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Posted at 6:10 PM ET, 02/ 7/2010

Update: Significant snow likely Tues.-Wed.

By Dan Stillman

* Winter Storm Watch Tues.-Wed. for most of metro area (map) *
* Watch out for ice dams | E-mail this forecast to a friend *
* Measuring Snowmageddon's depth | NWS totals | CWG snow reports *
* Power outage maps for Dominion Electric | Pepco | BG&E *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

The snowy scene out there is stunning, but I know for a lot of people enough is enough. Like it or not, the reality is that the latest information this evening points to a moderate, if not major in some places, snowstorm Tuesday into Wednesday.

It's exciting news for snow fans who are no doubt giddy about the prospect of this winter becoming D.C.'s second snowiest on record (need only around 1 inch to surpass the current No. 2: 46.0" in 1995-96) or the snowiest on record (need about 9 inches to pass the current No. 1: 54.4" in 1898-99), but sobering for those still without power or still unable to get out of their neighborhood.

So, how much snow are we talking, and when?

The next storm: Precipitation, primarily snow as it looks now but maybe mixed with sleet at the start, is on track to arrive Tuesday afternoon or evening. Snow, or briefly a snow/sleet mix, may be on the light side at first before probably becoming moderate to heavy overnight into Wednesday.

At least 4 inches is looking like a decent bet, with 8 inches or more a possibility. Here are our accumulation probabilities, which are likely to change as the storm gets closer:

15%: Less than 2"
25%: 2-5"
35%: 5-8"
25%: 8"+

Before the storm: After a mostly clear and cold night tonight with lows in the mid-teens downtown, and low teens in the suburbs with some upper single digits in the coldest spots, temperatures struggle again tomorrow as they probably max out around 30-35. Cold again tomorrow night with lows mainly in the teens and clouds increasing overnight or toward morning. Under cloudy skies, Tuesday highs should make the low-to-mid 30s before precipitation arrives by afternoon or evening.

SchoolCast (Mon.) (D.C. schools, which earlier announced a 2-hour delay, now indicates they will close)
FedCast (Mon.) capitol-black.jpgcapitol-black.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-black.jpg

By Dan Stillman  | February 7, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Not again: Winter Storm Watch for Tues/Wed
Next: Questions linger for Tues/Wed snow potential


wasnt the snowiest winter 1898-1899 (not 1998-1999)?

Posted by: samdman95 | February 7, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope "Snowmageddon" wasn't the "A-bomb that will set off the H-bomb", as Arnold Federbush so eloquently put it in his book "Ice!". Did global warming just push us into an ice age?

Posted by: rickyrab | February 7, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh... my... God.

Posted by: teezee210 | February 7, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I like that 25%.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 7, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"Snowpocalypse Now: Time For A Donner Party" playing this Tuesday.

Posted by: wiredog | February 7, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrg. Please, no.

Posted by: ValleyCaps | February 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Mother nature won't be happy until DC finally beats that Knickerbocker storm record.

Posted by: ajfishman1 | February 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Technical question --

I gather there's not much chance of rain, but people were saying that would weigh down roofs and cause further stress.

Intuitively, that seems right. But if a given amount of water lands on a roof, doesn't it weigh the same, no matter what form it takes? Kind of like the old "Which weighs more, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?"

Posted by: Groff | February 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

If anything, the snow might weigh more, because less would flow off.

Posted by: Groff | February 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna be a your predictions.

Posted by: cooldavej | February 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

absolutely amazing, another possible big one. anyone have a link to the 18z gfs model run? what's changed about it?

Posted by: lll1424 | February 7, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

How can DC schools declare a two-hour delay when Metro hasnt said they would provide bus service yet? Dont many students commute by Metro bus? teachers as well? Im guessing attendance will be down.

Posted by: apeirond | February 7, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse


Yes ... typo was quickly changed. thx.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 7, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Hell Snononononow.

I am either going to be in the best shape in years from shoveling, or will end up in the hospital. LOL.


Can't you make it stop????


Kim in Manassas

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 7, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Funny someone mentioned Donner party. I was awake in the middle of the night and ended up watching a PBS special about what happened. It was really creepy how every single decision they made was wrong. I couldn't sleep afterward.

Posted by: barbnc | February 7, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

DCPS needs to rethink this decision. Metro is not fully operational, buses aren't running at all, and the federal government is closed. It is not reasonable to expect teachers to commute in tomorrow given the current conditions. No parent in his/her right mind would let a child walk to school tomorrow, and kids who depend on metrobus to get to school are totally out of luck.

