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Posted at 11:15 PM ET, 02/ 4/2010

Update: Some FAQs for Snowmageddon Eve

By Dan Stillman

Potentially historic snowstorm still on track

* Winter Storm Warning Friday morning through Saturday evening *
* Bob Ryan to WJLA to team up with Doug Hill? *
* Will the storm make history? | Q&A transcript | Winter driving tips *
* Follow storm on twitter: #Snowpocalypse | E-mail forecast to a friend *
* News, traffic & storm coverage: Local home page | Get There *

A few tweaks to our accumulation forecast for areas to the south, and just a slight change to our estimated start time for the metro area (between 8 a.m. and noon tomorrow, instead of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.). Other than that, all is on track for a storm that could make a run at history. Check out the CWG team's accumulation map and timeline below, and below that answers to a few questions you might have. Then, get some sleep, and stay with us tomorrow and through the weekend for the latest storm information...

ACCUMULATION MAP AND TIMELINE

8 AM to 12 PM FRIDAY
Snow develops SW to NE. Possible mix with rain/sleet. Temps 33-37.
12 PM to 7 PM FRIDAY
Snow, becoming heavy late. Some mix S&E. Temps 30-34.
7 PM to 1 AM SATURDAY
Snow, possibly heavy. Some mix S&E. Temps 28-32.
1 AM to 7 AM SATURDAY
Snow, becoming breezy. Temps 26-30.
7 AM to 1 PM SATURDAY
Snow, decreasing some in coverage/intensity. Breezy. Temps 27-31.
1 PM to 7 PM SATURDAY
Snow tapering to flurries. Breezy. Temps 27-31.

Forecast Confidence: High

STORM FAQs

Is this really happening again? Incredibly, yes. What are the odds of two double-digit snows in the same season? Funny you should ask. We have an answer here.

When will it start? Start time is often tricky for snowstorms, because it's hard to judge how slowly or quickly the lower atmosphere will become moist enough to allow falling snow to start reaching the ground, rather than evaporating into air that is too dry. Based on the latest data, our best estimate is that snow will develop across the metro area from southwest to northeast between 9 a.m. and noon. Snow may be mixed with some sleet or rain at the onset.

See our earlier post (which is still valid) for impact forecasts and the detailed forecast into next week.

When will travel get really bad? We're thinking that snow will be primarily light to moderate through the afternoon, with accumulations on the order of a few inches, as opposed to the moderate to heavy snow that's likely tomorrow evening and overnight. So with temperatures expected to be near or even a little above freezing for much of the day, roads may not be too bad until we get into the late afternoon and early evening. Still, you'll want to drive with caution and be especially careful on surfaces that tend to ice over the fastest -- bridges, ramps and overapasses.

Are power outages a concern? Yes. While this snow may not be as wet as the very wet snow we saw Tuesday night, it may well be wetter than the snow that fell during the December storm. The heavier snow combined with winds gusting in the 30-40 mph range tomorrow night and Saturday could bring down trees and power lines.

When's your next update? We'll be back at 5 a.m. with the latest forecast and answers to more FAQs.

By Dan Stillman  | February 4, 2010; 11:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Snowmageddon, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Will Snowmageddon make history?
Next: Forecast: Crippling snowstorm imminent

Comments

FIRST!

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 4, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

#2. Christmas eve

Posted by: JDK4 | February 4, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm going out on a limb and saying snow starts falling at 8am

Posted by: dustinmfox1 | February 4, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

WOOM WOOM WOOM WOOM WOOM WOOM

Posted by: shamuballeno | February 4, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Wait, you didn't answer your second to last FAQ (storm next week)!

Not that it should matter right now with big daddy bearing down on us.

Posted by: CliftonJohn | February 4, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Just cancel school/work across the metro area and let us stay home

Posted by: Bious | February 4, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

My preparations have been made, my bag is packed in case I can't get home from work this weekend.

Please, people, use caution and employ common sense out there this weekend! We at your local 911 centers will be there to help you, but you've got to help yourselves out as well.

Posted by: natsncats | February 4, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@CliftonJohn, I noticed that too. Thought it might be a way of saying, what, me worry? LOL

Posted by: --sg | February 4, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the frequent updates, guys. Here's an FAQ for y'all:

Sue Palka on Channel 5 said tonight that if the low pressures system stalls once it's off the coast east of the Chesapeake, the snow totals could go up because the heavy snow could hang around for a few more hours.

Does your 16"-26" snow-total amount take that into account, with the 16" meaning the Low just scoots on out to sea, and the 26" meaning the Low stalls offshore for a while?

