenilnil

The date is on the line below the title
e.g. 12Z03Feb2010 (Wed)
The 18z is the one from yesterday

Posted by: chrisfrombethesda | February 3, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, I found it interesting they went to that analog again. Oddly (or not considering the pattern similarities) enough that was a primary analog for December 19 as well.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, welcome to the Bombo Rogues' Gallery. Gotta add C-Rod as well.

I've been getting Seasonal Affective Disorder from the past five or so low-snow winters. It returned during the recent thaw as well. Let's hold off on the fifties-and-rainy stuff...though fifties and fair might be OK.

Latest Eastern U.S. Wx look at the next storm has us down cold for eight inches of snow.

The only problem could involve warm-air advection...I'd rather not have a "Superstorm"-style bust.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

It's starting to look like MOCO might still be going to school in July.

Posted by: PoorTeacher | February 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

OK, so let's say that hypothetically speaking, you CWG decide to skip town for the Caribbean Saturday morning (9:45AM from IAD). Since you guys love probabilities so much, what would you call the chances of actually leaving any time on Saturday?

Posted by: vinkadog | February 3, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Margusity is calling for a blizzard with a foot to 2 feet in the DC area!!

http://www.accuweather.com/mt-news-blogs.asp?partner=accuweather&blog=meteomadness

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to second paige_va's question: is this a "skeptic-free" storm - where it'll definitely happen, it's just a matter of how much - or is it still early enough that the entire thing could miss us?

Posted by: mmurphy70 | February 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Nothing worse than freezing rain and inches of ice on the ground. Bring on the snow. I love it.

Posted by: clarkjr | February 3, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

TheMarylander, what is your deal? I can tell you're one of those snobby people from Maryland who think they're better than Virginians because they live a few miles to the north

Posted by: mrevell83 | February 3, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow, TheMarylander. When did you lose your ability to recapture your youth and innocence? :P You sound like a miserly poopinator who likes to say phooey to everyone's joy. Lemme guess: you're an IRS auditor?

Posted by: sigmagrrl | February 3, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Where on the hype-o-meter does this statement from Margusity fall?

"Keep in mind, this storm will turn into a blizzard for Philly, Atlantic city, Balitmore and Washington up to Harrisburg, Pa Saturday morning."

He's not leaving any room here, not even a tiny hedging of this bet.

Posted by: lilymama | February 3, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

sigmagrrl, seriously - "poopinator." I freakin' LOVE that.... :)

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 3, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the "snow lovers" vs. "snow haters" discussion misses the point. While we have some commenters who just want to buried to their necks in snow while others are just sick of it, most READERS really want to know what we need to do to prepare.

For example: While I know it's too early for an hourly forecast, I'd like to know (and I see others also would like to know) if we should try to reschedule flights in and out of the airports. Historically, how much snow can they handle? And does it matter if it's a steady but calm snow as opposed to a 2-inch-per-hour wallop? And, as best as we can tell, which are we likely to get?

It's a lot easier for all of us to get on the "let it snow" bandwagon if we put aside the cheerleading long enough to be prepared. Deal?

Posted by: BDVienna | February 3, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Regarding 1983, wasn't that a Miller A, primary storm from the gulf going up the coast? This one according to NWS Blacksburg (read their discussion) is Miller B with the primary dying out (not sure where) and the secondary forming off the coast against a blocking wedge.

I don't know the specifics of each type but I'm pretty sure they are different types.

Posted by: eric654 | February 3, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I am a native washingtonian born and raised in the District. I spent my college years in MN ( where the snow seemed to last 6-7 months) and lived in VA and now live in MD. I love all the seasons and enjoy each one. This winter is the most interesting one I can remember since the 1970s ( in terms of the number of snow events) and since we can't control the weather I would rather make the best of it and prepare for whatever comes next.

I for one, love this blog and the great comments here. Thanks CWG!

Posted by: soleil2000 | February 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

lilymama, I'm quite frankly amazed at this point to see most of the models REMAIN in primary agreement on the A) existence of, and B) projected snow totals for this storm. I tend to take the CWG team most seriously out of all the mets in this area for their thorough and conservative approach to forecasting, and even THEY seem to be in agreement that a major storm's on the way. As for Margusity, I think there's some hype in there (not sure about the blizzard part) but it appears that we have a darn good shot to get at least 8" to 16" sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning! (Hedging is ALL mine...)

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I am loving everything I am hearing. I missed the blizzard in Dec so I am hoping this one is huge as well. I just hope everything stays on track because I have to work on Saturday and if we get a December like storm I will be off!!!

Posted by: justin-N-sterlingVa | February 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Does CWG any have any input for the possibility of another storm on Tuesday? Been showing up on the GFS for a few runs.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/18/fp1_162.shtml

Just crazy to think of how much snow potential there is for the next 7 days!