Posted by: heatherdc1980 | February 7, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

imagine how bad this storm would be if it was Sunday night! who knows, maybe even DCPS would be closed!

Posted by: samdman95 | February 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@apeirond, the main reason DC schools are open when the rest are closed is because of the school meal program. Many kids on the south side would have little to no food without the meals they get at school. So while it might seem like DC is crazy to keep the schools open while everyone else is closed, they have their hearts in the right places.


Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

It's like we're reliving 1996. I wouldn't mind being 28 again, but I could do without the shoveling.

Posted by: ZF-MD | February 7, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

@Groff, I'm sure the CWG folks will give you a better answer than I will, but being from Seattle, where snow was often followed by rain, I believe it's because water is more dense than snow, and therefore heavier per square foot. A lot of Seattle roofs collapsed when people tried to melt the snow on their roofs by spraying them with garden hoses. Seriously dumb.

Posted by: paperball | February 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Prince William is barely in the Watch this a storm track that's likely to shift north as the previous ones have?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

What do we call this one, the Snowtorious M.E.D.I.U.M? Even for a snow sports lover like me, this is too much. And I could swear that I heard rumblings about more snow for next weekend.

Posted by: JefffromHuntington | February 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Took a walk around Old Town today- lots of people were out and about-

WalterinFallsChurch- were you in my neighborhood?

Here are some pictures I took of the aftermath, including what a typical side street looks like. (You'll see from the pictures why I asked Walter that!)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 7, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

about the meals...dc should open all the SE schools but keep the NW ones closed

Posted by: samdman95 | February 7, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

IF any DCPS students can get to school, there will not be enough teachers there to instruct them. Most teachers cannot commute in from the suburbs and the metro is still not open! It will be a non-learning day, so why even risk the students' safety? Everyone call the 311 number and tell Fenty to reconsider his decision to have DCPS open.

Posted by: JG55 | February 7, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I see Prince William County government is closed Monday. Can't remember the last time that happened.
There's very little more we can do with our puny shovels. The cars are loose but the road impassable to anything but 4X4s. Many thanks to Sully Station II neighbors who all helped with the parking lot disaster area.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 7, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I skied through Old Town today, and lost track of the streets! It looks a lot different on skis.

Posted by: JefffromHuntington | February 7, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

It is shocking that DC school students are expected to get to school on a day when the Federal government closes. The streets near our DC school are not passable at all and most sidewalks are not clear. Kids will be walking in the street with cars that are slipping and sliding on barely plowed streets. A recipe for disaster. Michelle Rhee needs to be realistic instead of trying to always talk tough. DC has not used a single snow day this year, and they should have one to spare for the storm of the century.

Posted by: dcmom | February 7, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The roof, the roof, the roof... I'm hearing the strangest noises now in my walls/roof and we've taken to sleeping on the ground floor. Sometimes I draw the laundry room.

My region has been bulls-eyed for every precip event so far, beginning with the rain event a few weeks back. The maps show it happening again mid-week. We're actually rather terrified.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 7, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

@Groff I asked an acquaintance who lives in NH the same question. He said that the existing snow acts as a "sponge" by trapping the water, and strongly recommended to me to purchase a roof rake if there was a chance for moisture. I took his advice, and I'm hoping Fedex can make it through the cul-de-sac tomorrow with my 21' roof rake.

Posted by: joemktg1 | February 7, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

@ tinkerbelle

I hear you; I have heard weird rumblings from my roof that don't seem to be ice falling. I just hope that nothing has happenend to the structure. At this point, more wx is not what I'm in the mood for....

Posted by: krosseel | February 7, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

According to the Washington Post website "Moderate snow storm likely to bring 5 inches Tuesday night" Interesting use of the modifier "Moderate". Any other year, it would be something more dramatic.

Posted by: djm-01 | February 7, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse


You can find the four most recent model runs of the NAM and GFS here:

Posted by: Steve-wxtalkwordpresscom | February 7, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I might jump off my roof at this point.

Not that I put too much stock in what they say, but Accuweather explicitly mentioned less of an impact for NoVa, but that Baltimore and north could get it much worse.

