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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 02/24/2010

Strong winds the story as snow threat dwindles

By Ian Livingston

Gusts near 50 mph; minimal accumulation expected

* Winter Weather Advisory except far W/NW suburbs (map) *
* Share photos of recent storm damage | Bob Ryan leaving 4 *
* Radar, clouds & more: Weather Wall | Local home page *

The upcoming storm has already sent us on a wild ride and it is not even here yet. Patchy light rain or rain mixed with snow is moving north and may affect primarily eastern portions of the area over the next few hours. Highs that have risen into the low-and-mid 40s will only slowly fall back this evening, making it difficult for any snow that falls to stick initially.

Through Tonight: Snow or rain changing to snow becomes more likely overnight, with the main focus expected to be in the eastern part of the area or to the east. Light accumulations -- a dusting west to an inch or so east -- are possible across the area as lows fall to around 30 most spots (higher in the city). Light winds through much of the night increase toward sunrise.

Tomorrow (Thursday): Some snow may persist into the early morning, but it looks like we get an extended break during the day with maybe an occasional light snow shower or some drizzle. Winds, however, will get noticeably stronger during the morning and should be ripping by the afternoon with gusts past 50 mph possible. Highs rise to the upper 30s and around 40.

SchoolCast (Thurs.) [added to post at 5:30 p.m.]

Tomorrow Night: Winds continue to be the story with gusts near or past 50 mph continuing. Snow, mainly light, may drift back into the area from the north during the night. This second batch is as tricky or trickier to forecast than the first, and there is a chance that it stays mainly north of the area. Some additional light accumulation is possible. Lows fall to the mid-and-upper 20s.

Accumulations: Newer guidance suggests total accumulations will be on the low side of our earlier forecast map -- probably less than 3-4", and quite possibly less than 1-2" -- and continues to show better chances of accumulation for eastern sections than for western. As noted in the forecast above, any accumulation may come primarily in two separate windows -- tonight into early tomorrow, and then tomorrow night into early Friday. Our updated probabilities for accumulation tonight through early Friday are as follows...

Less than 2": 60%
2-4": 20%
4-6": 10%
6"+: 10%

West of the Beltway, snow potential decreases...

Less than 1": 60%
1-3": 20%
3-5": 10%
5"+: 10%

Next update around 11 p.m.

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

By Ian Livingston  | February 24, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Update: Maybe some snow; Definitely strong winds
Next: Spotty rains kickoff prolonged storm event


The anticipation of the storm is probably greater than what it will dump on us.
At least this week's weather isn't boring.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 24, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Y'all know what you can do with your ice cubes, your spoons, your inside-out jammies, and your snow dances.

Posted by: Gunga2009 | February 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

pjdunn, if you're out there today, I think you jinxed me yesterday!

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

11 pm School Cast :( ....come on CWG it's a school night we can't stay up that late!!

Posted by: artteach | February 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey Snow lovers, doesn't this latest forecast remind you of past winter seasons here in the DC Metro area?

This is why I take every single 12+ snow accumulation forecast with a huge smile on my face (and dance to boot)...Because I know reality will come back to visit us soon enough.

Posted by: Rcmorgan | February 24, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse


Good point ... just changed it to say that we may post a SchoolCast within this post earlier in the evening.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You say more snow likely east of DC. Im in Hyattsville MD, which is technically north east of DC, but im only like a mile or so out of DC. So can I expect heavier snow in Hyattsville than those 1 mile away in DC?

Posted by: KRUZ | February 24, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


I'm with you on this...isn't it a shame that the triple H's (Hazy, Hot, & Humid) of summer in DC don't come with the same regularity as 12+ snowfalls do?

Posted by: ftwash | February 24, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This is the kind of winter weather I've grown to expect and love in DC--potential early threat, then a bust. I am firmly in Think Spring's camp!

Posted by: LCFC | February 24, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I can't tell you how relieved I am that we are not going to get dumped on. It's time for spring. Looks like temps will be in 40s and maybe even 50s not long after this storm passes, so hopefully the rest of the snow on the ground will quickly be history...