Posted by: wildwolf45 | February 3, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't know which I enjoy more, the actuals storms or the anticipation leading up to them. Keep the updates coming, CWG!

Posted by: cmspsu13 | February 3, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Is the 12Z NAM really throwing 3+ inches of liquid at us? Really NAM, really? And of course those of us regulars know that the NAM was nailing the Dec 19 storm 4 days out when the other models laughed at it. I like my snow, but that's too much. My satellite may not recover in time for kickoff on Sunday.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 3, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

HPC this morning...I think it's a wrap. 18 inches widespread. Bank on it :)

"MID ATLC OFFSHORE STORM DAY 3 SAT HAS A GOOD CONSENSUS AMONG
MODELS FOR HEAVY RAINFALL OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN SEABOARD. A VERY
HEAVY EVEN CRIPPLING SNOW IS LOOKING LIKELY OVER A RELATIVELY
SMALL AREA FROM SRN NJ/SOUTHEAST PA/DE/MD/NRN VA/ERN PANHANDLE DAY
3 FRI NIGHT INTO SAT. THIS AREA WILL BE UNDER THE RIGHT REAR
ENTRANCE REGION OF THE NRN STREAM JET WITH A BRIEF COUPLING OF THE
SRN STREAM LEFT FRONT EXIT REGION WITH VERY STRONG VERTICAL
VELOCITIES. OVERALL MODEL QPF CONSENSUS AVERAGE 1-1.5 LIQUID
EQUIVILENT OVER AREAS COLD ENOUGH FOR SNOW INDICATES POTENTIAL
SNOWFALL AMOUNTS IN THE 1-2 FOOT RANGE."

Posted by: clintonportis17 | February 3, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I know this is pre-emptive, but I need to ask for sanity's sake.

Say, hypothetically, the models pan out and this storm is a whopper. DC sees ridiculous levels of snow. Approximately when would DCA be operational again? (I was out of town for the Dec. 19 storm, so I don't know how long it took for DCA to come back up.)

My fiance is flying to Vegas for the weekend. His flight back brings him into DCA at 10pm Sunday evening. What are his chances for getting back in on time? (Or is he destined to be stuck somewhere waiting for a flight into DCA?)

Posted by: AlexandriaAnna | February 3, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Yep, the 12Z GFS for Tues. would be another 6-12 inches on top of what happens this weekend. Actually the 12Z GFS spits out a few more snow events over the next 10+ days...El Nino - all or nothing winters!

Posted by: DullesARC | February 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cjespn | February 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I am snow disliker from SoCal. My wife is a snow lover from N.E. We get along anyway. Can't we do the same here? My only beef with snow lovers is how we talk about these storms. If this southern storm came through in the fall as all rain, we would be talking about how "bad" it will be, or discussing all the negative consequences. If the same storm hits in the winter and is snow, half the population flips the nomenclature and talks about how "great" the conditions are going to be. You can love the weather you want to, I would just ask the everyone talk about the forecasts in a manner that is consistent or clear regardless of your personal biases for a particular outcome. We all self-select to read this blog because we like weather or meteorology, let's keep the focus there.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 3, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Alexandria Anna,

I'm not expert on this but my guess would be that if this storm pans out in the 12-18in even 12-24in range, the airport will be up and running by Sunday but the flight delays will be enormous

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 3, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link with some explanation: www.easternsnow.org/proceedings/2006/perry_and_konrad.pdf Miller type A is a storm from the eastern gulf going up the coast. Miller type B appears to come from the western gulf, but then reform off the coast. I don't know if the upcoming is type B, but Blacksburg says it is. I mistakenly mixed up 1983 with 1993 (the superstorm). 1993 was definitely type A, not sure about 1983.

Posted by: eric654 | February 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

AlexandriaAnna, I would think if tihs pans out his chances of getting back in on time are pretty slim. Even more so, his chances of getting home from the airport are pretty slim as well. If we get the amount of snow called for Metro will shut down at DCA, and of course we know the roads will be finished.

May have to have him stay home. Why, in the post-Tiger world, would you let him go to Vegas anyway? :)

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 3, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Gunga2009 -

You have a snow-blower, and you're still complaining?

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@BDVienna

Good comment ... as for airport question. If everything happens the way it might, then midnight Friday night would probably be during the brunt of the storm. Highly doubtful any of the area airports would be operating at that point.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Three inches of rain just plan stinks, and that, IMO, is why snow is so much more fun to talk about. It's also much more fun to play in the snow, then it is the rain.

Maybe that is why people seem more excited to talk about snow then a large rain storm.

Posted by: irish031 | February 3, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

This is a very newbie question, but what exactly is the conversion ratio for inches of precipitation into inches of snow? I see that the user earlier stated that 3.026 inches at BWI would be 30 inches of snow.

Thanks, enjoy the board, and learning about the technical aspects of weather.

