The bottom line is that there is likely to be a sharp gradient with this storm's precipitation field that's very sensitive to the exact track and strength of the low. So it wouldn't take much for us to get more or less than our 3-6" forecast. We're sticking with that 3-6" forecast for the time being.
With the details of this developing storm yet to fully crystallize, one might be tempted to call this a "wait and see" situation. But we do have some confidence that there will be some snow tomorrow, possibly significant, and that conditions will generally deteriorate as you head northeast.
There has been a slight backing off in the snow amounts forecast by some of the model guidance late this morning. As we've been discussing for several days now, this forecast has been extremely difficult and, unfortunately, the benefit of nearing closer to the onset of the storm isn't helping a lot. Based on the latest information, we'll call for a most likely accumulation of 3-6" - with more east of Prince George's county and less west of Fairfax county. However, there is the considerable possibility of other outcomes. By later today, we'll try to narrow this down further and put together an accumulation map and timeline.
The entire metro region - including western suburbs such as Loudoun, Fauquier and Frederick counties - are now under the winter storm watch Sunday and Sunday night. The light snow falling this morning, likely to produce only a dusting or so, is not part of the storm expected tomorrow
No white Christmas this year, but we may see a few flakes fall here and there during the day. It's also going to be cloudy and cold with highs in the 30s. All eyes are on tomorrow though as a storm we've been tracking for a week tries to impact on the area. How big an impact? That's a question still to be resolved.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE SUNDAY NIGHT. Watch includes entire metro region.
The latest guidance continues to support a storm track closer to the coast (further west), although the models have yet to reach consensus on how much precipitation will make it into the metro region. In light of the latest model trends, we now believe there is a 50-60 percent chance of at least 1", and about a one in three chance of more than four inches.
Model guidance this afternoon has shifted the track of the developing storm on Sunday slightly west and closer to the coast. As a result, we think there is a better chance the metro region sees accumulating snow than we did just a few hours ago.
It's tempting to throw in the towel for the prospects of meaningful snow this weekend, but we're holding off. Enough uncertainty remains with respect to how this storm will evolve that we can't yet entirely rule out some snow.
While it doesn't look like much snow, if any, will fall this Christmas...let's take a look back at some of the biggest December 25 snows... The largest storm on Dec. 24 or 25 was one which ended, and dropped most of its snow on, Christmas Eve in 1966.
Christmas Eve is thankfully calm weather-wise around here, and for all of the East Coast for that matter. Wind that has been pestering us all month long continues, but it's lighter than yesterday and mixed with chilly but not frigid temperatures. There's some good news! Oh, that weekend snow threat? It's still giving us a few headaches, though odds of much are low.
Temperatures cracked the 40-degree mark for the third straight day, but you wouldn't have known it with today's raging winds. Gusts neared or topped 40 mph at all three area airports. These winds only very gradually settle down tonight through tomorrow while temperatures remain wintry but not bitter.
The odds of getting a major storm this Christmas weekend have diminished - it's looking more and more like the storm will be a glancing blow or a miss.
Every time it does snow in December, which has become more common over the past decade, I try to get out to photograph the National Christmas Tree and/or Capitol Christmas Tree with snow. I've been out photographing the trees with snow in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010.
Who cares about the next few days of seasonably chilly weather?! The real focus of travelers and snow lovers alike is the potential Sunday snowstorm. The question is not whether there will be a strong nor'easter but whether the storm hugs the coast and throws heavy snows across the region or is too far out to sea and manages nothing more than flurries.
I'm trying something new tonight: I'll post quick thoughts as the different computer models stream in as well as other odds and ends (about every 15-30 minutes). Keep your finger near the refresh button... 1:15 a.m. update: European model a tad more out to sea and not as intense as...
For the past week, the precipitation has just kept coming and coming and coming into central and southern California. We've discussed the snow in the Sierra Nevada, reaching peak depths of 16 feet near Mammoth Mountain - after another one to two feet today. In the southern California, the onslaught of storms has produced record rains, flooding, and mudslides. But what happens when some of the energy from the Express emerges in the south central U.S. and Southeast Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and runs into unusually cold air?
High temperatures near normal? It's been a while, but we got there with readings in the low-and-mid 40s today. Unfortunately, it's fleeting and strong cold winds are about to return. Be prepared to hang on to your hat on Thursday and also plan to bundle up as wind chills make highs largely in the 30s feel much colder.