Posted by: TGT11 | February 7, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse


Not sure what aspect of the 18z run you want, but here is a link
to the total qpf (liquid precipitation) for the 36 hour period starting 7AM Tuesday 'till 7PM Wednesday. Allow for a general rain to snow ratio of 10:1. Look at the color bands over the DC area and then correlate that with the bar on the left of the screen.
The change is basically a trend to move the storm south and phase (redevelop) off the Carolina coast, then strengthen as it moves up the eastern seaboard.
The DC metro and south/eastern suburbs have a "too close to call" chance of mixing with sleet. This would keep accumulations down, but AS OF RIGHT NOW the picture seems to keep most of the DC area in snow.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | February 7, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

@Snowlover2: I saw the snow cat too! There was a snow dog down by the waterfront. Hilarious. I was also wondering if Walter had been around.

@The Gang: Any idea as to when this event kicks off Tuesday? Fiance's flight to DCA was canceled today. Now he's set to fly to Detriot early Tuesday and then from Detroit to DCA at noon Tuesday. The NWS Watch only says "afternoon" so I just wanted to see if we had a better idea as to the kick off so I know whether or not I should get my hopes up on him making it back before next weekend... :o)

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

Interesting fact about the Donner party. They followed a route suggested by Lansford Hastings who wrote "The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California" to induce Americans to move to California, hoping they could affect a bloodless revolution after which he would become the head of the Republic of California. Hastings was quite the self-promoter, as he had not travelled this route. In many ways, somewhat like many of today's weather forecasters when they hype the weather to bring attention to themselves.

Thanks, CWG, for giving us the facts and unbiased opinions.

Posted by: djm-01 | February 7, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Re: DCPS. For those of you who continue to slam Fenty/Rhee, think about the tens of thousands of students who attend DC public schools and depend on that free lunch (more than 10k kids even receive breakfast at school in DC). They will be cheering this decision. The decision to open/close schools has far-reaching consequences for many DC families in need.

This coming from someone who probably won't support Fenty this eleciton...but just compelled to point this out.

Posted by: jackwatson1968 | February 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

pjdunn - thanks for posting that. If taken literally, it puts DC and the immediate suburbs in the 18-20 inch range, and that's with a conservative 10:1 ratio!

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

40" for Colesville for Feb 5-6 storm mentioned on Channel 7 local news this p.m. and that is showing up on the internet, e.g.,

Wonder if this figure was verified?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 7, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I love snow. But I'll be in jeopardy of serious financial difficulty if I can't run my business at least 3 days a week. Still, when a WSW goes up for the District, the kid in me just can't help but get excited. Even though I have yet to make a dime in the month of February.

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

I admire DC for trying to feed the needy, but they should find another way to do it without putting all the kids at risk by traveling to school in downright dangerous conditions.

Posted by: dcmom | February 7, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

My little place in the universe (Centreville) looks like a bomb went off. As with most townhouse developments I suspect, we just kept hoping we wouldn't run out of places to put all the snow.

And, looks like I'll get a day off from work tomorrow to do more shoveling, and to make way for possibly a few more flakes on Tues/Weds.

As for the regular exercise routine, as long as I'm lifting a snow shovel for 2-3 hours a day, that's going to have to count as a full body workout. I was told that 1/2 hour of stead shoveling burns off 230 calories. I'll take those #s.

This amount of snow certainly has an insulating quality to it. Glad I got the new windows and doors put in last year, though.

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

Hubby and I were very lucky here in Falls Church. I was surveying the 5X5X8 chunk at the driveway apron when, to my delight, 5 gentleman entrepreneurs came by looking to make some money. Apron done, walk done and I had coffee and cake for them when they were done. Everyone was happy and this gave me a chance to work on my car igloo in the back...oooo,ooo I see my car!

Posted by: tbva | February 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I would be surprised if schools closed the whole week. I know we have a "weak" school system, which closes for anything, but when the Government opens, schools should be as well. Just my two cents...I love my kids, but I'm one of those parents who are NOT happy when schools close. I want my kids in school learning something. It's weird to see parents happy when schools close...

Posted by: USNavy28x | February 7, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Will you please return the snow report to the old format? The colored circles were a lot better than the pushpin style; the data have become much harder to read

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

11th Annual NEWxSFC - Winter '09 / '10
Snow Storm #5 - Call for Forecasts

Mid-level system over NV and a second one north of WI progged to phase MON evening and deliver another heavy snow event for the mid-Atlantic TUE/WED. Current forecasts suggest SNE may be side-swipped by the storm.