Posted by: T-Town | February 3, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

when will we get the 18z runs?

Posted by: chrisfrombethesda | February 3, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

oldtimehockey, you said,
"If this southern storm came through in the fall as all rain, we would be talking about how "bad" it will be, or discussing all the negative consequences. If the same storm hits in the winter and is snow, half the population flips the nomenclature and talks about how "great" the conditions are going to be."

well, i hear what you're saying, and USUALLY it bugs the !#$%!#$% out of me when mets "editorialize" about the weather. i don't want their opinions about whether they like the upcoming weather.

all i EVER hear (except here) is how terrible it would be if it snowed or if it got cold or whatever. being a snow disliker you may not even realize the enormous media bias AGAINST snow. go watch to a tv weather report and listen for the bias: all you'll hear is warnings about snow and how "if we're lucky" the storm will miss us, or we won't get much accumulation, or "hopefully" the sun will come out and quickly melt all the snow.

when i first found CWG, i was so thrilled to find mets who seemed to LIKE snow. i guess because they're mets, in a geeky sort of wonderful way they like snow because it's INTERESTING weather.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ChadwickWDC | February 3, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

One thing about a snow like this that only people with asthma can appreciate: the snow cleans the air of particulates and humidifies it. The air this morning was some of the cleanest of the past year. It's wonderful when an asthmatic doesn't have to take his meds to enable him to shovel the walk and the car port.

Skiers will recognize today's weather as a premier spring skiing kind of day. The only things missing are the reggae music playing over the loudspeakers on the slopes, and the smell of burgers on the charcoal grill on the deck at the top of the ski lifts. Got your SPF30 on?

All you snow haters should move to Florida and live with the 'gators.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Any other 4x4'ers out there that love driving around in this stuff?! I'll be at the Vienna Inn Saturday afternoon eating chili cheese dogs with the other handful of SUV owners in the parking lot :)

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@Voltron88x,

If you drive like most SUV 4x4 drivers, you'll end up in a ditch. Sure 4WD helps, but with enough snow, anything becomes undriveable.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 3, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@T-Town -- Ian covered this a bit in his photo post today. Scroll down to the last paragraph.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know when the snow is predicted to start on Friday? I ask because there is a big shindig at night at my daughter's elementary school and I'm wondering how likely it is to be canceled.

I lived in Ithaca NY for a year and it snowed all the time and I hated it. I'm a native Washingtonian and I cannot help but get excited hearing about big snow here. I get a thrill, even while I'm shoveling it. The only time I wasn't happy was when we got 23" when I was days away from my due date with my first child (2/22/2003) and our phone was dead. It took my husband two days shoveling five or six hours a day to dig us out. The snow plows didn't help, either, as they plowed all the snow in front of the driveways at the bottom of our court.

Posted by: elizestrada | February 3, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ZManVA, thanx for the Margusity link.

Just hope when (not if, but when) CWG starts posting video they don't scratch their armpit like Margusity did at the beginning of his clip.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 3, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Walter,

I hadn't thought of it as a bias, but a storm "warning" is consistent with the way to handle important weather events. I grew up in SoCal. A high surf warning was an invitation to go surfing. Some people chase tornados and hurricanes because they like them. A huge snow storm is also a significant weather event for which warnings/advisories/watchs are appropriate.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm counting on at least 18", and I'm already planning another cooking and baking extravaganza. How much flame am I gonna get this time if I post the menu? LOL

Posted by: --sg | February 3, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm super excited about this weekend's storm, as I've been with all of the storms so far this year, but now I'm starting to get nervous already about chatter regarding storms NEXT week. Flight to NOLA next Saturday...please let me make it!

Posted by: bachaney | February 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@walter

Sorry, but I strongly disagree with your assertion that tv weather mets have a bias against snow. IMHO, it's the exact opposite. These TV mets live for this. They talk about upcoming events in an excited manner just as you snow lovers. And when it hits, it's wall-to-wall coverage. Weather pays the bills for TV. Trust me, they live for this.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 3, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I would rather have two feet of snow than two inches of ice, and I am both young enough and old enough now to have lived through both. Just a couple inches of ice shuttered local public schools and the federal government for a solid week in January 1994 (hey Jason, remember that?). You can't shovel or clear ice - you just have to wait for it to melt.

Bring on the snow. At least the snow can be pushed out of the way.

Posted by: jaradel | February 3, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

@Ann - Thanks! Does that mean that typically you guys just use 10 - 12 times as a predictive tool; however, many other conditions can change the actual ratios?

Posted by: T-Town | February 3, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I notice its still 34 degrees in Manassas. Are we still thinking its going to get up to 40 degrees for the high or has the snow cover depressed this?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 3, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The National Weather Service has already posted the Winter Storm Watch.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/

Posted by: dettiot | February 3, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in Rockville, work in DC, and currently live in Virginia. But I grew up in Western Maryland. I know how to drive in snow. I've driven thru Garrett County during blizzards and went to college in Frostburg.