Is there a way to predict that "stalling" effect, or is it just something you gotta observe?

Posted by: Juan-John | February 4, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@natsncats: You dispatch? Bravo! And thank you.

Posted by: --sg | February 4, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Is the earlier than previously predicted start the reason the schools have already canceled? Not that I'm complaining...

I am too excited about this; I was in NY during the Dec. storm and felt kinda cheated. Got the crock pot ready and plan on staying in my jammies for the next two days (at least).

Posted by: dinergirl1 | February 4, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

dinergirl, for once I agree with the school's closing early or canceling. The timing of this storm would bring quickly worsening road conditions right around the time where schools would be letting out and putting the students on the bus.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Just found out that I may have to make the call for whether & when to close our suburban MD office directly to the out-of-state company president. I'm thinking of recommending normal start times but letting folks out around 2pm for their metro/car trips home. At the moment, is that sound advice?

Posted by: random-adam | February 4, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Here’s the rundown of our 4 local forecasters predictions. I think this is the best time to pin them down because it’s the last 11pm newscast before the first snowflake hits:

Sue Palka: 16-22” (although a graphic showed 16-20” on the ground by the end)
Bob Ryan: 80% chance of 10-14” and 70% chance of 18-24”. Golden shovel? More like Golden Waffle.
Topper Shutt 16-24” ‘across the metro area’
Doug Hill 16-24” ‘across most of our area’ ‘best chance’

You will be graded boys (and girl).

Posted by: jojo2008 | February 4, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | February 4, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

@--sg

Yes I do, 26 years and counting...and thank you! :-)

Posted by: natsncats | February 4, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

This one is much more fun to stare at, in awe.

http://i48.tinypic.com/20tmbr4.jpg

Posted by: SWester | February 4, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances the Caps game will be postponed tomorrow night? Do you think metro will be running above ground at the end of the game (around 10)?

PLEASE HELP FOR THE LOVE OF OVIE!

Posted by: DaLord | February 4, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Montgomery County Schools need to decide NOW to close--not at 5 am!!!!

Posted by: paul87 | February 4, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know what the local TV mets predicted on the 11:00 news? I only caught Doug Hill on ABC7, he's calling for 16-24" across the area.

Posted by: agrapple | February 4, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I have to run into Arlington in the morning to grab a few things out of my office in case I can't get back until Tuesday...hopefully the traffic won't be as bad as it was this morning (90 minutes from Manassas...really?) I am hoping the snow holds off at least until 10 a.m. or so so that I can accomplish that goal and get safely home...and up the hill... again.

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | February 4, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I find it incomprehensible that we could get two 20+ inch snow events in one season.
Here in Centreville VA we measured 20+ inches of snow from the Dec storm. I predict 18 inches in Centreville for this one. DCA will measure 14; breaking the hearts of all of us who would love to re-shuffle the top ten listing one more time.
Whatever the total numbers, it looks as though they'll be big. If this in any way "busts" (8 inches or less in the immediate DC metro area) it will be a historic forecasting flop.
Time now to rest for the strenuous snow removal efforts ahead.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 4, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Frad Maukins back folks. My prediction is for at least one Greg Oden by 5 PM Friday. I'm guessing at least 2.5 Greg Odens by the end of the storm. :)

Go Trailblazers!!!

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

It's so easy to forget but please remember to check in with the elderly and others who may be in need around you. And do offer assistance in getting the essentials they may need to make it through this storm.

Posted by: Hanz1 | February 4, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

@jojo2008: you posted as I was (slowly) typing, it appears. Thanks for the info.

Posted by: agrapple | February 4, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

DaLord, well, either the game tomorrow night will be postponed, or the Thrashers game at home against the Panthers on Sat will be postponed. I find it hard to believe they'd be able to get in tomorrow, play the game, and get out back to Atlanta. But, without knowing the exact travel schedule, its hard to say.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Giant snow on way & Hokies beat UNC tonight, all is well. I'll say 19.4" at Reagan. Time for bed.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 4, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@natsncats: May the Force be with you! :-)

Posted by: --sg | February 4, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Dear Capital Weather Gang:

Power outages --

That, it seems to me, is the most important question here. Because, let's face it, dealing with no heat and no Superbowl isn't something anyone wants.

So, my question: I understand that power outages are "a concern." But how likely are they?

I know this gets a bit beyond the scope of your expertise but as long as you're bringing us the info we need, I'd be grateful if you could confer with PEPCO and others and let us know your best projection on power outages. As specific as possible -- e.g., I assume the snow will be less problematic in northern metro than southern.

