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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 02/ 2/2010

Forecast: Snow threatens again... and again

By Matt Rogers

2-4"+ possible late today/tonight; Major late-week storm?

* Winter Storm Warning metro area late afternoon & tonight *
* Winter Weather Advisory far southern suburbs (map) *
* Prospects for late-week snow: SLCB | Georgetown snow photos *
* Outside now? Temps, clouds, webcam & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
 
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
 
4More clouds than Monday and late-day snow leans us to the lower side of the scale.
 
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Mostly cloudy. Chance of late-afternoon snow. 34-39. | Tonight: Snow likely. Accumulating around 2-4"+. 26-31. | Tomorrow: Partly cloudy & a little warmer. 38-43. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

We've already had one of the snowiest winters in several years. Amazingly, the pattern for this first week of February looks to keep things going, with a solid supply of cold air available to the East Coast and El Niño -- the warmer-than-normal waters in the tropical Pacific -- continuing to feed significant moisture across the southern U.S. toward our area. The result? First, the potential for a few inches of snow later today and tonight, and then possibly a bigger snow late in the week into the weekend.


The CWG team's predicted snow accumulations later today and tonight. Forecast confidence is Medium.

Today (Tuesday): An approaching storm from the south keeps us cloudy through the day and light snow is expected (may briefly mix with rain in some places initially) to arrive from the southwest between mid-afternoon and early evening (probably starting between 3 and 6 p.m.). With afternoon highs in the mid-to-upper 30s, temperatures probably remain above or barely down to near freezing through the evening rush, so most roads should avoid too much iciness during the commute home. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Snow, possibly moderate at times, continues this evening before tapering overnight. The most likely range for accumulations across the area is around 2-4", though some spots, especially the southern suburbs could see up to around 5". Road conditions will deteriorate as temperatures drop to lows in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Medium

Late-week snow, too? Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend. And check back with our afternoon update for tomorrow's SchoolCast....

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The overnight snow will likely cause travel problems for the morning rush and probably some school delays. Eventually, temperatures should climb to the warmest levels seen since last week in some areas. Look for partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 30s to low 40s (maybe some mid-40s in spots), which will help melt some more snow. Breezes should be from the northwest at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy skies again with lows in the mid-to-upper 20s. Any wet areas from Wednesday's melt will re-freeze so use caution when necessary. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Thursday is expected to see partly to mostly sunny skies with highs in the low 40s (meaning more snow melt). Thursday night should feature increasing clouds with lows in the 20s again. Confidence: Medium-High

For Friday, we're currently expecting a cloudy morning with snow potentially developing by afternoon and continuing into Friday night. There is still uncertainty about the storm track and whether rain or mixed precipitation could enter the picture, but the current range of guidance favors a snowy scenario. Look for highs on Friday in the mid-30s with lows Friday night in the 20s. Confidence: Low

Precipitation, in the form of snow as it looks now, should continue into Saturday with the potential for significant accumulations (see the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball for more details). Highs in the 30s to upper 20s. Confidence: Low

By Sunday, clearing skies and continued cold weather is expected with highs in the 30s.

By Matt Rogers  | February 2, 2010; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Snowmageddon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Some snow now... a lot of snow later?
Next: Snow advances through the area this evening

Comments

what about the snow on the radar coming in from the Midwest? will that lead to just flurries or accumulation?

Posted by: samdman95 | February 2, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

good grief. not again. 1-3" probably means 10". is there a possibility of schools closing early? or is late afternoon more like early evening...

Posted by: trufe | February 2, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

From what I can tell, these initial echoes are virga and not reaching the ground. We'll have a better chance to get precipitation this afternoon. But certainly these echoes and associated cloud cover make me wonder if our temperatures will stay colder yet today.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this blog is following incoming snow events. Sometimes the roller-coaster ride of forecasts and emotions leading up to a storm is better than the event itself.

My second favorite part has become the back and forth between the snow-lovers and the think-springers.

I grew up here, so I like my 4 seasons - all 4 of them (I lived in Hawaii for a bit and missed having a real fall and winter every year).

Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather and everything that comes with it. But its nice to have the snow around too.

My rule for winter weather is simple - if its going to be cold, then there should be snow. If there isn't going to be snow, then it shouldn't be cold.

So far this winter has been living up to my expectations.

Posted by: Vingold | February 2, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Is the storm this weekend looking like a classic nor'easter?

Posted by: JW211 | February 2, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

JW211, the trends on the model guidance overnight seem to be in that direction as the snow chances have increased up along the Northeast corridor. So wind (blowing/drifting snow) could be a bigger factor for this event.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

JW211, the trends on the model guidance overnight seem to be in that direction as the snow chances have increased up along the Northeast corridor. As the storm intensifies, wind could be a bigger factor for this one (blowing/drifting).

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

1-3" makes sense based the GFS runs over the last day, but if you look at 06Z NAM, they are snowing 0.25 to 0.5" liquid equivalent overnight tonight. Given the way the storm is developing on that model, I expect it to be at the low end (maybe just barely breaking 0.25"), but using an 8:1 ratio, that's still 2" -- and most storms this year have been running at least 12:1 ratios. Seem that 1-3" range might be low if the NAM solution holds out. It's also interesting that both GFS and NAM have steadily been increasing our liquid equivalent precip over the last day from a trace over the weekend to now showing up to 0.5" - combined with the more northward routes storms have been taking this year, I am leery of counting this system (Tuesday's) as a minor storm. Personally, I'm thinking 2-4", maybe up to 5", but with a surprise of more possible.

As a note: I'm sitting here at 22F right now - the low NWS was forecasting overnight was only something like 27F.

Posted by: RandC | February 2, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure if I can remember a time when we had snow on the ground and two different snow chances in the forecast?