But the DC area is very transient. Many people live in the region that have no experience driving in snow. That's the main reason I avoid doing it anymore. Too many drivers in this area just don't know how to handle it, making it very dangerous for those of us that do.

Luckily for me, I have a Giant supermarket across the street so bring it on. 2 feet or more and I might get Monday off.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | February 3, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Watch is up for the area.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Winter storm watch already posted!!!!!!!!!!

WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...THIS STORM IS LIKELY TO PRODUCE 12 OR MORE
INCHES OF SNOW IN THE WATCH AREA...WITH A GOOD CHANCE FOR
LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OVER 20 INCHES.

* TIMING...SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN LATE MORNING
FRIDAY...CONTINUING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* TEMPERATURES...HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S FRIDAY. FRIDAY
NIGHT AND SATURDAY...TEMPERATURES WILL BE 25 TO 30 DEGREES.

* WINDS...EAST 5 TO 10 MPH FRIDAY AND FRIDAY NIGHT...BECOMING
NORTH 10 TO 20 MPH SATURDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE SIMILAR TO THE DECEMBER 19TH STORM.
PLAN FOR SUBSTANTIAL DISRUPTIONS TO TRAVEL FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH THE
WEEKEND.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

True, the "warning" language is consistent with other weather events, but Walter's right - the media is SO anti-snow its disgusting. They report even the chance like its the worst thing that could possibly happen...and its not caveated with acknowledgement of the traffic tie-ups and other issues it causes, no one wants that. It just comes across as they really don't like the snow. "Ooooooo! Be afraid of the big bad snow!!!!!" Please.

Posted by: DaveB2 | February 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I've ever seen a Winter Storm Watch issued with such huge precip amounts. that's not the usual, I don't think.

ACCUMULATIONS...THIS STORM IS LIKELY TO PRODUCE 12 OR MORE
INCHES OF SNOW IN THE WATCH AREA...WITH A GOOD CHANCE FOR
LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OVER 20 INCHES

Posted by: MDDem2 | February 3, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The Watch says snow to begin late Friday morning. Is that just playing it safe, or could snow really start at like 11 AM?

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 3, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Well I love winter, snow and ice and I think that this was an absloutely beautiful morning (seriously, did you naysayers even LOOK outside before 8:30am?). Roads clear, warm (relatively) temperatures, sun shining, snow on branches.

But apparently I'm just behaving like a 5 year old, and cheering misery and traffic accidents etc.

No. It's easy to find beauty in spring flowers and beach weather, but if that's where your idea of beauty and enjoyable weather begins and ends, you must lead a miserable life indeed. Really, I think that those of us who can appreciate what nature doles out, make the most of it and find fun and beauty in it instead of e-stomping our feet on the ground crying for the end of winter (only 6 weeks into it), have the right idea.

Whiners, move to Alabama or something. You won't have to put up with this particular force of nature down there.

Posted by: freckleface | February 3, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@vinkadog, probability of a 9:45 Saturday IAD departure: ZERO. That's a United flight, right? United was the first airline to cancel flights into IAD for the storm in December. They don't want their planes grounded (useless) in a snow storm because of how it affects other routes that are okay for travel weatherwise.

Posted by: prokaryote | February 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@MDem2, I haven't either re: watches. In Jan 1996, on the Saturday evening before the big snow began, the NWS issued a winter storm warning for 20-30" inches, which they later scaled back a bit.

But a winter storm warning for up to 20 inches, two days out, is amazing.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to just simmer down.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

AlexandriaAnna,
Yeah, your boyfriend might as well stay in Vegas another day or two. The runway at DCA will almost surely be open, but between planes and flightcrews being stuck at other airports that may or may not be open, connections being missed, and those tightly-scheduled "pushes" where 80 planes arrive in one hour, everyone changes at the hub, and all leave again an hour later, there's just too many moving parts that would get screwed up over the weekend.

Tell him to get the "steak special" at Ellis Island. It's not on the menu, but only $7. Great deal. The beer's lame, but it's cheap.

Posted by: Section406 | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@ oldtimehockey

Yes preparedness, equipment, and skill are paramount to successful and safe deep snow driving, no doubt. Never drive around alone either, always have at least one 4x4 partner in case you do run into problems. That said, was an exciting blessing it is to help out those motorists that do have problems or get stuck in the snow!

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@ OTH
If you drive like most SUV 4x4 drivers, you'll end up in a ditch. Sure 4WD helps, but with enough snow, anything becomes undriveable.

Driving a car in that much snow is really alot like steering a boat. You have significantly more rolling friction, but significantly less static friction. Additionally, ridges in the snow-covered surface deflect the tires' heading, just as the sea's currents act upon a ship.