Thanks!

Posted by: kjm1971 | February 4, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

@random-adam: Some questions to ask before you decide: Where do most of my employees live? How far must they travel? Do they drive, take Metro trains, or buses? How many are already out due to children out of school? Obviously, if your staff are far away and mostly drive, recommend an earlier close. By 2:00pm, depending on the area, roads may be badly choked, guaranteeing your staff a 4+ hour commute in a blizzard. If the Feds close early, all hell will descend upon the Beltway, never to be driven on again. Clearly, I'm bucking for a noon close!

Posted by: --sg | February 4, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have experience flying in this? My flight out of Baltimore is at 10:25 .... even if it starts snowing at 8, surely the runways can handle the early dusting before the whallop in the afternoon?

Posted by: esmerelda123 | February 4, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Topper Shutt on channel 9 said 18-27" by the time all is said and done.

Posted by: mickb1 | February 4, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Bob Ryan said it could be bigger than the 12/19 storm and his forecast showed up to 30" for areas out near the Shenandoah Valley. Also, I read somewhere that Bob *might* be moving to ABC7 to team up with Doug Hill.

Concerning possible power outages, does anyone know if the Super Bowl will be carried live by any local radio stations?

Posted by: spgass1 | February 5, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

@random-adam: Get everybody out by noon. You can always blame the weather folks if it starts later. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | February 5, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

ksrgatorfn1....Get in your car and drive to Arlington now....shouldn't take long at all (as long as you can work from home tomorrow for sleep

Yes VT beat UNC...again...and again...and Maryland over FSU!

Posted by: paulhershberg | February 5, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

spgass, I've got to believe that ESPN 980 would carry it, or 1300 out of baltimore

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Paul, regarding the UMD/FSU game, that was a bogus charge call towards the end of the game. Last I knew, you had to have your feet set to be able to draw a charge!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Fed Status just updated, 4 hour early dismissal added to the mix.

http://www.opm.gov/status/

Posted by: santanaf | February 5, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Brian. Followthegame.com appears to have all the stations.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 5, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

random adam - got news for you pal, nobody's going to work tomorrow.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 5, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

@ esmerelda123:

I can't speak for BWI, but I know at IAD (Dulles) where I work, snow crews work as hard as humanly possible to keep at least one runway open at all times.

Seeing as you're leaving from BWI, I think you should be fine getting out of here.

Also, I would not be surprised to see major air carriers pull out of the region for this storm as well.

Posted by: Havoc737 | February 5, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who have already stopped thinking about the impending storm and looking forward to the third one (next week or otherwise), post your predictions at http://snowfecta.com/

Posted by: cooldavej | February 5, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I am concerned about area airports having groundstops by Friday evening

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Bob Ryan may move to Channel 7 to team up with Doug Hill. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/04/AR2010020404259.html

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I am concerned about the temperatures...if they are above freezing much of tomorrow, won't this limit the snowfall much like they did the other night?

Posted by: rocotten | February 5, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

rocotten,the temperatures tomorrow will be above freezing as the precipitation starts but will drop during tomorrow afternoon as the precip becomes heavier. This storm is so powerful that it is essentially bringing down colder air from higher up in the atmosphere above us.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Bryan, I went to football schools: VT and FSU (M.S. in Met)......... therefore basketball makes absolutely no sense to me :)

Posted by: paulhershberg | February 5, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Let's all the rest of us in America hope that lots of Republican congressmen and senators get caught in the storm one way or another. Let them skid off the GWParkway and into the Potomac and Rock Creek as often as possible. Let several of them have heart attacks while shoveling snow. With luck, some of their hi-rise balconies may collapse while they're out there looking at the snow. Just remember, that the weather is God's work and, if he chooses to strike down a few sinners or many, it's all because he willed it. Perhaps the time has particularly come to gather up John McCain, Mitch McConnel and John Boehner. Their bodies can be dug out of the debris and ice several months from now, but there's no hurry.

Posted by: dsrobins | February 5, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

man, how awesome would it be if bob ryan and doug hill teamed up... throw those guys on tv and CPX on the 'puter and you wouldn't need anything else weather related ever again!

GO BOB, GO!

Posted by: dotjeffdot | February 5, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I still cannot get over the size of this system. If this were summer, I'd be really freaked over severe weather. But I just can't get my head wrapped around the amount of snow we may get. I missed the Dec storm, and was so bummed. Guess there are such things in life as 2nd chances!