Deadline: 10:30 PM EST MON...08-FEB-10

Forecast element: storm-total snowfall
Verification begins: 12:01 AM EST TUE...09-FEB-10
Verification ends: 11:59 PM EST WED...10-FEB-10

Enter your forecast at the Contest web site @

Follow the link from 'Enter Storm Forecast.'

As always...there/s no cost...or fee...or annoying requests for personal information to enter. Just a fun exercise to see who can make the best synoptic-scale snowfall forecast.

If you are issuing your first forecast this year...or you entered the 'season-total' forecast need to create an account (user name / password / valid e-mail...if you want a copy of your forecast sent to your Inbox).

Posted by: toweringqs | February 7, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree that DCPS does a wonderful thing by providing meals to many students who may not otherwise get one. But this should not be the only factor when considering if schools should open: the safety of students and teachers is being compromised tomorrow. Teachers are not babysitters. Schools are not soup kitchens. There should be a way to open the schools for meals only and any students that need one can make their way in to eat.

Posted by: JG55 | February 7, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Tired and cranky 911 dispatcher checking in...from home!!! (doing the happy dance) Left home Friday morning at 0545, got stuck at work over the weekend and stayed in a nearby hotel, and managed to make it home tonight to start my days off. It appears that the power stayed on at my place, and the cat is doing fine :-)

@ --sg, if/when you read this: thanks so much for your kind words and thoughts a thread or two ago -- means a lot! :-)

Posted by: natsncats | February 7, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"Still think forecasting "conservatively 2 feet" (if that's what that site really said) is overdoing it. Having said that, if BWI records 24" or more of snow, we'll give them props. Getting this event right won't change the fact they've overdone some snow forecasts in the past. It does look like FootsForecast has expanded its team and is doing some cool stuff..."- Unless you have already done so, I think you owe somebody some props.

Posted by: SkinsFan132 | February 7, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

We were without power for about 26 hours. Let me tell you what, that was a miserable night. But the power is back on, we've got it up to a balmy 60 degrees in here, and I'm feeling more bullish.

However -- MORE? Please, I'm ready to be rid of my children for a few hours. Just a FEW hours. It doesn't seem right to lock them out. . . . .school would be good. Plus, we've reached the point where we're going to end up adding on to the school year, and no one (well, perhaps me) wants that.

Posted by: BadMommy1 | February 7, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

DCPS has a long history of always opening despite any weather conditions. My sister and I had to trudge to high school on January 13, 1982 so the kids getting the free breakfast and lunch would have two meals that day. That was the day the Air Florida plane crashed into the 14th St. Bridge and school was dismissed as soon as lunch was over. It took us over an hour and a half to get home, driving, to go the two mile trip that normally took less than ten minutes.

This is an issue that will never go away but there's got to be a better way for kids in Anacostia to get a meal than to have to go to Woodrow Wilson in Tenleytown when there's almost two feet of snow on the ground. Maybe it's time we figure it out.

Posted by: elizestrada | February 7, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

40 inches in Colesville? I don't know. Cloverly is basically two miles north of Colesville. I had 32" up here, or thereabouts. I guess a heavier band could have set up just south of us, but I'm pretty skeptical it would be that dramatic a difference. I thought Elkridge was the champ in this part of Maryland for accumulation, at about 38 inches.
Whatever the case, anything over 30 inches is a heck of a lot of work to shovel.

Posted by: MDDem2 | February 7, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Some pics from the 5-6 Feb Snowpocalypse, taken in Kensington, MD about 2 miles from the DC line as the crow flies:

My car is under there somewhere, and now, it isn't normally 7.5 feet tall.

Feeding the squirrels out on the back deck--they aren't going to find much foot under 25 inches of snow. the feeder appears to be levitating:

Posted by: h0db | February 7, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I love that 15%.

Posted by: Murre | February 7, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea if MARC trains will be running tomorrow?

Posted by: thecleve29 | February 7, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

That 38" in Elkridge was from the morning too. I think it was measured in a drift. I live right next to there in Columbia and I had 31". I was careful to measure multiple places later on to account for that.

I had a good liquid count going on too, but overnight when we picked up a foot, my rain collector was snowed over and the snow stopped falling in. I freed it up twice on Saturday and was only able to count 2.04". Area records had much more.

Sometimes even trying to be scientific, errors occur.