In that much snow the name of the game is conservation of momentum and upset recovery. It's a zen thing. Your control inputs need to be soft enough that the tires don't break free, but hard enough that they roll through. Tooling around an empty, snow-covered parking lot is a great way to learn both. If you had ever gone to Big Bear or Mammoth, you'd know that. ;)

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Can someone give me a good estimate when it is really SUPPOSED to start?

I mean...lunch time? Before/After?

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

@ oldtimehockey

P.S. - Go Flyers! :)

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

First, part of the reason I dislike snow in this area is people like voltron88x thinking they know how to drive in it. Even if you do know how to drive in it and have four-wheel drive, there is no reason to go out unless you have to. Kill yourself if you want, but odds are good you might kill someone else who HAD to be out.

Second, ThinkSpring is right about the positive snow bias of TV mets. Sue Palka routinely refers to areas with higher snow totals as "hitting the jackpot." I can't think of a better example of the bias than that.

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

Flight on Southwest out of Baltimore Friday at 4. Any opinions on problems at that hour? "Friday morning into Saturday night" doesn't speak much to me, but I don't travel much.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | February 3, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@esmerelda123

It all depends. I'm supposed to fly to London Saturday evening and am hoping United gives free vouchers to change flight times so I can jet out on a Friday morning flight. If I were you I would get out as early as possible on Friday.

@Snowlover2 - I hear you bro, simmer down, but the trend is our friend and we have been getting nailed this winter.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 3, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of folks have been asking about flights to and from the area this weekend. In my opinion, having no relative airline policy knowledge, if you're involved with anything leaving or arriving the area between mid-to-late afternoon on Friday and mid-afternoon Sunday I'd have a back-up plan handy.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

United has issued travel waivers. Rebook your flights before flights rebook you!

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,52939,00.html

Posted by: megamuphen | February 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Less than 48 hrs now until commencement of the THE GREAT SUPER BOWL STORM OF 2010!!!

mwahahahahaha!!!

Posted by: bdeco | February 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

@ SouthsideFFX

Southside, I'm a bit perplexed why I'm automatically condescended to be a fatal liability. As I've mentioned before, being properly prepared and experienced is most definitely necessary. I do not condone flippant snow driving...to clarify your presupposition. I'm sorry to have offended you by suggesting driving around in the snow is fun and assisting people that are stuck in it is fulfilling and purposeful. I won't make any more comments about it.

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks ... I could take a ten AM flight, but it will cost me another $261!!!! More than the original cost of the flight. For heavens sake.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | February 3, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I am supposed to drive up to NYC on Saturday for a friend's birthday party. What are my chances of being able to do this without a team of huskies?

Posted by: Geeg1 | February 3, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: samdman95 | February 3, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

This Weekend.....Snowpocalypse, Part II..

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 3, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that 20 inch number this far out is amazing. Sterling must like the NAM...

Posted by: DullesARC | February 3, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

SNOWBLITERATION 2K10

Posted by: FeartheNoodle | February 3, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Come on - let's break some records!!!!

Posted by: nolagirl67 | February 3, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Can we call this one the Super Snowl? I am giddy.

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

I'm supposed to be coming in from NYC on Amtrak on Saturday night (around 11). Anyone care to speculate on what my chances are of getting in...and of being able to get home (to Alexandria) from Union Station?

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

Enjoy reading the comments. I also enjoy Henry Margusity at accuweather, I find him to give more of a regional forecast, not such a local one. He gets a lot of criticism for hyping, but I think he just gets excited about snow.

How much melting is likely to happen before the next storm? Should I bother to shovel out the snow around the car so it won't freeze and then get snowed on creating a mountainous ridge around my car? Or should I rely on the sun to melt it down?

Posted by: celestun100 | February 3, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing reminds be of:

Joe Quimby: Chief Wiggum, Archbishop McGee, distinguished guests, I am pleased to dedicate this emergency warning system. In the off-chance of a nuclear disaster, this sign will tell you, the good citizens of Springfield, what to do!

[sign lights up, ``Relax. Everything is fine.''] Crowd: Aah. [applause]

[sign lights up, ``Minor leak. Roll up window.''] Crowd: Ooh. [mild applause]

[sign lights up, ``Meltdown. Flee city.''] Crowd: [scattered applause]

[sign lights up, ``Core explosion. Repent sins.''] Crowd: [stunned silence]

Homer: Hee hee. Joke's on them. If the core explodes, there won't be any power to light that sign!

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 3, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

EBagain- I would assume low. With as much snow as we are supposed to get, the likelihood they'll keep the tracks clear is small. Even if you did get into Amtrak, the metro will not be running to Alexandria (above ground stations close down at 8 inches) and I doubt many cabs will be willing to drive you into VA from DC. They hate doing that in good weather.

Posted by: kallieh | February 3, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

argh, into Union Station. Sorry, that made no sense.

