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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/ 3/2010

Forecast: Patchy snow & rain before warm-up

By Dan Stillman

Little to no accumulation; 50s on the way

* Varying predictability of snow | New England "bomb" | CWG T-Shirts! *
* Outside now? Radar, webcam & more: Weather Wall *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2Damp & breezy, maybe some spotty snow & rain. Saving grace is warmer weather to come.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Patchy light snow and rain. Cloudy & breezy. Near 40. | Tonight: Cloudy & breezy. Low-to-mid 30s. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny & breezy. Low-to-mid 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


It's too early in March to call last night's and today's spotty light snow and rain (and raw breeze) winter's last gasp. (And if it is, it sure doesn't do justice to the winter we've had.) At the very least, though, today will be the most winter-like day we see for a while. Dry and gradually warmer weather takes hold tomorrow through the weekend, when sunshine and 50s should make the outdoors more appealing than it's been in a long time.

Radar: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation over past three hours. Powered by HAMweather. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Wednesday): Cloudy skies yield a 50/50 chance of some patchy light snow or rain today. Little or no accumulation expected. A raw wind from the northwest at 10-20 mph with some higher gusts adds a siginificant chill to highs near 40. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Any precipitation peters out by evening, though dampness remains in the air. Cloudy skies and 10-20 mph winds from the northwest should keep lows from dropping much below the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the (pretty sweet-looking) weekend....

Tomorrow (Thursday): I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the constant breeze. It continues tomorrow at 10-20 mph from the northwest. On the bright side, temperatures improve a little over today, with highs in the low-to-mid 40s under partly sunny skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: One of these nights we'll get the clear skies and light winds needed for temperatures to really tank. Doesn't look like it'll be tomorrow night, though. Under partly cloudy skies, breezes persist from the northwest as lows settle in the upper 20s to low 30s in the suburbs, low-to-mid 30s inside the Beltway. Confidence: Medium-High


Friday shapes up similar to Thursday with partly sunny skies and highs in the low-to-mid 40s. A steady breeze from the northwest around 10-15 mph keeps things feeling kind of cold. Lows Friday night head for the upper 20s to low 30s Confidence: Medium-High

Nicest weekend we've had in a while. Plenty of sun should push highs to the upper 40s to low 50s on Saturday, and mid-to-upper 50s on Sunday. And don't forget there's an increasing amount of daylight time to enjoy the sun, with Saturday's and Sunday's sunset at 6:06 p.m. and 6:07 p.m., respectively. Saturday night lows dip to the upper 20s to mid-30s. Confidence: Medium

By Dan Stillman  | March 3, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sloppy snow and rain mostly not sticking
Next: Is the snow season over?


First? Snow, nada, not down here in Ft Washington. As a matter of fact, I was struck by how warm it felt when I walked down the driveway to get my print edition. Sigh, bye bye winter.....

Posted by: ftwash | March 3, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Where's all that snow snow lovers and snow hypers? Hey Joe Bastardi, where's that 4-8 inches of snow you said we were gonna get? Here in Fairfax the ground looks the same it did when I went to bed - bare. No snow. Not even a trace.

Posted by: rwalker66 | March 3, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Thankfully, it appears those late model runs were somewhat inaccurate.

Now, bring on the sun and warmer temps.

Personally, I think that was our last threat of accumulating snow, but only time will tell if that's true.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 3, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I thought that February 5th was the nicest weekend we've had in a long, long while. But that's my opinion.

Posted by: cgindc | March 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: snowlover31 | March 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse


"snow lovers" is one thing, "snow hypers" is another. i sure DO hope someone who goes on bastardi's blog "calls him out".

a clever commenter here (forgive me i don't remember who) said bastardi has correctly predicted 28 of the past 3 big storms. that totally cracked me up - because it seems true.

now, i can only go by what people report here because i don't read bastardi's blog (it's "pay" right?), but it does seem like every storm threat someone posts here about how "bastardi's bullish about this one" or "bastardi's saying 8" for washington" or whatever. i would LOVE to see a "post-mortem" analysis of his snow predictions for this year.

now, perhaps this is a false impression on my part because maybe no one reports back here when bastardi backs down from those bullish predictions, or maybe i'm remembering selectively or something?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

CWG- any plans to do a "Spring Outlook" post similar to the Winter Outlook posts? Seems to me that spring would be the hardest season to forecast in this area, but it would be interesting to hear your take. I remember last spring it seemed like there would be a pattern of raw weekends, gradually improving to the point where Friday's weather would be gorgeous, only to have another front slip in to create another raw and rainy weekend. Are we looking at the same thing this year?

