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Posted at 7:15 PM ET, 02/15/2010

Snover 'n out: Snow departs after a dusting or so

By Dan Stillman

Watch for black ice; dry & chilly through work week

* Federal government -- Two hour delay/liberal leave: Federal Eye *
* Full Forecast through the weekend | Weather Wall *
* Blizzards and climate change | Must-see photos/videos *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

For a time, the snow in some places came down at a pretty nice clip this afternoon. But temperatures in the mid-30s prevented sticking on roadways, and even grassy areas and snow-covered surfaces picked up no more than a dusting to a half-inch before the snow, mixed with rain and/or sleet at times, moved on out by around sunset. Nothing other than some mist and the chance of a passing snow or rain shower is expected for the remainder of the night.

Temperatures dropping to lows in the 20s tonight could create some new areas of black ice into tomorrow morning's commute. Overall, though, there will be few lingering impacts from this mini-event -- at least in addition to the snow piles and missing lanes that remain from our recent "big ones."

SchoolCast (Tue.)
FedCast (Tue.) capitol-black.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpg

See Ian Livingston's PM Update for the full forecast through the weekend.

By Dan Stillman  | February 15, 2010; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Quick-moving event to cause few problems
Next: Forecast: Slow snow meltdown


Half of MD schools are closed already for tomorrow, MCPS has a delay. A lot of VA schools are closed too and a few have a a delay: the SchoolCast should probably be higher.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 15, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

That was a "normal" DC metro snowstorm.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 15, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The snow has definitively stopped in Silver Spring.

I am not looking forward to the commute tomorrow.

Posted by: Murre | February 15, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Schoolcast should have been lower, but many seemed to jump the gun based on the earlier forecast of 1-3". What happened to the 'make the decision at 4 AM' old schedule? Now they take a medium-confidence forecast, and decide early the night before?

I don't even have kids, so I don't have a dog in this fight, but I think the last three weeks have made people a bit too jumpy.

Now, if you want to do it based on 'too much snow in the parking lots or on sidewalks', that's another story. But that's not based on 'this storm'.


Posted by: leesweet | February 15, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Federal agencies are on a delayed arrival/unscheduled leave policy for Tuesday, February 16th. Per the OPM website:
"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: johnnierat | February 15, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@leesweet - Schools are closing because of the last storm. A lot of roads are still not cleared and pretty much no sidewalks are.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 15, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

The federal government has not yet announced its plan, but it's hard to imagine anything other than open with liberal leave. The usual tools in OPM's arsenal are not really suited for good weather with reduced transportation capacity. What we really need is to stretch out the rush hour, for example, by having half the agencies start late and half the agencies close early. Without a plan for how to do that, liberal leave is the best tool they have; people least interested in a commute from hell can opy out, mitigating for the rest.

Posted by: jimtitus1 | February 15, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

oops--took too long to hit send

Posted by: jimtitus1 | February 15, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse


Looks to me a few metro area school districts/schools are closed tomorrow, but most are opening 2 hours late. So it's borderline 1.5 or 2 apples (probably a bit less than 50/50 chance of being closed.


I think school decisions for tomorrow are primarily based on lingering effects from the 2 big storms, not today's event.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

FIREDRAGON47 - I totally agree with you that today's winter storm acted like a normal dc storm! :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen this posted yet...Prince William has decided to close, Code Green for employees.

Posted by: meta2 | February 15, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks meta2! I guess I can delay returning to "reality" for another day.


Posted by: aquarnnr | February 15, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Lightly snowing again in Warren Co. 25.3F.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 15, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

CWG - Looking at extended forecast thru the end of the month, there is a distinct possibility that we could finish February with never making it to or above "normal" highs. Has that ever happened in a single calendar month? If so, when was the last time?


Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 15, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

All- I understand closings based on lingering effects, since there are obviously a lot of streets and a lot (most?) sidewalks not cleared. If you assume it's leftover snow, it just looks bad when they announce it late-ish on Monday, when they've already had those three days to work on it.

I was actually in favor of Loudoun's calling the whole week last Tuesday instead of doing it day by day, and they seem to be ready to go tomorrow (delayed opening), and even without any parents being needed to shovel! :)

Posted by: leesweet | February 15, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

looking at long-term trends it looks like it may not precipitate for the rest of the month. what say you?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 15, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

@CWG, since I didn't measure the snow-base beforehand, and the snow didn't even stick to any of the hard surfaces, I really cannot come-up with an accumulation total from this little clipper we just experienced. Suffice to say, even though I was in the above 1"-3" band, we ended up with less than an Inch. As usual, you held a good forecast, and you pretty much called it in terms of small accumulative amounts.

@Walter-in-FallsChurch, I wouldn't rule out a Winter storm smackdown around the February/March transition time-frame. I definitely do not believe that we're going completely dry for the next 2-3 weeks.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 15, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Doing my no-snow dance. Here's hoping for 0.0 inches!

Posted by: mhardy1 | February 15, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

the delays tomorrow are attributable to last week's epic snow--not today's snowfall really. This high-water-content snowpack isn't going anywhere fast. Due to the chemical properties of needing more (atmospheric) heat to evaporate water. Lets then add in today, when you have wet snow --even rain-- mix the slush back into the streets... overnight temps every night this month have been in the 20s...refreezing everything. black ice. hardened, icy snowpack. it's an impossible mess. Biblical mess! lol

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring - the last below-average month at DCA was September 2009. It was -0.3 degrees (below average for the month)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Camden -

Thanks, but maybe my question wasn't clear. Right now, every single day of February has been below normal. Has there been a month where each day has been below normal? If so, when?

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 15, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow is a lawsuit waiting to happen for area school districts that open and a child gets hurt.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 15, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

walter-in-fallschurch: I don't see El Nino disappearing too quickly in the Pacific. This should continue to give us an active subtropical jet stream, which pushes moisture into our area much of the time when it's active. So look for the end of the winter to still contain a few wintry/wet threats.
... However in the short term (6 days) we'll have a dryer time of it!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring, I have no clue the last time DC had an entire month below average, but the coldest month before February 2010 is February 2007 (-7.2 for an average of just 30.9). Only four days got above average that month.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 15, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse


My thoughts exactly.

Posted by: ehopper | February 15, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

10:30p Update: 7/8ths" along the Fauquier/Warren county line. Still lightly snowing...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 15, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse districts are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

had schools been closed tomorrow, we'd hear a chorus of "deal with it - get 'em back to school!" and complaints of how snow days mess up parents' work schedules....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 15, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Bedtime report along Fauquier/Warren County line: 1.0" snow accumulation, 22.3F, lightly snowing...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 15, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

My guess: This snow disappears slowly like a Wisconsin snowpack. Streets near me are generally clear, but traffic is impeded due to narrowing of lanes by abundant high snowbanks. With temperatures in the thirties and forties, disappearance of snow is rather slow. We're likely to have lingering effects through the remainder of February.

My recollections of Wisconsin experience are that they generally clear up a snow of this size in the 24 to 36 hours following a storm of this magnitude. Usually only one or two school days are affected by a storm, not a couple of weeks. I cannot recall the extension of a Wisconsin school year due to excessive snow days, nor do I recall school spilling over into spring or summer vacation. A few school districts close only in the heaviest snowstorms, and school buses run when snow is falling. Ice storms occasionally close school.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 15, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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