Having lived in the Chantilly/Centreville area since I was 4, I've been through quite a few of these. I have pictures of that '83 storm - we had a lot of drifting with that one in my neighborhood. In 10th grade, we had some snow almost every 3 days - I don't think we had a full week of school that Feb - either late opening, early closing or no school. It was wild.

I missed one good snow while living in California for a few years, but came back just in time for the '96 mega storm. My good friend, and then-roommate, and I were thinking back fondly today on our 2-hour shifts outside keeping things as clear as we could. It was nuts.

What helped us survive that particular mess (and we were much younger of course): Marlboro Lights (which we've both given up), lots of strong cups of coffee, mixed with a shot of Tequila, Kahlua, and RediWhip (and we've NOT given up on any of these). In fact, I've got my snow-shoveling shots of courage all ready to go. Pacing myself, of course.

Cheers, everyone.

Posted by: bobosnow | February 5, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

There's a very solid consensus of liquid numbers 2"+... If I didnt know better I'd say this has a very good shot of biggest ever at DCA (though probably not biggest ever in DC).

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the Caps game, Joe B and Locker mentioned tonight that the Thrashers are already in town. That means the game will most likely be played. My gut tells me this may be the first home game this season I won't be able to attend, assuming the roads will be as bad as they say after the game.

Hopefully Sunday gets postponed to Monday night. The Opponents Who Must Not Be Named play in Montreal on Saturday afternoon and thus may have serious difficulty getting down here.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 5, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

@dsrobins

Really? Wishing people dead isn't nice.

Posted by: Alexandria2009 | February 5, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

RE Superbowl on radio: Every Friday, the Washington Post print edition sports section has a "weekend on the air" bit which lists the radio and tv listings for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

1) Wait for it to be posted sometime Friday morning online, or
2) Buy a Friday newspaper.

Don't forget to have good batteries for that radio!

Posted by: prokaryote | February 5, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Sleep well everyone. see you back here tomorrow!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

@dsrobins At the risk of this weather forum turning political, you can dislike someone's ideas as much as you want, and you can have rational debate. But the comment you made goes a long way toward showing why nothing productive is getting done in this country. Attack the ideas all you want, but don't make these things personal.

Posted by: ValleyCaps | February 5, 2010 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Was @ Harris Teeter in Rockville just about an hour ago. Store is picked over like a walmart on black friday.
Seems like they have plenty of boxes on the floor full of items to be restocked onto shelves.
There were about 5 loaves of bread left, and no sign of a restock in sight. Also, couldn't even find any sign of milk. Plenty of toilet paper left, and there's calcium chloride a' plenty.

Just pre-treated my driveway with a blend of magnesium chloride + calcium chloride. Sadly, couldn't find rock salt anywhere this year it seems.

Posted by: Havoc737 | February 5, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

newest NAM gives DC close to 3 feet. seems like the models weren't even able to fathom the extent of this storm. overperforming already -- already snowing in blacksburg, apparently

Posted by: danuva | February 5, 2010 3:35 AM | Report abuse

I've gotten so hyped up about this that I had to do something...
It's a quickie, but, hey, it's late...

Someone suggested it: Snowmageddon! trailer.

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

Great! My plane lands in BWI at 645pm. It has not been cancelled THANK GOD. I hope roads are passable around 7:30ish

Posted by: lilmacumd | February 5, 2010 4:52 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ChadwickWDC | February 5, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Persistent SW wind. This is not good for snow in this area. Is this just a prelude to a wind directional change to a more NE'sterly direction??

Posted by: johnnierat | February 5, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

People seem to forget that the 28" reported in the Knickerbocker Storm in 1922 had the accumulation measured somewhere else than at the as yet nonexistent National Airport (I will NEVER call it by that other name!). As we all know, National Airport is the warmest spot in the Washington area during the winter and snow accumulations measured there provide lower figures than everywhere else in the region.

I think this may be the worst snowstorm in this area since the colonists first settled here. I haven't measured it but on tabletops and whatnot outside my window in Arlington it looks like WELL over two feet, maybe even closer to THREE feet.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 6, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

People seem to forget that the 28" reported in the Knickerbocker Storm in 1922 had the accumulation measured somewhere else than at the as yet nonexistent National Airport (I will NEVER call it by that other name!). As we all know, National Airport is the warmest spot in the Washington area during the winter and snow accumulations measured there provide lower figures than everywhere else in the region.

I think this may be the worst snowstorm in this area since the colonists first settled here. I haven't measured it but on tabletops and whatnot outside my window in Arlington it looks like WELL over two feet, maybe even closer to THREE feet.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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