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

You make some excellent points RandC and I believe the super-wet southern branch of the jet stream (fueled by El Niño) may continue to surprise the models for the balance of this winter. We did hit 27F for a low at National, but a lot of areas are running colder this morning. This air mass is not as cold/dry as last weekend, so I don't expect the ratios to be as high as that event, so your conservatism there makes sense. The fast-moving nature of this system should keep us out of big trouble, but I agree with your upside risk comments. Something to watch.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Matt.
Blacksburg, Va reporting 28 degrees and light snow. Is the timeline still running the same for arrival of precipation here around 3 - 6 PM?

Posted by: JW211 | February 2, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me WHY we keep getting so much precipitation in this area? We got more rain last year than Seattle did at Dulles at a total of almost 48". I checked the NOA site. It has pretty much rained almost half the week every week since last March. I am about sick and tired of it. If I wanted this type of environment I would move to Seattle. In fact I might move there just to get some sunshine...

Posted by: j0nx | February 2, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Re: successive snows, in Jan 1997 there were 3-4 snows in six days; the total DCA accumulation was about two feet and three feet in NW DC. Feds only opened on Thursday that week. While it quickly melted the next week, there was more to come that winter.

CWG, assuming everyone on the team has cams and enough disk storage space available, what are the chances of getting video forecasts from ya'll, esp. during these snow situations?

Finally, let us know if you break your page views record this week.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 2, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

j0nx: The simple answer is El Nino

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nino

Posted by: RandC | February 2, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, precipitation is starting to fill in around southwest Virginia. Still think mid to late afternoon is the best timing, but perhaps some flurries could sneak in ahead of that. We'll keep an eye on it. Thanks for the 1977 reference, Jerry. There have been a few similarities to that winter. Jonx, I'm beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as global wettening instead of warming! Certainly, the El Niño is enhancing our precipitation over the last several months.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

j0nx -- Oddly, Seattle averages less annual rainfall (~36 inches) than all of the cites on the NE corridor (which average just +/- 40 inches). So it is not all that surprising that Dulles had more rain than Seattle.

Posted by: Storm9 | February 2, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

While I see the chance for a big event (maybe another foot?) this weekend, interesting that the NWS, which is where the forecast in the top corner comes from, sees the storm moving north and giving us just a wintry mix. Thoughts? Its a big difference (in terms of impact to people) between rain and sleet and a foot of snow.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 2, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey CWG... thanks for your great descriptions of our current forecast... A lot of people have asked me, why are we getting soo much snow this year? Is the simple and best answer el nino? 7 day pattern?

Posted by: timeagle | February 2, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

It figures, when I was in school, I couldn't dream of a weather pattern such as this. Now that I work at Dulles (primarily outside all day) where as little as an inch can seriously hinder operations (moving airplanes around isn't easy even under the best conditions) and have to drive 30 miles to and from work as well, I can't get a break.

Not to mention I think my Jeep has permanently turned Rock Salt White.
It used to be black. I think. It's been so long since I've been able to wash it without it getting dirty the second I hit the road, I'm afraid it might rust away from all the salt!

Also, working on a car while laying on a nice cold soaked driveway is tons of fun.
I wish I had a snow blower, and a garage, maybe even a plow, and I would be just fine with this weather we're having.

CWG, any hope for us spring-thinkers?

Posted by: Havoc737 | February 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

@JerryFloyd1, don't you mean January 1996?

Posted by: Murre | February 2, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a preference for one season over another but currently I have a strong preference for a moderate drought. My area was soaked throughout 2009, and 2010 is shaping up to be more of the same. I wish precip of all description would just stop for a while. Here comes mold!

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 2, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey Timeagle, the snow is a product of a vigorous west-based El Niño and lots of blocking patterns toward the Pole (which redirects cold to us). To simplify it, I guess you could say El Niño is sending us moisture and a blocking jet stream pattern is sending us cold. And then you get snow!

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Murre, I was thinking the exact same thing about @JerryFloyd1's comment. I remember the winter of '96 well because my husband and I were newlyweds then and just laughed when friends complained about cabin fever. We wouldn't have minded being snowed in another 3 weeks :)

Posted by: nonfrequentflyer | February 2, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

CWG, I just saw on wjla.com that they said we're 15 inches over our average snowfall at Reagan National. They meant that it's 15 inches more than we normally have by Feb. 1 in a normal year. The other day, someone had mentioned a similar confusing remark on washingtonpost.com. I think it's always easier for people to understand the amount of snowfall in terms of the total amount for a normal year,not the total as of a certain date. Just a thought.

Posted by: rginsburg | February 2, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@Murre, you're of course right it was '96. You'd think I'd have gotten it right since I posted this link http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/Historic_Events/snohist.htm
on CWG last night!

One technicality about what I think was four snows (two of which were clippers), was the last one on Friday, changed over to sleet at least in NW D.C. I remember walking down to the Social Safeway in the snow but there was sleet on the way back.

And speaking of the Social Safeway, on the morning after the incredible 1979 President's Day storm, that storm opened. The asst. mgr strapped on some snowshoes and walked in from Rockville to open the store. Can't imagine anyone doing that nowadays.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 2, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Its interesting that in the Top 10 snow storms for DC, 7 of them have been in February. (Not sure if the December storm changed that).

Posted by: JW211 | February 2, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@jOnx
I'm from Seattle and am not surprised in the least. Seattle is know for rain - but not the quantity of rain but rather the number of rainy days per year. Here you could get 1" of rain in an hour long thunder storm where as in Seattle it could take 4 grey, drizzly days to get that much.

I spent a month in Seattle last year and am thuroughly enjoying two back to back snowy winters (one here, one there). Come on Noreaster!

Posted by: Bainbridge | February 2, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Come on snow!

Posted by: celestun100 | February 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@jw11, the December storm 2009 will knock a January storm out of the top 10. February's reputation remains intact.