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

Haha @ "snowbliteration". It's been fun to watch this one on the models, although the 18z NAM may be coming in a bit warm.

I sure hope this winter earns at least an A- from El Bombo! I'd give it that, considering it's my last winter in the DC area.

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

Jason et al., I am having a very hard time with NWS DC forecast having not one mention of the word "sleet". GFS clearly takes our thickness close to 544 while 850 zero line remains to the south. Someone tell me that isn't sleet for a large number of frustrating hours.

Pat Michaels

Posted by: pmichaels1 | February 3, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Weird, sleeting at Scott Circle right now

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 3, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting paranoid. It's still two days out. Superstitious me is afraid we'll jinx it by counting our chickens ;)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 3, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Snowpacalypse 2: (TV) Reception Overturned

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | February 3, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

For the December storm, I flew out of BWI and made it out, but if I had to do it again, I would get a flight waiver and change my plans, as it was nerve-wracking not knowing if I would make it to the airport or not and thinking that if I did get there, maybe I would be stuck at the airport. Of course, if you have an emergency, it won't work to change your plans.

I hope Sheepherder lets us know how his ewes are doing. I will be thinking of him this weekend.

Driving: I think you can do ok if you drive very, very slowly. However, someone else may spin out and hit you, you cannot control anyone else. I think the snow plowers prefer that everyone stays off the roads so that emergency vehicles can get through and so that they can get their jobs done.

Posted by: celestun100 | February 3, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

T-Town, I think in many cases that range (10:1-12:1) works out around here, perhaps weighted toward the low end in marginal temperature and/or heavy moisture laden storms. It's sort of tricky to know for sure ahead of time what a storm will present ratiowise, but if it's not super cold you can generally go with 10:1 as a good starting point with the knowledge that things like banding can give higher ratios. It's also worth noting that bigger storms compact more once the snow is on the ground so you're averaged ratios in a big event are not likely to be terribly high in most cases.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 3, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Snowlover2

I was thinking the same thing. All this hype could really jinx it. I don't know anything about weather and reading models so I await each new report from the experts with bated breath.

Ah, I just love the anticipation of a good storm.

Posted by: clarkjr | February 3, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This is all unbelievable. Just after the Dec 19 storm, folks were discussing that the possibility of another big storm anytime soon was low, let alone in the same winter.

Posted by: crazer | February 3, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@SouthsideFFX
Some critical personnel have to go out but are unable to because of confidence, equipment, or ability. That's where people who have done it before and have the equipment to handle the conditions come in. You can buy the equipment, but the only way to learn how a to drive in the snow is to do it. I can tell you how cross a plow bank and then make a left-hand turn in six inches of snow, but you won't know how to do it until you don Sorels and snow pants, clean your vehicle off, and do it yourself.

Empty parking lots are great places to learn these skills, just as they are great places to learn how to drive a standard.

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

im calling it: 14.2 inches in Silver Spring by Sunday morning. get on the bandwagooon while you still can!

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

I hope I'll be able to make it to the Georgetown - Villanova game. Does anyone know how much it has to snow before the underground portions of the metro are shut down?

Posted by: NoVAHoyaDan | February 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Like it or lump it (as my mom used to say), folks - get used to it. We are in the same type of weather pattern as in 2003. Expect to see this level of snow through February. For the snowcrybabies, the last time we had this much snow was 2003, so deal. It's been quite a few winters since the snow lovers have had any appreciable snow.
Oh, and if you have SAD, get a full-spectrum light. Really cuts down on the whining ;-)

Posted by: howndawg07 | February 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in this area since 1954. If we get the expected snow from these next 2 storms it has a chance 2 b the snowiest winter I can remember. 2" last night, now at 33.5" for season, hoping for at least 50" this season. All the snow haters r forgetting the last 3 yrs of little snow, sometimes pay backs r hell. Going 2 enjoy all the snow now, because who knows what the next few winters will bring.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Even if the amount of snow is as huge as they're warning, it doesn't seem likely to affect work or school if it'll end Saturday night. I recall that the federal government closed the Monday after the Dec. snowstorm, but was it still snowing that day, or when had the snow stopped?

Posted by: spyderjerusalem | February 3, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@ NoVAHoyaDan

Do you think they may postpone it? I have tickets too.

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Did we have a winter storm watch this far out for the Dec. 19th storm? I can't remember...