Posted by: steske | February 24, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's Call This Storm:

"Last Chance" - like the song, Last Dance by Donna Summer.

Last Chance, Last Chance for Snoowww. Oh give me just one more chance, snowmance tonight! Ohhh-ooooo I need more snow, Fenty say NO!!! Potholes swallow up my car tonight babe! Coastal Low, El Bombo two step dance tang-O....SPGASS just now more chance to uuuusssssee your snow-shoes. So give me one last chance - little low explode and stall for me toniiiiiii---iiiiiiiigggggghhhhtttt!!!!!


Posted by: stinkerflat1 | February 24, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad the predicted accumulations seem to be dwindling. I'm already tired of having to use the Twinbrook station for the last two weeks because WMATA hasn't deigned to excavate the rest of the Rockville parking lot. Plus the Red Line's already had evening delays both nights this week.

Of course, with the DC area's luck I predict the 50mph wind gusts will blow a train on its side, shutting down the Red Line for the rest of the week.

Wait a minute...I'm in the wrong blog, I should be posting this in Get There! ;-)

Posted by: electromd1 | February 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

NWS just issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Fredericksburg/Stafford area for 1-3 inches of snow.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | February 24, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

This is some seriously weak sauce. Yuck.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I still find it hard to believe with a storm this massive already on radar and not even phased together yet and DC is only going to get 1 or 2 inches of snow. What am I missing here CWG?

Posted by: ajmupitt | February 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Blahhhhhhh.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse


Let me put it this way: if DC gets 1.5 inches, then you can expect 1.6., maybe even 1.7". I don't know what age you are but if you're school age, please do your homework.

Don, Capital Weather Gang

Posted by: Weatherguy | February 24, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

From which direction can we expect these winds on Thursday?

Posted by: hawknt | February 24, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

hawknt - west & northwest winds it looks like now. very strong.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The real question is, should I park my car near trees or try and stay away from them?

Posted by: aaf314 | February 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

thank you

Posted by: hawknt | February 24, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's get at least 2.0", same as U.S. over Switzerland. Love Switzerland, their chocolates, yogurt, opera, etc. But glad the U.S. team made it to the medal round.

BTW Bob Ryan is saying 70% for a dusting-2".

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 24, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

well, my optimist glasses still see a 20% chance of over 4" (and a new one-month record).

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 24, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

stinkerflat1 - That is one of the best comments I've seen on CWG this winter.

aaf314 - Branches that were weakened or damaged from earlier storms this month could break in the high winds tomorrow. I'd try to park further away from trees, if possible.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Except for those of us who hate Donna Summer.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | February 24, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

My comment: this storm looks a lot like Snoverkill, except probably 100 miles further north when the bomb really goes off.

If you recall, Richmond, VA was somewhat surprised by a quick burst of intense snow that accumumlated to a few inches. It was like a piece of energy associated with the low that was lingering south of the low.

As such, I think the same will happen now, and we will get more snow than expected... closer to 3-6" in the metro area.

Confidence: low :-)

Posted by: markinva2 | February 24, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 24, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This just in: Bob Ryan will be retiring from NBC4 after 31 years. His last day will be this weekend. Thanks for your dedication to DC's weather, Bob!

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The writer of that piece about Bob Ryan missed out on the following comparision: And even though there has been a lull over the last few days in the recent record breaking snow DC has had we might hear back from Bob Ryan in the next couple of months just like old man winter is making his return with snow this evening.

Posted by: walterc_10940 | February 24, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Love the song, stinkerflat1!

Peace out, Bob Ryan. :)

Posted by: Rcmorgan | February 24, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

And I hear ya, ftwash. Hazy, Hot and Humid, oh how I long for thee...

Posted by: Rcmorgan | February 24, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Bye, bye WRC. You're about to lose a very loyal viewer. I haven't seen a station make so many bone-headed mistakes since Maureen Bunyan left Channel 9. But Maureen and Gordon are at Channel 7 and that's where I'm heading as a viewer after this week.