More details about the historic Feb. 1899 snowfalls (and other big D.C. snows) at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/winter/DC-Winters.htm

There are some amazing photos of the aftermath of the 1899 storms, available online.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Yes, in January 1996 we had 3 snowstorms in the same week, including the Blizzard of '96. I think in February 1979 we also had 3 snowstorms in a week, including the first big Presidents' Day snowstorm.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

NWS just moved the Winter Weather Advisory further north and east....does that mean more snow?

Posted by: kathyb39 | February 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Any chance this weekend could rival dec 19?

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Latest short-range model is increasing snow, but slowing start-time. So we start toward 7pm or so, but we get 3-5" overnight potentially. The NWS is increasing totals to 2-4" now.

And this weekend's storm could rival Dec 19th, but right now, I'm not seeing the extended duration snow that we had on that event. We'll keep watching, of course!.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Do ya'll have any thoughts on how tonights storm will impact the BSO Rusty Musicians event tonight at the Strathmore? It is from 6-10. Should be okay getting there (other than usual traffic heading towards Bethesda during rush hour) but it looks like things could be a little dicey heading home.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 2, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The latest short range model suggests the heavier snow will be later at night, between midnight and 4am, but light snow in the evening hours could still slow traffic on Rockville Pike there.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Might this snow forecast for the weekend impact travels on Saturday night?

Posted by: sk111 | February 2, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I love how the trend has been for more snow than originally predicted. Is tonights change due to the storm stalling and gathering more moisture, or temperatures being lower? Or both?

Posted by: JW211 | February 2, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Hi -- I'm slated to drive up to upstate NY via 81 through PA tomorrow, and then back on Sunday. Since I can't find the equivalent of CWG for that area, can you guys help me out? Will tomorrow be a bear driving through PA? Am I crazy to think I can drive back to DC on Sunday with the storm that's forming?

Thanks!

Posted by: ArlVA | February 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

CWG team and co-posters: Does increased snow cover on the ground between tomorrow and Friday help keep temps cooler than models can predict, and therefore maintain cooler temps throughout the weekend event?

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | February 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Let's say I'm hosting a Super Bowl/Birthday party in Rockville on Sunday...any chance CWG can work some magic and tell me that the roads will be clear, parking spaces will be clean, and I won't have to cancel? Pretty please.

Posted by: BandTCrowd | February 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Tonight looks increasingly interesting. We're the new snow capital of the east it seems.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Guess I won't be headed to my LOST party in Chantilly.. ah snow...

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 2, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the groundhog went back in his hole after seeing his shadow, and winter's second act is pretty impressive. Keep those low pressure systems coming off the Gulf baby...I think we're officially having a snowy winter. It's about time. I'm supposed to head up to NYC on Friday and return Saturday but those plans are starting look like a suicide mission, rather like trying to drive from DC to Richmond on December 19.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

...this winter gets my vote for best winter in the Chesapeake region in 20 or maybe 30 years...

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"We're the new snow capital of the east it seems." -Ian

I'm loving it. Any place where I can see how DC snowfall this winter is faring against other snowy cities?

Posted by: crazer | February 2, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I just joined here last week. I love this site. My Dad was a meteorologist during WWII, and taught weather to the pilots.
I just saw the updated forecast. What is the chance that they are wrong, again, and we are looking at more than 4"?

Posted by: pmknp | February 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

by "they" you are obviously not referring to our illustrious hosts....

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 2, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

crazer, CWG contributor Matt Ross has been keeping a list over on Eastern US Weather Forums (updated through 1/30). It's by station ID though so you may need to do some research if you don't know them by heart.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

mandarb77, I doubt you'll see many forecasters predicting Dec 19 totals 3 to 4 days out from the storm. Personally, I think the storm has the potential if the track and speed is just right. The latest GFS weather model looks really good!

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Tonight sure is looking more like a school closer for tomorrow...but Friday-Saturday's event spits out numbers that really would rival Dec 19 - easily. I've been in the DC area for 20 years and dont think we've had two storms dump double digit amounts in the same year - anyone able to verify that or when it actually last happened in a season? Does anyone really want another 18-24 inches on a weekend, because 78 hours out, we are looking at that. See the 12z GFS...sheesh.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 2, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey everyone ... all the morning model data is in and we've updated our forecast. General 2-4" is what we're going with, at least for now. Some spots, especially southern suburbs, could get to 5". Wildcard with this one is that a portion of the early part of the precipitation may not accumulate so well until the sun goes down and temps drop. Let the fun begin once again later today...

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, it's hard to imagine 2 storms like that in one season but this one certainly has the potential in my opinion. It seems to want to stall and it looks like it can snow for over 24 hours like the other. If it holds up the main question should be where banding sets up to produce the highest totals etc.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I would think increased snow cover would, if anything, warm the air by reflecting light.

Posted by: dummypants | February 2, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@BandTCrowd - Seconded! Unless I can borrow the fleet of snowmobiles the snowlovers here seem to have in their garages to get 42 expected guests to and from safely... ;)

All in good fun.

Posted by: nocando | February 2, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

schoolcast 4 tomorrow?

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 2, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@dummypants - that is exactly why the temps are cooler because the light is reflected; higher albedo (spelling)

Posted by: snowlover | February 2, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

VA, and Dummypants, Snowcover on the ground tends to have a cooling effect on surface temperatures. During the day, a portion of the sun's energy goes to melting the snow rather than warming the atmosphere and on warm days, the cooler snow at the surface can create a cold pool at ground level. At night, it helps with radiative cooling. Most models take this into account already. I'm actually the person that creates the snowcover map that goes into the models each day. In testing, snow covered areas have shown a drop of close to 10 degrees verses runs where snow cover was removed.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

No, dummypants, it doesn't work that way. The sun's rays don't warm the air directly. They warm the land (or water) surface, which, in turn, warms the air just above it. That's why, in meteorology, we use the terms "lapse rate" and "boundary-layer temperature". These terms refer to the rate of temperature change with altitude and the air near the surface. If the sun's rays warmed the air directly (which they don't), you wouldn't have the temperature changes with altitude that you do.