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | February 7, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

From the Marc site

On Monday, February 8, 2010, MARC will operate an "S" schedule on the Penn Line only. There will be no service on the Camden or Brunswick Lines. Please exercise extreme caution when arriving at your station, parking your car, walking to and boarding your train. A decision about service for Tuesday, February 9 will be made Monday afternoon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon4 | February 7, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

This is getting serious. A major snowfall on top of the 2-3 ft we got would be simply devastating.

I'll be saying a prayer tonight.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 7, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

MARC: "S" schedule on the Penn Line only. There will be no service on the Camden or Brunswick Lines.

Posted by: RightField | February 7, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

@thecleve29 - penn line running their "S" schedule; no service on camden or brunswick. is where you should check to get updates (and you can also get the schedule which will show you what the "s" trains are).

Posted by: natsfan76 | February 7, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me why people in DC stick their windshield wipers out straight when they park their cars in advance of snow? I grew up in Wisconsin, where we get a lot of snow, and no one does this. When you're scraping/sweeping off your car to drive somewhere (as opposed to the preemptive dig out for heavy snow) you turn on the defrost full blast. You do clean the rest of the car first, and the windshield is clear by the time you're don with the windshield wipers are the first thing to thaw. So there would be no reason to fear windshield wipers freezing to the car, if that's why folks do that weird "wipers up" thing.

Posted by: kackidee | February 7, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, and metro to run underground ONLY at 30 min intervals on Monday....they must be in really bad shape. Not a good sign for Tuesday.

Posted by: ironmanjt | February 7, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, all - MARC updated their website between the time I posted my question and y'all answered it!

Posted by: thecleve29 | February 7, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Attention CWG -

DCPS will be CLOSED tomorrow.

Posted by: heatherdc1980 | February 7, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse


It's because people here are so used to ice storms. When freezing rain is forecast, it makes sense to pull the wipers out so that they don't get "glued" to the windshield by the glaze of ice. Previous winters have consisted of a crapload of freezing rain and little snow, so I think people just revert to pulling the wipers out whenever they hear the threat of snow.

It makes no sense to do this in the snow but complete sense to do this in freezing rain.

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 7, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The reason why we pull the windshield wipers away from the windshield is that a lot of the wintry weather here occurs around freezing. The wipers not only freeze to the windshield but get encased in ice due to melting and refreezing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon4 | February 7, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Will the person who is wishing for a white Valentine's Day please stop it already.

Posted by: Trescml | February 7, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Yet they haven't closed the DC government. Are car-less employees out in the suburbs expected to walk to work?

Posted by: Tess89 | February 7, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Checked for very long term. Weekend is partly cloudy and near 40. But Tuesday is the focus now.

Posted by: JefffromHuntington | February 7, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

CWG - any update on fixing the snow report total map?? Still not working for me.. Thanks!

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 7, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm rooting for the Saints and also the 15%. Only need 5/16ths more to get to 6 feet for the season.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 7, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@ThinkSpring I'll be saying a prayer tonight.

So will I, but our prayers will probably diverge.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 7, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse


The snow map is working (in my browsers, at least), although we're still trying to figure out the best way to display all of the data. Admittedly, it's a little cluttered.


Props to for a great projection for Baltimore's snowfall several days prior to the storm. It was a good call.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 7, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked DC is opening for school. Has it ever happened before that the Fed is closed, but DCPS is open?

Posted by: allisondt | February 7, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"For those of you who continue to slam Fenty/Rhee, think about the tens of thousands of students who attend DC public schools and depend on that free lunch (more than 10k kids even receive breakfast at school in DC). They will be cheering this decision."

Oh, please! You can give a kid a decent lunch--peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread, a glass of milk, and some dried fruit, for

Posted by: concerneddemocrat | February 7, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse


I dont know the details, but it seems DCPS has changed their mind, maybe based on the very limited bus service scheduled by Metro tomorrow. DCPS is closed Monday:

Posted by: apeirond | February 7, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Anyone planning on using a roofrake please be careful. Lots of accidents happen when folks touch powerlines while reaching up to their roofs.

Don't for get to shovel around your fire hydrants!

Posted by: babloom | February 7, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@allisondt and others

DCPS has FINALLY seen the light and decided to close school tomorrow.

Posted by: ArlingtonSnowGal | February 7, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

All DC Public Schools will be closed tomorrow. See DCPS website.

Posted by: frenchieingeorgetown | February 7, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"Here's our accumulation probabilities, which are likely to change as the storm gets closer:
15%: Less than 2"
25%: 2-5"
35%: 5-8"
25%: 8"+"

* * * *

First of all, are you suggesting odds for a snowfall pool?