I'm tired of all this talk of winter!

Posted by: bkriner | March 3, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

cgindc, you said,
"Frankly, I thought that February 5th was the nicest weekend we've had in a long, long while."

ahh....feb. 5th....indeed, a beautiful weekend! dec. 19th was "nice" too! weekend of feb. 5th was a few inches beeter...and was followed by a really "nice" week, too.

as i recall the "daily digit", annoyingly, was not anywhere near 10 on either of those weekends.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

At elevation in eastern Warren, I measured 1 and 1/8th inch of snow this morning. Foggy and extremely light snow falling. 29.7F.

Posted by: spgass1 | March 3, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

dangit, meant to say,
weekend of feb. 5th was a few inches nicer

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Accuweather hypes every single storm in sight - their track record this year for DC is actually not bad, when you consider how many bulls-eye strikes we got, but that is pure coincidence.

Posted by: fleeciewool | March 3, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Not a trace at 980' between two ridge lines running off of the Blue Ridge outside of Sperryville, 30 miles W of Warrenton.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | March 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

So glad this "storm" was a bust - bring on spring and 60 and 70 degree days!

Posted by: Axel2 | March 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Depending on the elevation on the farm the ground is either bare or has a light dusting in Upperville.

I was talking to some friends about medium term Spring, Summer and Fall outlook yesterday and they were talking about computer model runs after the earthquake in Chile w/shift in the earth's axis now predicting a long term decline in the earth's average temp and the possibility
of a mild ice age approx 50 years from now.

Some of the modeling was done by USGS and top U's. It is only preliminary work. Poor Al Gore. My sheep were so happy they passed
extra gas.

Their Spring outlook for this area is temps below normal for the first third and then normal temps with an outbreak of very severe weather in late May and June similar to 96.

Posted by: sheepherder | March 3, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Sheepherder, I read that the axis only shifted a few inches. It's hard for me to believe that would have any measurable effect...

Posted by: spgass1 | March 3, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter / Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here / Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and I say it's all right"

And with that, welcome to SPRINGTIME, snowmaniacs! ;) Finally time to dust off the golf clubs.

Posted by: nocando | March 3, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

1.25" snow past 24 hrs. This brings my season total to 62.50"

This has been the third snowiest winter to date during the past 118 years. Number 1 was 1995-1996 with 65.8 inches. Number 2 was 1917-1918 with 64.9 inches.

9am- cloudy, snow furries, 34.3F, northerly wind 13-17 mph.

Posted by: AugustaJim | March 3, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

We're not going to do post mortem on this pathetic storm, but some brief thoughts...

We clearly "busted" with the afternoon update where we called for 1-3 inches of snow--the radar at that time looked good and the afternoon models trended far enough west with the storm center that we thought we'd get into some steady precip. In turned out, that shift to the west was just a blip and we just got brushed by 5 to 6 hours of light precip which wasn't heavy enough to bring down the cold air for accumulation. Then everything shifted east and precip fell apart. On the plus side, we never indicated there would be accumulation on the roads, and our afternoon update indicated a 35% chance there would be less than inch.

We also correctly downplayed the snow in the morning and later in the evening--but wish we could have that afternoon update back...

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 3, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@CWG: Thanks for your admission that the afternoon update was a bust, but I take exception to your statement "On the plus side, we never indicated there would be accumulation on the roads".

Copied and pasted from your afternoon forecast you clearly did say there would be accumulation on the roads:

Accumulation: We currently expect about 1-3" of snow to accumulate overnight and tomorrow, mainly on grassy surfaces, but with a dusting to 1" possible on roads.

Posted by: rwalker66 | March 3, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse


You're right. Forgot we said that.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 3, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I like it when they call for snow, even if it doesn't come through. I don't know why.

This is "as usual" for the area.rain/mix

Posted by: celestun100 | March 3, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

A dusting on the roads is so little that it is not necessary to report it anyhow. It basically means "no snow". I doubt that people around here actually read the reports and drive differently.

CWG You are very honest with your reporting and do a good job.

Posted by: celestun100 | March 3, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm so confused. Why was CWG DEADLY accurate to the point of making me start to feel like I was living in Minnesota these past few months, only now to return to typical "oh it's gonna snow, it's gonna snow, WHOOPS IT RAINED!" Washington reporting these past two "storms?" I love CWG. I even bought two tee-shirts! I don't mean to be a jerk. It just throws me for such a loop. It was such a nice feeling to actually GET snow when people called for it. I woke up this morning, looked out the window and sighed... things are back to normal around here. Snow = rain. This is why everyone beats up on the DC forecasters. Yuck. :-(

Posted by: MarylanDChris | March 3, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Great forecast CWG! I would not beat yourself up over upping the accums in the afternoons. AS you said both the radar and models trended west with the storm... and the way this winter has gone you had to up your numbers.