A third term....."albedo".....is used to measure the amount of the sun's rays that any given surface (or color) tends to reflect. A fresh snow cover, being pure white, has a very high albedo, which means it reflects most of the sun's rays, thereby preventing the land (or snow on frozen water) from warming.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@mandarb77

We'll do a SchoolCast for tomorrow in our afternoon update.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, noticed that in update above right after posting... :)

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Interesting...no posts today by the mild-weather advocates [ThinkSpring & omarthetentmaker]. Let's keep that Greenland block going!!!

Phil seems to have seen his shadow...I noticed that though it is cloudy the sun is bright enough through the clouds to cast a shadow...six more weeks of winter!!!

Wonder how the snow this evening will affect my dance...the Clarendon Ballroom has a reputation for OPPOSING inclement weather closings...but this evening's crowd could be down if snow is sticking on the streets. For me it all depends on the reliability of the Route 25 Carlin Springs Metrobus.

More later on weekend storm speculation.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, last night, it was a dusting to 1 inch. Then 1-2 inches. Then 1-3. Then 2-4. Now a general 2-4, with some 5 in spots.

No offense, guys (and, yes....I know you are just trying to do your best with sometimes lousy models), but this is beginning to sound like a broken phonograph record....the fourth storm in a row with continual snow-total updates like this. You can set your watch by it.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 2, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Brian...when I replied to dummypants' post by explaining albedo and boundary-layer warming, I didn't know you were typing essentially the same thing at the same time. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been repititious myself.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It began snowing in my area 115 miles wsw of DC at 11:15 with 32 drgrees.

12z NAM a little slow with precip. 12z GFS has a better real time verification.

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 2, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Tonight's snow will be a nice appetizer before...

THE GREAT SUPER BOWL STORM OF 2010!!!

Posted by: bdeco | February 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it about time for a complete let down this year...LOL I have a funny feeling about this weekend. Something is telling me were going to get a screw job with this one. The one bad thing right now is were still 90 hrs away...LOTS can and will change.

Posted by: clintonportis17 | February 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I took a chance and biked in today. What are the chances the roads will be affected by 5:00?

And BTW, I don't mind seeing your forecast totals increasing as the storms approach; to me that means you are trying to be accurate and not hyping the potential for a big storm, as many of the broadcast sources seem to do.

Posted by: lhaller | February 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@MMCarhelp

A significant correction. Yesterday afternoon we predicted a coating to 2 inches (not a dusting to 1 inch), and said it could be less or a little more depending on storm track. A late-evening update yesterday said 1-3". And yes, this morning we went up to 2-4". It just so happens almost every storm this winter is trending in the upward direction. Anyone who has lived here for any period of time knows that with many storms in many other winters the case is often the opposite.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

NWS just issued Winter Storm Warning. 3-6 inches tonight for DC.

Posted by: GD1975 | February 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

3-6 now. Unbelievable. It's mind-numbing.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 2, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"OH MY GOD, THE QUARTERBACK IS TOAST!!"

- Die Hard

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

God is answering all our prayers for snow at once...

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

NWS knows they blew the forecast last weekend and they don't want to come up short this time; especially since it's midweek. They are covering their bases.

Posted by: GD1975 | February 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"It just so happens almost every storm this winter is trending in the upward direction. Anyone who has lived here for any period of time knows that with many storms in many other winters the case is often the opposite."

I was just trying to explain this to someone and I said they can't all keep trending up right? I mean eventually the predicted impact of one or two of these storms will trend down as it approaches. Right?

Right?

Bueller?

Posted by: Vingold | February 2, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Vingold, you would think the pendulum would eventually swing the other way. This year happens to be a wet one due to the enhanced southern branch. As long as we are in this pattern type, this trending may continue though.

Posted by: MattRogers | February 2, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Howard Bernstein just announced...upgrade to Winter Storm Warning...wonder how the Clarendon Ballroom will react.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 2, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

excited for snow!!!!

Posted by: madisondc | February 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

holy moly this is epic. nws says 90 percent chance of snow friday nite

Posted by: samdman95 | February 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

My are in Loudoun is actually giving me 4-8 now via Sterling. Schools are going to be closed tomorrow, I'd bet on it. The timing of this thing looks just right for the kids...I still cant beleive what we are looking at this weekend, though.

Posted by: DullesARC | February 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like my Sunday soccer game will be cancelled. That's the third one this season! I assumed playing outdoor soccer in the winter in DC would be no big deal. Boy have I been wrong...every game except one has been very cold and/or rainy.

Posted by: TheTim | February 2, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

traveling on I-66 W at around 6:30 probably isn't the best idea guys, right?

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

TheTim, I did that as well last winter season. Never again! Playing keeper and not even being able to run to keep warm was terrrible!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, this is getting exciting! Matt Ross's East Coast snow totals is a great database; thanks for posting the link, Ian. Saves have to rummage all over the place for this info.

And for those who ask about two double-digit snowstorms in the same season, yes it's happened. For sure in 1899. See http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/Historic_Events/snohist.htm

And it might have happened at IAD in Jan. 1987. In fact there were some places around here that may have had three 10-inch-plus snows in Jan-Feb '87. Not at DCA, but elsewhere.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 2, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes I love this winter! Finally we're getting some snow after being pretty much shut out the past few years. Ah it's winters like this I love having my FJ40 Land Cruiser and going anywhere in the snow with it! It's just too bad they inundate the roads with so much treatment and salt. It's cancer to cars.

Posted by: voltron88x | February 2, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I cant remember last time we had 3 winter storms in a week. This winter is turning out to be epic

Posted by: samdman95 | February 2, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Now that we're less than 6 hours out from the predicted beginning of this event, will any of the CWG make an actual forecast of total accumulation (more specific than your map above)for the area?