WRC is replacing some truly remarkable talent with mostly blow-dried reporters who have as much charisma as a pile of slush.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 24, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

To me Bob Ryan has always been the weatherman on WRC, just like Jim Vance has always been the anchorman. Bob Ryan came to my high school to speak to us kids in 1983. 27 years later he looks exactly the same and I now look older than him. He's either a sorcerer or has good genes.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 24, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I know Bob Ryan has occasionally trolled around here sometimes. If you're reading through these comments with what I imagine is the super abundance of time you have right now trying to forecast this storm, best of luck. Hope to see you on channel 7 soon. OR! Better yet... join the Capital Weather team!

also, CWG: how about a travelcast for tomorrow AM out of bwi?

Posted by: dotjeffdot | February 24, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow= dc is like in the anti-bullseye for this storm. :(

Posted by: samdman95 | February 24, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

What exactly does an apple and a half mean? Maybe a delay?

Posted by: aaf314 | February 24, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

NO WAY, are you serious!? Bob Ryan has always been my favorite D.C. Area Meteorologist (CWG included of course ;-), and I remember ever since I was a young kid how I always anticipated receiving his yearly almanac in my stocking at Christmas. I cannot believe this! I will truly miss the guy :-(

Best of luck Mr. Ryan, wherever your future endeavours may take you, and God speed!

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 24, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse


Busy day at work. Couldn't get online until now. Of all the people I would want to jinx (and that list is so small as to be non-existent) you would be last on that list! I called what I saw and used your guidance as a ruler. Your bullish and consistent forecasting are a breath of fresh air. The CWG team as a whole does fantastic work. I have been a loyal follower since before you came on board. But when I hear (read) you doing the drum roll, I listen. Your positive calls have been more spot on than not. Even this present scenario is not fully played out so you still have a chance of verifying. And even if it does not (likely) you are the first to admit, and post a correction, to the errors in the (your) forecast.

Thanks for all you do,

PS get it right next time! ;-)

Posted by: pjdunn1 | February 24, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

All I can say, in the words of my 6-year old, is ... OH TARTAR SAUCE!

Posted by: skbm1 | February 24, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Is the radar maybe indicating a slight Westward shift in the thing way to our South? It looks extremely close.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 24, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

*It looks like it'll be extremely close.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 24, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

There is so much uncertainty with this storm. First, it may come closer to the coast that expected on its way north; which would mean a bit more snow tomorrow. Then, it looks to head west/northwest into NY, then south/southeast over central and eastern PA, and then back up northwest into upstate NY. Bastardi's video depicts this well. I have a feeling that Thursday night into Friday may be worse than tomorrow...especially if it comes a bit further south than expected! Justin Berk has Carroll County in 4-8; but we're very close to even higher totals. He has the DC metro area in 3-6.

As for Bob Ryan...when we used to live further south we'd always refer to him as a snow hater. Even when the biggest storms were in the forecast, he wouldn't come around until the last minute.

Posted by: DLO1975 | February 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I got a name for this one:


Get it? Wind and minimal accumulation.....

Posted by: bgna | February 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@stinkerflat I liked your song and I have been inspired to write down something as well.

Melody: “Home, Home on the Range”

Oh give us some snow
We've three inches to go
3.2 is just what we need

We don't want the wind
Or our power out again
So please make it fluffy and light

We just want some snow
That has nowhere to go
to stay here for a day and a night

Send it this way
Straight down to DCA
Where they'll melt it and
Measure it right

We have records to break
Can't it be a mistake
Can't the low shift southwards tonight?

Posted by: celestun100 | February 24, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse


Wow! The worst part is, the new words from both tunes will play over and over for me all night, preventing even the slightest rest as the low...does whatever your singing persuades it to do.

Posted by: --sg | February 24, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bob Ryan, last night on the Channel 4 evening news, he reported that the latest air quality measurements indicated small amounts of - get this - pollen! Spring dances, YES; Winter dances, NO.

