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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/11/2010

Forecast: Chill eases before frigid blast

By Jason Samenow

Chance of rain tonight, freezing rain far N & W

(originally posted at 5 a.m., updated at 10:45 a.m.)

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.


40s for the first time in almost a week feel good, but wet tonight.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly cloudy. Low-to-mid 40s. | Tonight: Increasing rain chances, possibly starting as wintry mix well N & W. 32-38. | Tomorrow: Rain showers at times. Mid-to-upper 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Temperatures make a triumphant return into the 40s today after five days of 30s. But bear in mind "average" is in the upper 40s. There's little time to enjoy the brief warm-up as rain, possibly starting as a wintry mix (well N&W of DC), arrives tonight and continues tomorrow. Then, a cold snap more intense than the previous comes crashing down on us Sunday night not without the chance of a few snow showers.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (→) - Accumulating snow Sunday night seems pretty unlikely. But we've got a new light event to track for late next week.

The SPI is a daily assessment of snow potential for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter

Radar & lightning: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Saturday): We may awaken to a little sun but clouds become dominant as low pressure approaches. The incoming flow from the east helps temps reach into the 40s, but probably not too far due to the cloud cover. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: By evening, skies are likely overcast with a 30% chance of rain developing after around 8 p.m. increasing to 70% after midnight. At the onset, the precipitation could begin as sleet, particularly well north and west of the District toward western Montgomery and Loudoun counties. The furthest outlying areas (into Frederick county) could also get a bit of freezing rain before turning to just plain rain late at night. Temperatures range from the low 30s in those colder spots to the mid-to-upper 30s inside the beltway and downtown. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow (Sunday): Occasional rain showers are likely but high rainfall amounts are not (probably around 0.25"). We could see a lull in the action - particularly from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Winds from the south at 10-20 mph boost highs well into the 40s to even near 50 - about our "average." The front pushes through late in the afternoon toward early evening, probably producing a round of gusty showers followed by falling temps. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: By mid-evening the front will have pushed through and temperatures steadily descend through the 30s. Any lingering rain showers may mix with and change to snow showers (30% chance) especially north and west of the District. Most of the precipitation is likely over by 8-10 p.m., but some scattered snow showers or flurries cannot be ruled later at night when temperatures fall back from 22-27 (suburbs-city). Anything that falls after 8-10 p.m. could produce slick spots. Winds from northwest pick-up, increasing to 10-20 mph by morning with higher gusts. Confidence: Low-Medium


Very cold air rushes into the region both Monday and Tuesday, coupled with powerful winds. Highs Monday are in the low 30s and only in the upper 20s to near 30 Tuesday. Winds are from the northwest at 20-30 mph with gusts over 40 mph possible. This will cause day time wind chills in the teens dropping to near zero at night, when air temperatures fall back into the teens. Confidence: Medium

By Jason Samenow  | December 11, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Cold tonight, milder Saturday
Next: SkinsCast: Damp, but not too cold


I don't mind snow at all but ice is another story. I'll be really annoyed if Gaithersburg gets freezing rain tonight.

Posted by: casaeva | December 11, 2010 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Hey, come on, you write:

"we've got a new light event to track for late next week."

But then nothing else to say?

We know it's still beyond the confidence range, but new rule, you cannot tease us like that!

Posted by: jaybird926 | December 11, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jaybird926. If you are going to "put it out there" please provide some explanation. You doing that reminds me how News 4 plays BREAKING NEWS MUSIC at the start of each newscast to grab your attention only for the viewer to realize that the "Breaking News" was just another water main break in D.C.

Posted by: greg2010 | December 11, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

I disagree, greg2010. The SPI is just a blurb about potential, and 'light track' gives enough of an explantation to me for now.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 11, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to hearing more about this light event coming late week ASAP. I know its far out but all info is appreciated.

What im really looking to see is if this will be a plow/salt event. The sooner I can find out these things the easier I can plan/prepare at work. Tight budget on salt this year, especially for us smaller municipalities.

Posted by: KRUZ | December 11, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

re: late week "light" event --

Both the GFS and Euro show a weak system moving from west to east just to our south. It doesn't look particularly energetic and not a lot of moisture to work with. Also, cold air may be eroding and the exact track can't be pinned down. So a lot of variables at play. We'll do something detailed on this Monday.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Jason, pretty much summed up the threat for later in the week. I'll write something about it Monday morning.

Posted by: wjunker | December 11, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

To change the subject, does anyone know what happened to meteorologist Devon Lucie at Channel 9? I haven't seen him on air lately, and his bio has been removed from the station's website. DCRTV reported last week that they've hired a new meteorologist, but I really liked Devon and it's a shame he's gone. It's also a shame that WUSA is only going with three people on their weather team (Topper, Howard, new hire) when all the other stations have an on-air staff of at least four.