Hedging is fun and necessary at times, but I'm hoping some of you will take the chance.

The recent trend is for storms to outperform initial forecasts; so I'll predict four inches of wet snow for Centreville VA tonight. School will be 2 hours late in Fairfax county.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@lhaller, you have my respect. Your path must be clear for you to ride in today! From the talk on this thread, you may be ok on the way home, but why not play it safe and go home early? :)

Posted by: mmurphy70 | February 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I would have to submit, with all respect to CWG and previous commentators, that the pendulum is indeed swinging the other way as we speak; for so many years storms have not lived up to expectations, so it is only natural that we are getting pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise right now. When you add it all up, it evens out, and you get the sort of projections that the models are known for spewing forth. The Snow Lover's Crystal Ball is very aptly named.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I do think it's funny that the prospect of the weekend storm has me underwhelmed by tonight's. Usually, 3-6 inches of snow around here is a big deal, but I want more!

Posted by: bachaney | February 2, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo47jea, I suggest a new dance step for this winter: the Snow Shoe Hop.

Posted by: mmurphy70 | February 2, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@FIREDRAGON47

Our map in this post shows 2-4"+... We're thinking 3 or 4 inches for most locations and wouldn't be surprised if someone gets 5 or even 6.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Where was all this snow back in the 80s when I could've used it to get out of school instead of having to go into work?!?

The big barometer for how bad any snow storm is if the Feds close.

When the Feds close, it's bad, so is it gonna be a Fed closer or what?

Posted by: wadejg | February 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

WOW the NWS forecast on weather.gov for College Park just changed from 1-2 inches tonight to 3-7 inches within the past hour. Also, they were calling for like a 30% CHANCE of snow/rain this weekend, not it says "SNOW" and it is a 90% chance. Woohoo!

Posted by: mdskater | February 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

NWS just upped their forecast to 3"-7". The upper limits seems to be increasing every couple hours.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | February 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

CWG, what is the potential for delays tomorrow morning?

Posted by: GD1975 | February 2, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I love it! Keep boosting those (expected) accumulation totals!

I would love to understand all of the technical jargon on this site better, and even undertake a little amateur meteorology myself.

Any tips/websites/books anyone can recommend that can help someone like me learn all this from the ground up, as a hobby? Do I need a weather station on my deck?

Posted by: teezee210 | February 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Brian - I always feel so bad for our keeper for that very reason! I have a feeling that if I play next year, we're going to be looking for a new keeper...

Posted by: TheTim | February 2, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@GD1975

We'll do a SchoolCast in our afternoon update, but I think delays are likely.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Oy, such mixed feelings. New England transplant, LOVE snow, am going skiing in 2 weeks. But Friday afternoon I have to get on a plane at Dulles. So I'm hoping the white stuff holds off until I'm safely airborne.

Posted by: econgrrl | February 2, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The good news that with this storm getting cranked up, it lessens the chance of the weekend storm getting cranked up. Based on past history that is.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 2, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Re-posting in the hopes of getting an answer...Hi -- I'm slated to drive up to upstate NY via 81 through PA tomorrow, and then back on Sunday. Since I can't find the equivalent of CWG for that area, can you guys help me out? Will tomorrow be a bear driving through PA? Am I crazy to think I can drive back to DC on Sunday with the storm that's forming?

I don't have a choice as I have to be in an upstate village court for a hearing at 7 pm tomorrow. What are my chances of getting on the roads at 9 or so? What direction is the snow moving in -- east or north? Thanks for any help you can provide!

Posted by: ArlVA | February 2, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

teezee210, keep this glossary handy: http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary

Posted by: --sg | February 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

BOOO to the YAAAA baybeee....

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 2, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Guess I'll be up a little early to shovel tomorrow am.

Posted by: eabgarnet | February 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'll chime in as a spring lover.

This winter = suckville. Hate it. All of it.

We are also doing some major work on our home this year and these storms are messing with my schedule for completion.

Posted by: liledjen4901 | February 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@ArlVA -- this might be helpful:

http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/index.php?showforum=15

Posted by: skywatcher1 | February 2, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Precip is getting awfully close to NOVA/DC

Posted by: snowedin85 | February 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@Dan who said: We'll do a SchoolCast in our afternoon update, but I think delays are likely.

You "think" delays are "likely"? I know CapWx forecasting philosphy is to be cautious and you despise AccuWx for being more bold, ooops I mean hyping.

But y'all have really taken it too far. I think the NWS has realized that the trend is your friend this season.

Also you said, "Our map in this post shows 2-4"+... We're thinking 3 or 4 inches for most locations and wouldn't be surprised if someone gets 5 or even 6." Geeze, talk about hedging your bets. Seriously, grow a pair and call it, we are two hours from initiation of the storm.


Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 2, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@liledjen4901

Yep, totally agree. This has been awful from my standpoint too. Hoping one of the snow lovers will come out and shovel my driveway tomorrow (and this weekend) cuz I'm beyond sick of doing it.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 2, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Personally, if schools were closed yesterday, 2 days after a 4 inch storm, I'd put money on closings/delays tomorrow. Lots of money.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

liledjen4901: DITTO!!

Posted by: jawz33 | February 2, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@johnnyd2

Geez, lay off a bit, man. Weather is an inexact science. The snowfall spread is always big due to the geographic diversity of the greater Washington area (rural southern Maryland near the water, urban DC, rural Fairfax heading towards the mountains).

Schoolcast - same thing. An inch or two closes fauquier county for two days, but three inches won't usually make DCPS budge.

CWG is a great resource. But you don't have to use it. If you don't find it useful, go watch the weather channel. I'm sure they'll be much more useful.

I'd rather have the Gang admit to the fact that this is all an inexact science than have them make a hard and fast call when there is just nothing to back it up.

Geez, man. Get over yourself.

Posted by: elizqueen | February 2, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@--sg:

Thanks for the glossary!