Posted by: MillPond2 | February 24, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

There's a shock; Bob Ryan talking about something related to Spring. I hope this storm ends up being called the "snowprise"; because the track is definitely uncertain!

Posted by: DLO1975 | February 24, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Great songs!! The talent is out tonight.

Posted by: dprats21 | February 24, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to see Bob Ryan go, but I would be happy to see Sue Palka on Channel 4.

Posted by: snowstalker | February 24, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

While disco is always good for snowdancing, I find hiphop is required when more wishcast strength is needed. I agree with dprats 21- the talent is out tonight. Any grand masters have some snow hop lyrics for me?

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 24, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Here's the scary part about this storm...Weather board posters et al are saying the closest analog to this storm is most likely the terrible Blizzard of March, 1888!!!

The take for Washington is not that scary. The Blizzard of '88 left little snow around here, most likely aoa 3 inches. But like the Blizzard of '88, this storm will feature mainly rain in New England, while areas between New York and Washington get huge snow accumulations. The high winds will make this a rather dangerous storm even if little snow falls here.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 24, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I've in-laws planning on driving down to Baltimore from Syracuse, NY tomorrow afternoon. Bad idea? They do live in Syracuse, so half a foot of snow doesn't phase them, but I'm concerned that the drive through PA tomorrow will be dangerous. I'd appreciate thoughts on what kind of weather they might expect (I think they plan on leaving early afternoon and it takes them 5.5 hours under normal conditions).


Posted by: cqjudge | February 24, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

@Celestun100, lol, I like your poem/song.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 24, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody explain what 1 1/2 apples is the equivalent too? Delays? And if so, where? North of the city or near ffx?

Posted by: aaf314 | February 24, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Any chance that the snow on Friday that is in the mountains is able to get over and reach us in DC?

Posted by: aaf314 | February 24, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Someone who is a traveler or who has an idea on what airlines do in strong winds (but with minimal/no precip) - what are the chances of delays/cancellations on Friday?

I have a team out here in San Diego, leaving anywhere from Thursday night to Friday afternoon and getting in anywhere from Friday, around 5 or 6 AM to Friday night around midnight. Are we likely to see any or all of these flights delayed or canceled due to the winds? Should we be prepared to rebook to Saturday?


Posted by: joshua-frank | February 24, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Strong winds? That's it? So much for the hype over the snow.

Posted by: eabgarnet | February 24, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

pjdunn1, it's a tricky one .. this yr at least. I did mention most seasons this would miss us. And the CWG forecast -- with many different voices -- was never too heavy given the look. I think I personally assumed the block would stick in a steady state to drive the upper levels south, and it looks not to be the case. The situation is still somewhat similar to our bigger events this yr with a stall or near stall involved. The fact that the storm is so heavily involved in a fetch right off the ocean should limit the extent of massive snowfall somewhat but I think someone up north still does pretty well and sees quite an interesting event. Bombo mentioned 1888.. I've seen that thrown around here and there too, we'll see about those thoughts. But, some places near NYC should go from heavy rain to big snow and a stripe should see near-historic or historic totals.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Apologies for the long post, CWG and others, but at 3:25 today, rocotton wrote "I have never understood why the West Virginia Mountains, west of the Shenandoah Valley are so much better at preventing the eastward movement of precipitation than the mountains in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. It certainly isn't because of elevation, because NC has them beat. But they keep the Shenandoah Valley one of the driest areas on the East Coast of North America."

It's so dry in parts of the South Branch Valley, just east of the Allegheny Front, that cactii grow (or used to grow) there... and during World War II the government planted hemp in some of the WV panhandle valleys. As recently as the 1970s, pot was being harvested from the ancestors of those hemp plants. (I think most of it was eventually eradicated.)

When I lived just west of the Alleghenies, in Morgantown, in the winter, especially, I could see clouds stacking up against Chestnut Ridge. I, too, have often wondered why so little moisture makes it over the WV/MD and extreme southern PA mountains, as opposed to most of Pennsylvania, where lake effect flurries/snow showers sometimes spill over as far east as Philadelphia.