Second: Here ARE, not here is......

Posted by: fentysupporter | February 7, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

heatherdc1980 and others - Thanks for the DCPS info. The post is now updated.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | February 7, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"Props to for a great projection for Baltimore's snowfall several days prior to the storm. It was a good call."

That takes a lot of class Jason - well done.

Posted by: Vingold | February 7, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The most recent model runs are being talked about as moving the next storm south. And a costal forming off Hatteras. Does that raise or lower our precip?

Didn't something like this happen in 96 after the big one that year, and people freaked out, only to just get a few inches?

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | February 7, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CWG.. but for some odd reason, I'm seeing the map, but not the totals (using Explorer 8).

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 7, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I know that I am ahead of myself, but earlier it was mentioned that there might be a storm next weekend. Has that now been taken off the table? It would really be nice to be able to make weekend plans come true for once....

Posted by: sgc4 | February 7, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse


Oh next weekend? Too warm...

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 7, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Models not trending well for those of us hoping to return to close to normalcy by the end of the week.

This winter has shown every storm to trend towards putting us in the bullseye it seems.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 7, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

9:50p Update: Saints win. In the Blue Ridge Mtns in eastern Warren Co temp is 14.9F and falling.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 7, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

A suggested snowmenclature from has been "Snowverkill".

Posted by: ChadwickWDC | February 7, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Am I reading the 0z NAM correctly.... looks like .75 - 1" liquid by Wed morning?

Posted by: DaveB2 | February 7, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

actually the nam is right at .5
around 5 inches of snow

Posted by: cjespn | February 7, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse


that map looks like 0.5 for dc. the "blue" is 0.5 - 0.75 which dc is on the fringe of. these aren't typically great setups for us, but better for b'more, and more so for philly and bmore. i'm not a met, though, but this looks like more like a 3-6" event for dc metro, if things work out.

Posted by: swishjobs | February 7, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

...meant to say "more so for philly and nyc"...

Posted by: swishjobs | February 7, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

djm-01: The use of the term "moderate" refers to a snowfall of about 4-8 inches, although sometimes "moderate" cuts off at 6 inches. "Major" typically refers to 8 inches plus. I don't think that in a different season we'd be using the term "major" to describe a 4-8 inch event.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | February 7, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Snow? What Dat??

The Saints Are Marching In
Let Mardi Gras begin!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 7, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

that 40" colesville total is hokey. people are such bs'ers when it comes to measuring snow. i live in bethesda and there was about 20" tops here. sure, some bands will produce more, but i definitely think some of those totals are bs, maybe they measured in drifts. i also prefer to measure after the storm is over instead of in the middle which i think is the "official" way. the end of the storm is what you shovel anyway, but that's just my 2 cents. so yeah, i really doubt colesville got 40". in fact, i will confidently say they didn't.

Posted by: swishjobs | February 7, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

NAM calling for 5 inches, GFS calling for 15. Considering how this winter has gone, I'm inclined to believe it will be on the higher end.

Posted by: JTF- | February 7, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Still not satisfied that rain weighs a roof down more than snow.

Snow might soak up rain like a sponge, but it doesn't matter if water is in a sponge or on a sponge -- it weighs the same either way.

It must be that snow is more likely to blow off a roof onto the ground. If there isn't any wind, there won't be any difference.

Posted by: Groff | February 7, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"NAM calling for 5 inches, GFS calling for 15. Considering how this winter has gone, I'm inclined to believe it will be on the higher end."

Isn't the NAM just through Weds morning though? (60 hrs) Could be add'l precip on Wednesday.

Posted by: jaydreb1 | February 7, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@Groff - I'm no expert by any means, but I believe the problem may be that the snow already on the roof clogs any drainage... and without it, the liquid water will still pool within the snow. That would seem to me to cause very heavy spots, at least on a flat roof.

Posted by: salf | February 7, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

the 15 inches gfs is from the 18z run and the 5 inches from nam are from the 0z run
gfs oz run in 10 minutes
nams 5 inches does include the entire storm

Posted by: cjespn | February 7, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@salf - Could be. But I'm thinking it's primarily a perceptual thing.

Ounce for ounce of liquid, a given rainfall will seem "minor" -- while if it took the form of snow, it would be perceived as "major."