Posted by: teezee210 | February 2, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

well said johnnyd2, we want some predictions. we want our weatherpeople to put some skin in the game!

Posted by: dummypants | February 2, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Need to get from Dover, DE, to Leesburg, VA, tonight. When should I leave ("now" is not the correct answer)?

Posted by: map408 | February 2, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@ThinkSpring,

We'll come shovel your snow if you come mow our yards this spring.

Posted by: GD1975 | February 2, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@ elizqueen:

or they can do both. admit its an inexact science, explain the variables, give probabilities. but thats just the science (however inexact). you're forgeting about the ART of it all. I'm syaing 4 inches in silver spring.

Posted by: dummypants | February 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@elizqueen - I'm not laying off, this is ridiculous. I used to work in operational meteorology and I've never seen this kind of weak kneed forecasting in my life.

Brain got it right with "Personally, if schools were closed yesterday, 2 days after a 4 inch storm, I'd put money on closings/delays tomorrow. Lots of money."

Good lord.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 2, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"@ThinkSpring,

We'll come shovel your snow if you come mow our yards this spring."

@GD1975 - what a brilliant idea.

@map408:
"Need to get from Dover, DE, to Leesburg, VA, tonight. When should I leave ("now" is not the correct answer)?"

I think its a multiple choice at this point:
A) Now
B) ASAP
C) Tomorrow Evening

;-)

Posted by: Vingold | February 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

it's 40 degrees right now at my office in NW DC, if it's going to snow, It better get colder fast...

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 2, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@Vingold - That's about the answer I was expecting. Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to be able to wrap things up in the office by now, and ASAP is only marginally less unlikely...fortunately I don't have to be in a hurry to get home at a reasonable hour tonight, as long as the Bay Bridge isn't too ridiculous into MD.

Posted by: map408 | February 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hoping one of the snow lovers will come out and shovel my driveway tomorrow (and this weekend) cuz I'm beyond sick of doing it.
===

Hire a neighbor's kid, you wuss.

Posted by: mason08 | February 2, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@johnnyd2

Thanks for commenting... sorry you didn't like my answer. But I'm not in the business of guaranteeing school delays or cancellations (except maybe if we were looking at a sure-fire 6-12"+ storm or more). Like I said, I think delays are likely. Could be some cancellations too. As another commenter mentioned, some districts close for an inch while others seem to stay open with a few inches. I agree with Brian that delays and possibly some cancellations are a good bet tomorrow. Though if I'm not mistaken, I actually do think a lot of schools in the area were open yesterday.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Realize this is getting off-topic, but what do you CWG (and commenters) think about this weekend's storm? Over on Foot's Forecast, he and his students are thinking this is a 2-footer for Bmore... on the low side! DC is due for even more if it all pans out!!

I know that if is big, but now that storm is only 3 days out. So far *this* winter, that's when models tend to start getting it right. Then the totals just go up, and up, and UP!

PS
I am an unabashed snow-lover. I shovel my own sidewalk and parking spaces, sometimes several times as people keep taking them. :)

Posted by: wildwolf45 | February 2, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@johnnyd2

Saying 3 or 4 inches in most spots is quite specific. And if you truly worked in operational meteorology, you of all people should recognize and appreciate that over such a large region, it's impossible to pinpoint where the local maxima will be due to mesoscale processes. What do you want us to do, say Leesburg will get 4.3, Falls Church will 3.7 inches, Rockville will get 5.1 inches and La Plate will get 3.4 inches? Give us a break!

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

anybody seeing flakes yet?

Posted by: mandarb77 | February 2, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Is the bulk of this storm moving out to sea by the VA - NC border or is it supposed to fill in between that and what's over WV before moving into DC?

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

Just started lightly snowing on the Blue Ridge east of Front Royal. Temp 34.3 and falling after a hi today of 38.3

Posted by: spgass1 | February 2, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@Dan - no one said you are in the business of guaranteeing school closures. But you are in the business of making quantitative predictions. And I think CapWx has become more concerned about verifying your forecasts the next day than going out on a limb sometimes.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 2, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@wildwolf45

FootsForecast provides good entertaining and educational weather content. However, they tend to overforecast snow and stretch the limit of what's reasonably predictable... Saying conservatively 2 feet for Baltimore while within the realm of possibility is a borderline reckless forecast given the skill of computer models and also considering we may have mixing issues (with rain and/or sleet)

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

LOVE LOVE the SNOW!!! (I even went out to Canaan as per your blog coverage about Davis, West Virginia-- Blackwater Falls were GOOOORRRRGGGEEEOOOUSSSSS)

BUT
I am starting to freak out because I have a 7:50pm flight tonight and I am terrified that the tiny snowstorm can wreck my flight plans (big plans in Chicago)!

Based on your experiences, do you think BWI will be OK with this snowstorm?
pleasepleaspleapleaplease assure me.

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

@ CWG - NOAA has revised to estimate 3-7:

This Afternoon: Snow likely, mainly after 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 37. East wind between 3 and 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Snow. Low around 29. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 2, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Dan said "Yesterday afternoon we predicted a coating to 2 inches (not a dusting to 1 inch)" Your prediction, a coating to 2 inches, is not much different from "a dusting to 1 inch" when considering preparations and planning. The forecast was wrong which is ok since weather is never going to be entirely predictable. You don't need to get defensive because of chaotic effects in nature, they are not your fault.

Posted by: eric654 | February 2, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

tomorrow's snow seems like it might be just enough to not keep people home from work...but just enought to cause major delays, crashes and all out transit bedlam.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 2, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

temperatures seem to be trending on the high side...