Remarkably, the images of snow that seemed to be emanating from Snow Lover's Crystal Ball are not as clear as it looked this time on Monday even though we are creeping up on weekend. For a lot of people trying to plan holiday travel, let us preface this by saying we fully recognize that our forecast - which leaves open the possibilities ranging from a dusting to a blizzard -- may not be terribly helpful. Yes, we know it's the kind of prediction that forecasters get made fun of for.
It's that time of year again to showcase this year's weather in photos! There are two categories: Snowmageddon and Other Weather. Each person may submit no more than one relevant photo to each category (for a total of two possible per person). Email your submissions to email@example.com. We'll pick our favorites to post right here on the Weather Gang blog.
It may not be what you'd call "bitter" cold. But it has been a consistent, heavy-winter-jacket-required cold. There's no immediate end to the cold in sight, at least not through Christmas weekend. Speaking of which, the holiday snow threat continues to be a wait-and-see situation.
The images above show the latest simulations for the potential weekend (extending into Monday for the European model) storm from the most recent operational versions of the GFS (American) and European computer models. The GFS model (run this afternoon) indicates very light snow Christmas afternoon and evening with the modest storm mostly going out to sea. The European model (run this morning) simulates the same system as a full-fledged blizzard Sunday into Monday.
For the first time in more than a week, we escaped the 30s. But the (unofficial) high of 41 is still four degrees below average. We remain locked in a cold pattern which shows no immediate sign of meaningfully relaxing. As such, a chilly evening and Wednesday lie ahead.
There are several scenarios for winter weather this holiday weekend. What do you think will happen?
There's little doubt that a storm, originating from the Pacific (and dumping heavy rain and snow there), will cut across the southern United States Thursday and Friday arriving in the Southeast. Plenty of cold air should be in place for any precipitation that reaches the metro region to fall as snow. The big question is how much moisture and precipitation will, in fact, reach the area Christmas Day.
Since we're tracking the potential of snow on Christmas, a look at what we've seen in the past is in order. While D.C. is not the place to be historically if you're hoping to see a white Christmas or snow falling on that day, it has happened, with even a moderate storm or two in the books.
Our balance-of-week weather is being driven by two factors: consistent cold flow from the northwest and intermittent cloud cover from Pacific disturbances. The result is consistent colder-than-normal temperatures right up to Christmas Eve and variable sky conditions (but no precipitation is expected). We continue to monitor the chance of snow around Christmas.
Since Friday, the storm total is 9 feet to 13 1/2 feet of snow! Mammoth received 32" of snow in the last 24 hrs and is expecting at least another 1-2 feet throughout today. This storm has broken the record of the snowiest December ever recorded since first recording in 1969! Mammoth has also just been named to having the most snow in the World by SkiInfo.com!
Winter arrives tomorrow, but we've already been dealing with wintry temperatures for some time now. Today's highs in the mid-and-upper 30s almost felt like a reprieve. That is, if the wind was not keeping wind chills lower. The good news: lunar eclipse fans shouldn't have to battle sky conditions too much overnight -- just bundle up!
If you've been dreaming of a white Christmas, this might be your year. Computer models are forecasting that an area of low pressure will track across the country with plenty of cold air feeding it. The low will pass to our south and be somewhere off the coast of North Carolina by sometime early Christmas morning setting the stage for the possibility of a white Christmas.
One of the things that makes tracking the weather so interesting is that even though conditions may be boring where you live, they're bound to be extreme somewhere else. The 2010-2011 meteorological winter (which started Dec. 1) has been no exception to this rule so far. Although Washington hasn't seen any "Snowmageddon"-style storms so far this winter, Europe has been slammed by relentless assaults of bitter cold and heavy snowfalls. So what has been causing this freak winter weather onslaught in Europe, and the colder-than-average conditions in much of the eastern U.S., including Washington?
It's another cold and windy week ahead but we're getting pretty used to it. We're averaging seven degrees colder than normal this month, and only two days have been warmer than average. Cold and mainly dry weather persists through Thursday before a possible winter storm Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.
The threat for accumulating snow on Tuesday has significantly diminished as it now appears the weak disturbance will pass to our north and not produce much more than light snow or flurries Tuesday afternoon or night. It's unlikely to amount to much (less than 20% chance of an inch) and may not snow, especially south of the District. However, computer models are converging on a legitimate threat for a winter storm starting Christmas Eve and continuing into Christmas Day.
The storm that once threatened to aim for the D.C. area passes harmlessly out to sea today, resulting in a farily nice, albeit cold, shopping day. The cold isn't going away anytime soon, which paves the way for a chance of light snow on Tuesday. Could Christmas bring a snowy surprise as well?