I of course started snowcasting and let my snow-loving emotions get into play thinking we would get more :)

Posted by: where_is_snowmonster | March 3, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

sheepherder, you said,
" model runs after the earthquake in Chile w/shift in the earth's axis now predicting a long term decline in the earth's average temp and the possibility of a mild ice age approx 50 years from now."

really?! USGS models predict that?! can you show me the math? got any better source than "some friends"? perhaps joe bastardi?

just wondering where this stuff comes from. reminiscent of a claim that brian valentine made about the indonesian quake. (i actually forget if he said it would cause warming or cooling, but the fact is its effect was unbelievable miniscule.)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse


Nice post mortem. In the end, you had a good a handle on this storm all week excluding that afternoon blip. My only hope is that you didn't feel pressured by any posters to make that afternoon change. I know one in particular was badgering you to increase your snow forecast.

You all do a good job and I certainly trust your forecasts.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 3, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

While I have no idea what if any effect the Chile quake had on global warming/cooling, it did tilt the axis enough to shorten the day ever so slightly for the Earth.

So, I wouldn't outright dismiss any claims of other effects as well. From a climate change perspective, maybe it will have an effect, maybe it won't.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 3, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't have said it better myself, CWG :)

Short ramble on my end. It's interesting how the measurable snow events this season were fairly well forecast, but the more traditional "duck and miss" events that we often see in DC, and which we've had the last couple of weeks, less so (other than the wind intensity for the "snowicane"). I think the models usually have a particularly poor handle on the marginal-type events -- and in part, result in the message boards running hot even when the weather has no chance of verifying pre-storm thoughts.

By the way -- Bastardi predicting 4-8 inches was a much worse miss than the CWG afternoon forecast. Consider how irresponsible that type of forecasting can be -- problems invariably ensue when a forecast separate and apart from NWS varies so wildly from NWS. The fact that NWS never even put out a WWA on this should have meant something. Just food for thought.

Jamie Y (aka Weather Checker)

Posted by: JamieYPotomac | March 3, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

the quake shortened the day by .00000126 seconds. no wonder i haven't been getting as much done lately...

i have not heard/read anything (reputable) about this or any earthquake-related "axis shift" affecting climate.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

hey Weather Checker,
has bastardi "backed off" his 4-8" forcast for this area yet? ;-)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 3, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

11a update: 1 3/8ths inches. Lightly snowing, 31.8F.

While I'm technically outside of CWG's forecast area in Warren County, western Fauquier is having the same weather. These events are a bit interesting where the models show less precip to the west, but the elevation/colder temps allows for more accumulation.

Posted by: spgass1 | March 3, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


The small storms have been tough to forecast this season. With a couple of exceptions, we just can't seem to buy a 1-3" or 2-4" storm this year... it's either all or nothing. It's a difficult situation for forecasters with some of the smaller storms such as last night's/today's. Although the odds were weighted toward little or no snow, model information yesterday trending the storm closer to the coast put us on the doorstep of getting several inches here. That makes it very hard to go with, say, a 0-1" forecast, when several inches is within the realm of possibility, even if our experience and instincts tell us it's unlikely. So in the end, we overdid accumulation like most everyone else did (as much as you can call a rather meager-sounding 1-3" on grassy areas overdoing it), but were pretty much on the mark in consistently saying the storm would have little impact. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 3, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Re: storm predictions in DC. The usual winter pattern is for models to be off again on again for each run. One run its a foot, the other its nothing, the other its 3".

Outside the last 2 storms, that didnt happen here in DC. In fact, I was amazed at how early and how confidently (especially given their conservative nature) CWG was calling for big storms this year.

Thus my winter rule is:

First, if CWG, NWS, Accuhype, etc are all basically in agreement about whats gonna happen, it pretty much happens. (i.e. if they say big snow, we get it, if they say no snow we get it).


If forecasters disagree, and forecasts change, especially late in the game, the chances are good that the DC snowcurse is in effect and we will almost always err on the side of getting nothing.

Thus, I went to bed last night, reasonably confident that this 1-3 or 4-8 would be a big fat juicy nothingburger...and I woke up this morning not the least bit disappointed.

Posted by: SJ43560 | March 3, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This crud coming down from the north seems to have pretty good coverage. I guess I was only expecting passing light showers.

Seems like months since we've been able to string 3 consecutive sunny days together.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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