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

From the text of WSW issued by NWS:
* ACCUMULATIONS...3 TO 6 INCHES.
Capital Weather is calling for 2-4"+ with most accumulations being in the 3-4" range with some seeing 5-6". The forecast are actually quite similar, except for a -1" of cushion on CapWx's forecast. I would have to say that out of all outlets that issue forecast their's usualy is the most accurate the earliest(save some rogue forecast made by forecasters who are paid to make outrageous, irresponsible forecast).
Long range forecasting is hardly an accurate science, and putting out long range forecast with fake confidence is being irresponsible and doing a disservice to those who will be using the product.In the case of weather this is pretty much everyone who has access to the information, and if inaccurate information is given the proper precautions or unnecessary precautions may be taken.
CapWx does a good job of laying out all the facts in a way that people who don't hold knowledge of all the intricacies that go into making these forecasts, are able to understand. If someone wants a cut and dry forecast turn on the weather channel and watch your "local on the 8's". I think it's quite obvious that people appreciate how CapWx conveys their forecast, and the accuracy with which they do it.

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

Light snow just started in Charlottesville (almost 3 pm).

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

UPDATE PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: imherefortheezra | February 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of exact inches is kind of trivial IMHO.

I think forecasts should be thusly (and the SLCB comes pretty close):

any accumulation to 2" - keep your plans, but plan for it being messy

2" to 4" - best just to stay home, but if you get cabin fever you can venture out to the 7-11.

4" to 8" - cancel your plans and blow-off the homework (bread, milk and toilet paper!)

8" to 12" - wait to be dug out

12"+ - Bunker down (for the next few days people - you're on your own!)

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

Radar not looking that great with bulk of precip to the east of us. Thoughts?

Posted by: ZmanVA | February 2, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 2:30 PM

You know, you are probably right, we are arguing over minor details - 1,2,3 inches.

I guess I'm frustrated with the general tenor of this website. I think you all are so concerned about verifying (i.e. beating AccuWx) that you wait for the very last second to make a forecast with totaly hedging.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 2, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Any precip insides the beltway yet?

I need to know when it's going to start raining so I can go out and buy 2 weeks worth of skittles, orange juice, and paper towels.

Posted by: stuckman | February 2, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@rocotten,
Agreed. I'm starting to think we might not have the temps to support the 3-6 inch NWS range. We'll see.

Posted by: GD1975 | February 2, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Should have said "without" totaly hedging.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 2, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi stuckman, yes Beltway area precip is beginning with some sprinkles. Then turning slowly over to mixed precipitation during evening Rush (unfortunately)
Temperatures downtown remain a balmy 40 degrees, but will head toward freezing this evening.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

New update post coming in next 20 minutes

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

JohnnyD, I disagree. One of the problems with the DC area is that I think you have to hedge. There are so many different variables from the Mountains to the Bay and even (sometimes) the Great Lakes that I imagine it makes precise forecasting next to impossible. Besides, CWG is pretty good at narrowing it down for you and letting you know what the possibilities are.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 2, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I understand the reasoning by the post "with this storm getting cranked up, it lessens the chance of the weekend storm getting cranked up"?? How does storm one impact storm two?

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 2, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Having watched/observed last weekend's snow "drama" unfold and also having lived in the D.C. area since 1966, I've experienced many snow forecasts that were completely wrong. Overall, CWG does a great job and CWG and Sue Palka are my "go-to" weather forecasters.

Plus, if you pay close enough attention, you can fill in the blanks. A fair number of people felt by last Thursday evening that the Saturday snow would be a four-inch-plus event. But it was dicey and if you look at the satellite image of the dramatic break in snow cover in southern PA, you can see why percentages, etc. are hedged.

It's really a matter of blending well-honed instincts, meteorological knowledge (which CWG has in spades), and the often labile models, for which I have certain skepticism because I think some forecasters put too much faith in them. But as was noted last weekend, the models should become more reliable when newer technology is in orbit a few years hence.


Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 2, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Radar watching - and I still don't see 3-7" out of this for tonight in DC where we're sitting at 40 degrees. Better be ready to be on the bus in the morning. Rain to start - with maybe an inch or two of snow in DC by the end.

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

It has been snowing here since 11:15. An inch has accumulated on top of the old snow. 99% of pavement is only wet. Only beginning to stick a little on pavement in continuously shaded areas. My deck has a trace of slush. Temp. 33.

This should say something to folks in DC who wish for significant accumulations on pavement, unless it snows rather heavily later tonight. National reported 41 degrees at 3 pm.

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 2, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@johnyd

I'll join in the party of responding, and I understand where you are coming from. All sizable events this winter have seen us catching up to the eventual final accumulations, from Dec 19 to last Saturday (to today). However, I'd argue that this is typically the opposite for this region, and we may be showing our bias towards lower totals in a period (thriving el nino with strong blocking) that clearly is going to buck the multi-year trend that has served us so well in the past.

I can assure you that if we are low-balling results, it is not for hopes of verification. It was with last weekends storm that we were having a discussion with someone who felt that our SLCB basically made it impossible to verify when we would give a 12 inch range (If we were just going for verification, then we'd stop putting totals and thoughts out 5 days in advance). If anything, we are trying to best translate and describe what the atmospheric setup currently is and what we think will happen. However, that has seemed to be less reliable this winter than others.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Come on you all... Let's not get so frustrated. I for one appreciate the gang's candor the past few days. They actually had the guts to say what was their best guess, what wasn't, etc. I didn't hear that on TWC or on TV!!

BTW, I'm sooo over this snow! Southbridgedad fell on some black ice yesterday. Hairline ankle fracture-- out of commission for 6 weeks. Southbridgemom is quite overwhelmed at this point, trying to prepare for the unknown.

Dan, Matt, and all 'youz guyz' -- keep doing what you're doing. Keep the candor, go out on a limb when you think it's appropriate. I'm with ya. I need the heads up and I need the honest input from you all now...