The ridges that separate Washington from Lake Erie are higher than the ridges NW of Philadelphia. So there would seem to be a greater liklihood for upslope "combing" of snow as the moisture passes over the Alleghenies and whatever moisture isn't squeezed out is lost as the air rushes downslope and warms and dries out.

But even when clippers track across Pennsylvania (as most do), far western Maryland Preston County, WV get "clipper" snow.

And, all too often in the winter, we see vigorous snow activity in the Ohio Valley but the WV/MD ridges squeezes out this moisture.

Moving further north, the Adirondacks (and maybe the higher elevations in the Tug Hill Plateau) block a lot of Lake Ontario moisture from spilling into extreme NE New York state and Vermont, just as the Catskills may keep lake effect snow from reaching NYC. Of course the Cascades and Sierras block a lot of Pacific Ocean moisture. But those mountains are much higher than the Appalachians.

Anyway, I'd really like to read an article posted here, on in Weatherwise, by a meteorologist that discusses the impact the Appalachians have on weather systems moving from west to east, e.g., why is D.C. blocked out so frequently and Philly sometimes isn't, etc.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 24, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The storm/storms do not look like they are moving very fast.

Posted by: ntrlsol | February 24, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

ntrlsol - if anything, the atmospheric energy that is about to merge over the Northeast is widely invisible. Hard to track when looking at radar, but the pieces are coming together for a very windy storm!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 24, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

camden, you said,
"...but the pieces are coming together for a very windy storm!"

but still not a snowy storm for us?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 24, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse


If you click on the word "schoolcast" next to the apples, you'll see the key. 1.5 apples is somewhere between one and two apples. In this case I'm thinking maybe a chance for early dismissal? (maybe more for wind, than for snow, someone mentioned around here that schools have closed because the satellite classrooms don't withstand wind well) I would assume that chances of school impact are similar to the rest of the storm (ie less chance to the west) I'd also assume that, in general, DCPS has at least a half an apple less than everywhere else. :-P

Posted by: megamuphen | February 24, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, I totally believe it is going to play out as predicted especially the wind and you are, of course, right that the Doppler is not a good indicator in such matters. However is the storm behaving so far as the models have predicted? If the low tracks further west than east, what happens? Just curious. Thanks

Posted by: ntrlsol | February 24, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Man. What a lame night.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 24, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I think I spotted a few small flurries in eastern Warren County. 30.6F

Posted by: spgass1 | February 24, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Someone posted last storm about the terminology of flurries vs showers. To be correct, I think I should've said a few small flakes or maybe ice crystals...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 24, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

To see this stuff you need to look hard and use a flashlight... looks like dust.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 24, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

@JerryFloyd1, the same effect which you are talking about regarding the Blue Ridge, also contributes to either "popcorn" thunderstorm formations during our warmer months, or, if the storm systems are already formed before they meet the mountains, they are then often torn apart. I am definitely glad for the mountains, because if we didn't have them, we might be seeing more F4/F5 twisters around here.

As for the Philly vs. D.C. question, I would say that Philly's proximity to larger bodies of water is what creates the very effect which you are pondering. Also, consider that Philly is further East of the Appalachians than D.C. is, and combine that with its proximity to the Atlantic, and I believe therein you have a good recipe for stronger storm reformation by the time it reaches that part of PA.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 25, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I am definitely glad for the mountains, because if we didn't have them, we might be seeing more F4/F5 twisters around here.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 25, 2010 12:43 AM

Tell that to La Plata...our version of Tornado Alley

Posted by: amaranthpa | February 25, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@Amaranthpa, La Plata doesn't even know what the real Tornado Alley is like. Despite their unfortunate positioning (As well as subsequent history), the Great Plains are FAR worse, as is the Midwest in general. I've experienced Tornado Alley firsthand, and nowhere East of the Appalachians can compare.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 26, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

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