So what people are really saying is that that, given two events -- one rain, one snow -- of the same subjective intensity, the rain event will have surprisingly more impact than the snow event.

It's "surprising" because, among other things, rain is not normally perceived as dangerous to a roof, and because people think rain "melts" snow.

But it's not about weight.

Posted by: Groff | February 7, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm moving back to CA

Posted by: allisondt | February 7, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

CWG folks: can you recommend a good book for a lay person about weather forecasting? (if one of you has written one, I am giving you an opportunity for a plug). Thanks for conveying the complexities of forecasting, but making it understandable

Posted by: hrs123 | February 7, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

New update soon?

Posted by: bitner | February 7, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse


I second your request for a recommendation on forecasting. It would be great to know more about what all the acronyms stand for, and more.

Posted by: krosseel | February 7, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

To prepare for this next storm, I'm hoarding gold, women and sheep.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 7, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I've already cornered the sheep market. Too late.

Posted by: bitner | February 7, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

But I may be willing to trade for women.

Posted by: bitner | February 7, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I was perusing the 2/8 00z NAM and GFS runs and it looks like lesser precip ammts for the far western suburbs during the next event... or could colder temps/higher ratios mean just as much snow out there?

13.8F in the Blue Ridge Mtns

Posted by: spgass1 | February 7, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sheep, have we heard from Sheepherder at all?

Posted by: kathyb39 | February 7, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Disconnect between the NAM and GFS continues:
0z NAM: 5-7.5"
0z GFS: 7.5-10", but very close to a lot more.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 7, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Third blow - #snowtko.

Posted by: MosesCleaveland | February 7, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

@swishjob, the Colesville number sounded suspect; guess it makes for good TV.

@groff, lift a shovelful of snow. then sprinkle a couple of cups of water on the snow-filled shovel. the snow will be there, but it will have absorbed the water and weigh more. that's what happens to roofs that have a lot of snow on them and then it rains. eventually the rain will start melting the snow, but first the snow will absorb the liquid and that's when the roofs are at the greatest danger of caving in.

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


We're done for the night. Next update at 5 a.m. We gotta get some sleep. 'Twas a long weekend and promises to be a busy start to week.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 7, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

OK, Mother Nature. We get it. Can you stop now?

Posted by: presto668 | February 7, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Jason

Congrats and good night!

Posted by: krosseel | February 7, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the marching army of snowmen going to war while you sleep, Jason!


Looking at GFS and NAM, the one thing I don't like about this upcoming storm is the ice storm chance.

Take a look at the HPC freezing rain chances in the 3 day period:

(make sure to scroll forward and back a few frames too)

Posted by: RandC | February 7, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse


That does look disturbing... especially since I live in one of those houses with a slightly-pitched roof.

Posted by: krosseel | February 7, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

If anyone has resources on whether and when you should be concerned about a roof, I would love to see it. Most resources talk about flat roofs, but not pitched roofs.

Yeah, this is fun. Not dangerous at all.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 7, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse


Yep, I'd much rather have a snowstorm than an icestorm. The likelihood is for this to be principally snow with some sleet mixing in, but there is a chance (about 10-20%) of an icestorm. I do not want that.

Snow you can shovel and plow. Ice you just spin on.

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

for those wondering about that TOTALLY AWESOME CAT that someone around falls church made - that was NOT me. very very nice cat.... it's so fun playing in the snow...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 7, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse


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

Boy is Metro ever having issues getting back to schedule after this storm...!

Let me suggest the following future options for 8 inches or more...



And for the Olympic-minded...



El Bombo

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 7, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from Chinatown area in DC, and it is truly an incredible sight to see the amount of snow that hit these major downtown intersections.

The streets in hugely busy areas like Chinatown are practically all packed snow a few inches thick. When that freezes over, it'll be an interesting process to attempt to plow.

Sheesh, and another 5 inches Tues/Wed?

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 7, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned the fact that snow acts as a sponge for moisture that would normally run-off of a roof line. The other concern is that snow can block drain pipes and downspouts causing rain water to back-up and increase the load on a roof.

Not to mention snow + rain can lead to flood type events as drainage is stopped or slowed by snow and ice while rain accelerates the melting. Basically heavy rain on-top of heavy snow is kind of a nightmare scenario.

So, let us not root for that.

Posted by: gconrads | February 8, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse


Nice pictures! I work at PTO and walk for exercise around Old Town in the mornings - recognized a lot of places on King Street and shots from the African American Heritage Park. Interesting to see the "gazebo" and the one bridge in the snow...!