Posted by: southbridgemom | February 2, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Really catching them all this winter even the smaller storms with regards to snow amounts :( this really wasnt the winter to miss. This weekend is a classic Miller type B storm coming together and right now it looks beautiful could be within the bullseye zone once again another chance the following week how overwhelming this snow could turn out to be within the next week and a half

Posted by: jmc732msstate | February 2, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

CWG over on footsforecast they predicted on thursday night that the snow would come further north this past weekend and had said from last monday over six inches. on the other hand you had posted a map on SATURDAY morning saying that northern baltimore county would get a dusting. we got over 6 INCHES. And high school students were helping make the forecasts that turned out to be right. and a student forecasted 12 hours in adavance that the snow would starty in southern maryland at 9 and it started at 9:01. How is that reckless forecasting????

Posted by: snowlover3 | February 2, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi CWG
i just wanted to say that i love you guys! i have so much fun tracking storms with you guys and reading everyones comments even though i dont really understand a lot of it....
just a few questions about tonights storm....
im seeing that for the metro area we should get 3 to 6 inches of snow tonight? would that be an okay estimation?
also what would you think about montgomery county school getting closed tomorrow? we didnt have a cancellation or 2 hr delay today if that makes a difference...
thanks so much!!!!!! love you guys!!!

Posted by: jjsoccer1125 | February 2, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@eric654

Thanks for the comment ... not trying to be defensive at all. Just correcting an incorrect statement. A coating to 2 inches, and a mention that it could be less or a little more depending on storm track, is not the same as saying a dusting to 1" (at least in my opinion). Mainly, I was trying to point out that the forecast yesterday (and quite purposely so) was providing a wider margin than a dusting to 1", and the added mention that it could be a little more or less was our best effort to be transparent about the uncertainty. I agree that assuming we end up with 2-4" tonight that it would be fair to characterize yesterday's forecast as wrong. But that's how almost all weather forecasts work. They are predictions and almost always change as you get closer to an event, no matter how much wiggle room and uncertainty you incorporate.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

NWS now has 100% chance of snow tonight, and 80% chance Friday night/Saturday.

Posted by: kathyb39 | February 2, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

18z Nam lowers 24 hr. qpf for DC by approx .20". Will be interesting!

Good luck CWG. I think you guys generally do a great job. Much better than the NWS.

Example - NWS issued a WSW for my area at noon. The text indicated a total of 3 - 6 inches. The zone forecast for Augusta issued at the same time indicated 4-8 "!

Posted by: AugustaJim | February 2, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Lots of anger today. Emotions are running high.

All of the snow-is-evil posts made me think about what purpose it serves to throw a wet blanket on a bunch of snow-lovers' hopes.

All I can come up with is either: A. Venting frustrations, or B. Intentionally raining on someone else's parade.

The former is understandable, and in many ways healthy, as long as you don't take it too far. The latter reminds me of a scene from "The Simpsons" where Moe (The always down bar keep) is at the mall standing next to his car pretending like he is about to leave, for the sole purpose of watching the disappointed look on parking space seekers' faces as he tells them he is not leaving... "I live for that moment when hope dies" (Or something like that)...and is, well, depressing.

I just cannot come up with any other reasons to post negativity on a site that predicts weather.

Geez. It's either going to snow, or not, and there is nothing any one of us can do about it.

Posted by: dprats21 | February 2, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@snowlover3 ,
foots seemed to do well when the last storm vastly overperformed, but compare that to the Dec 19th storm. These forecast totals are for Friday(Dec 18) at 2pm.

For Richmond, CWG had them in the 4-8, Foots had them at 22". They got 8.5.

For BWI & IAD, CWG had them in 16-24, Foots had them at 28" and 22" respectivly. They verified at 21" and 16".

As mentioned, they tend to over forecast, which works out well when a storm over-performs. Not saying that won't happen again, but If I was betting on accumulation totals, I'd take the under for whatever number Foots puts out.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@snowlover3

Wasn't referring to last week's forecast from Foots site (which was good), was referring to the call for conservatively over 2 feet this coming weekend. As mentioned before, Foots Site provides some great content and gets it right sometimes, but have noticed a tendency to overforecast snow over there and oversell the impact of other events.

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

what about the forecast you guys had this past weekend when you posted a map on saturday moring showing a dusting to 2 inches for northern baltimore county. FF had seen the trend of the storm going north and a high school student predicited the start time down to the minute!

Posted by: snowlover3 | February 2, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

FYI, my husband has reported that the snow just started in Gainesville around 3:35. Also, PWCS afternoon activities have been canceled.

Posted by: jaradel | February 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, can we stop beating the CWG up?? It's SNOW, not MONEY falling from the sky! If it were $20 dollar bills and quarters fluttering down on us, you bet your sweet bippy I'd want an accurate forecast. But it's not, so hush up and enjoy the snow with the wonder you used to as a child, the way you used to before you became bitter and self important. Put the iPhone/Blackberry down and enjoy the show Mother Nature will put on for us today and this weekend, ok?!?! :P Sheesh Louise!

Posted by: sigmagrrl | February 2, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@snowlover3

1) We don't focus on Baltimore county, but the DC metro area 2) Said it before, FootsForecast did a nice job with the last event.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the outstanding weather updates we get here. I frequent this site for reliable and accurate information...now, let the snow begin !!!!!!!!!

Posted by: weatherwacther | February 2, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

For those looking for the latest information, check out our newest thread

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It's NOT the CWG people who have been messing up (and we aren't dissing them), but the TV forecasters. For every significant storm this season, the TV people have told us that the precip was going to stop some 5-7 hours before it actually does. They look at the radar pictures and don't notice that the same areas, on the southern end of the precipitation shield, just keep getting filled in, again and again, for hours, and don't actually move north or east. That has significantly added to the snow totals of the storms in question.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 2, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Models - weekend models? What are they doing? Hourly updates would be about right for my addiction. Great job.

Steady snow Reston everything lovely white - street thoroughly covered. Snow puppies thankful for the fresh coat of snow - evening walk excitement.

Posted by: Rmjw | February 2, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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