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 11, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Q for CWG: Leaving aside the issue of what precip type to expect tonight through Sunday, does this system have much moisture in it? Is it going to produce a lot of rain/frz rain/sleet/snow or not much?

Posted by: tinkerbelle | December 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

a "light event"?

that could mean "not heavy" - as in not much precipitation.

it could mean "light" colored - like snow.

or it could mean "not dark" - like jason is predicting a series of sunrises next week.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 11, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the GFS... I know its way too far out, but it looks like an all out blizzard at 384 hours LOL. Although last dec. 19th storm looked almost identical at 384 hours out too LOL

Its all fantasy at this point. But snow on Xmas holiday equals double OT for me ;)

Posted by: KRUZ | December 11, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse


I don't think a lot of precip. Maybe 0.25-0.5".

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

i saw that you talked about road salting and having "plan/prepare" for storms.

driving to my relatives (whom i love dearly even though we disagree on politics and global warming) on thanksgiving i noticed that the beltway had been "pre-salted". not a drop of rain/sleet/snow had fallen and yet i could see that semi-opaque coating of dried saltwater on the pavement.

that's got to be bad for the environment and a waste of the snow-clearing budget.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Last year, a Georgetown home game was a definite indicator for a significant snowstorm. Alas, no such luck so far this year.

Posted by: NoVAHoyaDan | December 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse


Yeah its hard because its a damned if you do, damned if you dont kind of deal. When you pre treat a road and/or bridge and nothing happens it looks bad. But on the other hand, if you dont pre treat roads and/or bridges and there are accidents then that looks bad :/

Thats why checking any and all weather related sites and channels is a part of my daily routine, especially in the winter because its a BIG part of my job. Often times when the mets get it wrong, I do too.

So yeah, as leader of a small municipality and a small DPW im always try to find that balance and make the right call to prevent wasting money but also prevent accidents.... and worse.

But IMO its always better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by: KRUZ | December 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Walter I don't know if they pretreat with salt or something else (maybe better for the environment). In any case the pretreatment didn't work out here, I was in Rosslyn, but I talked with people at the flea market who saw lots of cars off the road on 81 around Winchester with 2 of them upside down.

After yesterday's snow all of our state roads are covered with salt and grit so now they are really pretreated. It is warmer though, 40 in the valley and 43 up on the mountain where I am headed.

Posted by: eric654 | December 11, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I thought a "light event" might mean that we could see the aurora borealis. Now that would be exciting.

Posted by: grobinette | December 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Thought I just saw Devon on Channel 9 within the last week or two. Anyway, Channel 9 is rather notorious for this...they dropped Kim Martucci at the beginning of the year; Kim has been juggling motherhood [son Max is about two months old] with occasional weekend duty on Channel 4--she was on air the weekend after Thanksgiving. As for the weather, it may be too warm for significant snow, and the "light event" is more of a fantasy at present. BTW there are still a few crickets around--though the subfreezing cricket killer on Tuesday ought to put a stop to that. Only the tiny ground crickets are left.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 11, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Re Channel 9...they are owned by Gannett/USA Today, and Gannett has been having some financial issues of late, explaining why they may only retain three meteorologists rather than four or five. Gannett's financial issue relate to the general problems prevalent in the newspaper industry. Other newspaper companies...the Washington Post and Lee Enterprises...have also been struggling to some extent during the current recession, as advertising revenue has been declining. Recently there has been some evidence of a pickup in advertising revenue.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 11, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

NWS says it is possible for there to be light accumulation of snow tomorrow night- "Sunday Night: Rain and snow showers before 1am, then a chance of snow showers. Low around 29. Southwest wind 6 to 15 mph becoming northwest. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible."

So we could have a light dusting covering stuff on Monday morning but probably not enough to do anything.

Posted by: cubscapsfan | December 11, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, geez. I want the rain, but now we're not getting the half inch I heard bandied about? Story of the year, drought after record snowfalls. Would love to see a dusting of snow on its way out (if we ever get it!)

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 11, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

The last few runs of the GFS (0z included) are showing that upper level disturbance Monday morning in Virginia. It does look weak, but I think we could squeeze an inch out of it. Even a light dusting will make the Monday morning rush an icy one, because of the cold temperatures.

Posted by: rapotter | December 11, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Blue Ridge Mtns report east of Front Royal (elev ~1900 ft)...

After a high temp of 39.6F today, the current temperature is 30.2F... experiencing light freezing rain...

Posted by: spgass1 | December 11, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Rapotter, I noticed the same thing... GFS showing precip persisting more on Monday vs NAM...

...which will be correct?

Posted by: spgass1 | December 11, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Rain in Centreville VA.
Hideous weather.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 11, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, the NAM does not have anything. Though my instinct is to go with the GFS on this one. It has had s much better grasp of this storm than the far. Plus the upper level system looks pretty potent out in Missouri right now and it's heading due east. I am hopeful that we will get some snow!

Posted by: rapotter | December 12, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

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