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 3, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Spotsy. not yet in storm watch area, but Orange is, & I live 6 miles from Orange County. My weather is always colder & snowier than Fredericksburg which is 8 miles ESE of me. not unusal 4 it 2 b mixed prec. in town & snowing at my house.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 3, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, you said,
"...I strongly disagree with your assertion that tv weather mets have a bias against snow. IMHO, it's the exact opposite. These TV mets live for this. They talk about upcoming events in an excited manner just as you snow lovers. And when it hits, it's wall-to-wall coverage. Weather pays the bills for TV. Trust me, they live for this."

agreed, they love it for ratings and all that, but they portray snow as a BAD THING. they know lots of people are watching, and are happy about that, but feel like when they predict snow they have to apologize for it. it's like they're reporting on an earthquake or something....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Looks like US Airways has followed United's lead. Am sure more carriers will follow quickly. My advice would be to check your carrier's web site frequently, & be prepared to act quickly if they allow you to change w/no fee/penalty.

Now, as for you snow lovers, I'd remind you that killer tornadoes are interesting and beautiful to look at, but the damage they inflict far outweighs their positive qualities. Same goes for snow. People slide off the road & die, travel plans are disrupted, it's hard on the elderly & disabled . . . The list goes on and on. I wonder how much you'd like snow if you were dying of a heart attack and the ambulance couldn't make it to your house fast because the roads are snow-covered and impassible . . . I agree with the one poster -- GROW THE HECK UP! STOP BEING SO SELF-CENTERED! You're not 5 any more!

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

All of you that have to work or have tickets to games/shows this weekend should consider yourselves lucky: I'm helping a friend move this weekend.

:-)

Posted by: rjm1 | February 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@spyderjerusalem

For the storm in December it was not still snowing on Sunday, that storm ended Saturday night as well. It took all day Sunday to get Metro fully functioning again though, which is probably why the Feds closed for Monday. I can see it happening again, if we are getting that much snow.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

dcbuck,
oh come on.... comparing a snow strom to a tornado?!?! come on...really?!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

DCBUCK-

Weather happens. Go live in a dome.

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

My Dream Scenario: That it snows so much this weekend, the Federal Government closes on Monday and Tuesday...just in time for the next snowstorm where it snows so much again that we are off for the rest of the week through Valentine's Day and the President's Day holiday. Yes, one can certainly dream....

Posted by: Rcmorgan | February 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Is the record for snowiest DC winter in jeopardy? (1898-99, 54.4")?

Posted by: GD1975 | February 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I fly to Costa Rica on TACA at 10:00 am on Saturday out of IAD. Any chance that flight takes off?

Posted by: jk1492 | February 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, the day a big snowstorm ceases to elicit a 7-year-old's mentality of wonderment, excitement, and awe in me (and hoping work will be cancelled) is the day you can stick a fork in me. I'm not done enjoying life yet :)

Posted by: voltron88x | February 3, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@voltron: hear hear!

Even if it means shoveling it later.

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

Will it melt by Monday??

Posted by: staticvars | February 3, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

i'm a newbie here so maybe this is common knowledge but what does "localized amounts" precicely mean, in terms of "localized amounts over 20 inches?"

Posted by: cassidymullen | February 3, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 3, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh... and DCBUCK?

About your "hypothetical" regarding heart attacks and ambulances? That happened at the house next door to mine last night. FFX Co. FD and EMS seemed to have no problem getting it's rig in and out.

And think about it... Why would they? Most ambulances around here are built on large truck frames (E350)with powerful engines and significant amounts of ground clearance. They may not be 4WD (then again they might), but they almost all have dualies with a giant heavy box sitting over the rear axle.

The only way you get that beast stuck in the snow is if you try to.

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@ voltron88x They played as scheduled against Old Dominion during the last snowstorm, but that game was on campus in the McDonough Gymnasium. I'm not sure when else they'd play it because they are hamstrung by the Wizards and Caps schedule.

Posted by: NoVAHoyaDan | February 3, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

@voltron Well said! You could not have described my being any better!


*** For those of us going to the Caps game Sunday vs Pitt and the Georgetown game....I can only imagine the games postponed ONLY if METRO is shut down. Then again they need sufficient # of employees to operate so we shall see! The joy of it all!

Posted by: GMorg11 | February 3, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, mason, but a snow of 4" and one of 2' are quite different. And, I never said they wouldn't make it through . . . it's just that it may take much longer. And, as we all know, in an emergency, seconds count.

I agree that weather happens, but if you love snow so much, why don't you move to Buffalo?

Posted by: dcbuck | February 3, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I have in-laws visiting. We want them to leave by this weekend. If it snows, they won't. I used to love snow.

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

curtb - WAY too funny...

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 3, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

dcbuck, if you hate snow so much, why don't you move to Miami?

Posted by: mrevell83 | February 3, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

OK, I've never posted before, more of a lurker, but I just have to ask the people who are saying its self-centered to like snow, as people have to work/slide off the road/might die due to snowstorms.

Do you like New Years Eve? Because many people die that night due to drunk drivers. Swimming in the ocean? Even though people get killed by shark attacks? Sitting on the beach? Even though people get cancer from too much sun?? Eating a good meal? Even though people all over the world are starving??