Posted by: MKoehl | February 8, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your observations folks! Yes another batch of wintry weather is on the way. For better or worse.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 8, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the explanation...

Posted by: djm-01 | February 8, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

The storm has had a dramatic impact on the area's topography. The Potomac River no longer divides DC and Virginia. Zoom in on the CWG snowfall map, which reveals that the Occoquan River now separates Virginia from the District and Prince George's County. It appears that the Potomac River no longer flows south of Montgomery County.

Posted by: jkd312 | February 8, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey CWG, what's up with the snowfall measurement reporting feature which you currently have linked on the front page? I can't get it to work, and not only is it not displaying totals for me, but I also cannot submit my own measurements. I don't mind waiting if need be to submit my findings, but I'd appreciate the opportunity to do so, thanks ;-)

As for another Winter blast, I'm hoping for it lol. However, if you want to place our most recent snowfall into a dramatic context, I have to admit that even my HUSKY is hesitant of the 3-4 Ft. deep sections currently surrounding us on my street. The other night she pulled me at full bore straight through the 2 Ft. deep fresh powder as she Kangaroo hopped like a true snowbunny, but she panicked some when she accidentally plunged into a drift which was an entire Foot or two over her head. She has never been in snow that deep before, and I am certain that the sinking feeling, as well as the subsequent struggle to "swim" with her head up was somewhat disconcerting. She followed me though as I broke trail with my snowshoes, and the wild thing is, I didn't even learn until later from some experienced mushers, but sled dogs normally can't break trail when it's 3-4 Ft. deep, or deeper. At those levels, the drivers need to either pack the trails with snowmachines, or do it themselves with their snowshoes on. Funny that my dog had the instinct to naturally follow me in my snowshoes at that point.

I did get her to hop into a 3 Ft.+ deep section as I stood near it last night, but only because I encouraged her to do it (She does whatever I ask, she's beyond a great dog). She made it in, but then she turned right around and tried to head back out, so I picked her up and carried her to the walkway. She could've made it out on her own, but I didn't want her to lose the trust that I would help her out if need be (Besides, she had already pulled me out of a drift which I fell into earlier in the night lol). Tonight, after the snow hardened some, she was finally able to walk on top of portions of the deeper sections, whereas in the still powdery drifts she just held her front paws out and rested her chin on the surface, while keeping her back legs on the packed trail. She's a brave little pup whichever way you look at it :-D (Not even the huskies up the street will run through this snow, they stick to the streets).

Btw, did anyone in Reston see the sky light up last night from the transformer blowing? I could hear the freaking thing arcing periodically throughout the day, but at night I finally saw the whole black sky turn green and blue for a few seconds. I think it was the sub-station on Lake Newport Rd., which isn't extremely close, but it's the only above ground transformer laden spot in the entire community.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | February 8, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse


Snow is not very compact compared to ice or water; there's a lot of empty space in there because it is basically a big pile of crystals that don't fit together very well. So if you spray water on the snow pack or it rains, and the temperature is near freezing or less, the water is trapped inside the snow because it freezes very quickly. The empty space is then filled in making the snow denser, hence higher mass & increased weight within the same or even slightly less volume. Try shoveling a 1x1x1 block of ice versus the same sized block of snow and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: icemachine79 | February 8, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

CWG-agree...would love to know of a good book with basic information about weather. Just not getting the models and some of the lingo!
I doubt anyone would disagree...this can be a dangerous situation but I see it as a great opportunity to use it as an incredible teaching situation. From science to safety to human interaction and compassion. There is a huge difference between ice and snow storm. Most know this amt of snow can impede normal daily lives but that's a given...try to find something to gain out of it. Knowledge is an incredible power. Sure this can suck, sure there are hardships but again a given in this situation...seems most on here kinda move on from that and try to find something positive or enjoyable about it. We are in Old Town-flat roof-talked about "camping in the livingroom" to our son (over concerns of potential hazard). Even did a model with Popsicle sticks and test to see how much snow it could hold (I'm not an engineer so not a lot!). I guess just be aware of the potential hazards but make the best of it otherwise you miss out on so many amazing experiences.
Can't wait to see what is wrong with spring and summer.

Posted by: motherrunner | February 8, 2010 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for typos-it's early. Space shuttle launch just after 4a. Sweet!

Posted by: motherrunner | February 8, 2010 4:31 AM | Report abuse

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