I mean, C'MON people!!! Many, many people (myself included), get excited at the prospect of a nice big snowstorm, and it doesn't make you self-centered, immature, or immune to the suffering of others. So feel free to get off the soapbox and even if you don't like snow, you don't have to rain (or snow...) on other people's parade...

Posted by: juliess31 | February 3, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Love it! It's beautiful and we have a great time as a family playing in it. And to all those people talking about how they have to work, well, so do I! Commuting from Manassas to Alexandria isn't exactly fun in the snow but since when is driving anywhere in this area not dangerous? Enjoy what the world has to offer when it presents itself. Yes, I have to shovel snow but I also managed to have a massive snowman in front of my house and this weekend, I'll be adding another. Two snow sentries guarding our home...plus a few memories and photos to keep after it all melts. The snow is going to happen whether you like it or not so adjust your attitude unless you get something out of being miserable and cranky. As for me, we'll be serving up some hot chocolate and enjoying the experience.

Posted by: oakmoxy1 | February 3, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

It's perfectly fine (and understandable) to dislike snow. But to call people who enjoy it "selfish" or worse? Come on, that's ridiculous. I would have liked to think that, of all places, a blog about the weather would avoid much of the hyperbole and nonsense that pollutes most of the WaPo comment threads. Grow up, people. As George Costanza would say, we're trying to have a society here.

Posted by: ultrapop101 | February 3, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This storm could put a real damper (pun intended, of course) on the pre-Super Bowl junk food purchasing frenzy. So when you go stock up on milk, bread, and toilet paper, don't forget the chips, dip, and frozen pizza since you may not be able to get it over the weekend.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 3, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Any word on wind speed during this storm and how it compares to what we saw in December? Just worried about potential power/utility issues.

Posted by: jcurrin | February 3, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

200!

Posted by: samdman95 | February 3, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, mason, but a snow of 4" and one of 2' are quite different. And, I never said they wouldn't make it through . . . it's just that it may take much longer. And, as we all know, in an emergency, seconds count.

I agree that weather happens, but if you love snow so much, why don't you move to Buffalo?
===
I'll take these in reverse order.

I'm not the whimpering like a puppy.

From the perspective of driving a Type 1,3, or MD ambulance, a three to four inch storm is exactly the same as a 10" storm and almost the same as a two footer.

If you are driving a vehicle with sufficient ground clearance, the amount of snow on the road only increases your rolling resistance and sideways shunting, so long as you:
a) keep the tires spinning at your rate of travel,
b) the amount of snow on the road stays less than your clearance.

What does this mean to an ambulance driver, firetruck, etc? It means you have to slow down, leave space, and be softer on your control inputs. Essentially, you have to drive the same as you would on an icy night, or with an inch or so. Don't know if you've ever driven an F/E 350 or larger or not, but they're already pretty spongy on the inputs, even on pavement. They are, after all, large, powerful trucks, and they take a lot of input to get them to do something.

Now what about if there are two feet of snow on the road?

Trick question. There never will be two feet on the road. Snow doesn't all fall at once during a storm, and can be cleared during one. During the 12/19/09 storm a plow came by my house on a side-street ever 5 hours or so. If snowfall rate and plow throughput are the only factors, I would guess that we had, at some point, about 9" on the street. I would, however, be wrong, because those are not the only factors. Other vehicles traveling down the street do compact the snow and knock it down. How do I know this? I was able to drive my 7.5" clearance vehicle in and out several times during the with minimal hassle.

So yes... You're right. An ambulance in the snow has to slow down. But this "ambulance will be late and you could DIE because of the two feet of snow on the roads" is frakking absurd, especially if you're also saying that they don't have to in 3" or 4" storms. Ambulances slow down in the wind, rain, fog, and just about any compromised driving condition. Everyone should.

Posted by: mason08 | February 3, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

So who saw the 12Z NAM? That was nuts in precip, and a big outlier, so I don't trust it. More likely 1-2.5 feet of snow than what the 12Z NAM was showing (2.5-4 feet!). 18Z NAM came in warmer and weaker and a bit further south. The GFS has been more consistent run to run, so I'm more inclined to trust that.

The 18Z GFS shows a break from the flow in about a week, while the 6Z GFS was showing a continuation of the 3-4 day major storms through the entire 2 week period.

As a snow lover, this is getting ridiculous if these models pan out - I'm not talking about this coming weekend - I'm talking about the two weeks following this weekend!

Posted by: RandC | February 3, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

koolkat

you're right. We now have a lot more stocking up to do.

Anyohne have predictions for the length of grocery store lines tomorrow? :)

Posted by: celestun100 | February 3, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan (2:10 p.m.), Brian and those who posted with travel waivers.

My wife is now due to arrive at 1:45 p.m. Friday. Feeling much better. We'll hit the store once just because we're out of beer. Then we're all set for the weekend. :)

Posted by: BDVienna | February 3, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company