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Posted at 5:25 PM ET, 12/18/2010

Forecast: Pretty cloudy as storm misses

By Ian Livingston

updated at 5:25 p.m.; originally posted at 5 a.m.

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


30s seem to be the new norm around here. Plentiful clouds and remaining snow keep temperatures capped.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly cloudy. Low-to-mid 30s. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. A flurry? 20s. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy a.m., clearing p.m. Mid-to-upper 30s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


There was a lot of talk about a potential weekend storm throughout the week. Now less than 24 hours out, it's still maybe slightly up in the air as to exactly what happens. That said, we're not likely to get anything exciting snow-wise, but we see a good deal of clouds as the system passes by to the south and east. More sun makes a return to end the weekend as we stay cold and start thinking about the next potential snow threat. Calmer than last year, at least...

Snow Potential Index:5 (↑) - Accumulation risk almost nil for the weekend. A storm with similar origins to the one on 12/16 tries to bring snow to us on Tuesday.

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

Today (Saturday): If it's not mostly cloudy at sunrise it should be shortly after, though it may initially be mainly high-level clouds. Clouds keep out any warming rays of sun and keep temperatures in the low-and-mid 30s. Snow still remaining probably mostly lives another day. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clouds remain numerous. The storm slowly gathers to the south but also drifts to our east. There could be a flurry, especially southeast and east. Any accumulating snow should be closer to the coast, or on a boat just east of there. Lows dip into the low-and-mid 20s in the suburbs to the upper 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium

Do we lose the below-average temperatures anytime soon? I feel like that's been the question forever now...

Tomorrow (Sunday): Clouds may linger early from the coastal storm moving offshore. I think we'll see some breaks by midday and perhaps a pretty clear sunset? Highs reach the mid-30s, maybe a few upper 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: We get a bit of a cold air reinforcement in the wake of deepening low pressure. Add in mainly clear skies and it sends lows back toward the upper teens in the suburbs to the low-or-mid 20s downtown. Winds become more noticeable from the north but nothing horrendous. Confidence: Medium-High


Monday We're looking at a good deal of sunshine on Monday, but the chillier temperatures remain. I doubt we get much above the low-or-mid 30s across the area. Mainly light, though occasionally gusty, winds from the north should continue. Confidence: Medium-High

On Tuesday, we come off another cold night with the potential of a system similar in nature to last Thursday's event. Details are always critical with clippers, but there's certainly some risk for accumulating snow as of now. Highs reach the mid-30s or so, perhaps nearer 30 should the storm arrive early enough. Confidence: Medium

By Ian Livingston  | December 18, 2010; 5:25 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Next chance of light snow: Tuesday
Next: Forecast: More 30s. Touch of Tues. snow?


Booooo! Über-disappointed.

Posted by: casa_wasabi | December 18, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm. I'm going to make vegetable-beef soup anyway - at least it's cold enough, even if there isn't any more snow coming.

Posted by: --sg | December 18, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The National Weather Service is discounting a Tuesday snow at this point--no mention of even a chance of snow in the official forecast, at least the one covering Arlington. Accuweather, however, acknowledges there is some chance. They are also talking about snow on Christmas Eve.

Posted by: TRM1 | December 18, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Gotta like the GFS on the Christmas Eve/Day Storm.

Posted by: bdeco | December 18, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I like snow - but I can't say I'm too disappointed about not having snow this weekend. I know several Christmas parties that had to be cancelled/postponed last year- even one that had to be postponed twice (because the makeup date fell on the weekend of Snowmaggedon.) Folks are still trying to get their Christmas shopping done, and I guess I don't expect much snow in December around here anyway.
January and February, though, is a different story... :)

Posted by: MKoehl | December 18, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Lots of sunshine now in the NW boondocks. Hope it holds long enough to do some good on the icy back roads. NWS says 30% chance of snow Tuesday for JeffCo.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | December 18, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

surprisingly, i was able to make something out of thursday's meager snow:

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 18, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Walter, I love it!

Posted by: SubRosa2 | December 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Walter must have paid the neighborhood children to bring him buckets of snow.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 18, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse


Too bad it's not here, but London. You can always imagine your living through this by following live updates of the joy/suffering in the UK:

Posted by: ensemblemean | December 18, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the NWS I wonder what the hold up is with Tuesday's storm? Can you guys here at CWG explain why they are the only local weather service to not show Tuesday's storm?.... I imagine they use the GFS like most everyone else.

Or maybe they think it gets sheared over the mountains and don't even see it as a threat?... I would love to know.

Posted by: KRUZ | December 18, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

ANy chances CWG can delve a little into Xmas storm?...

I know its far out but im hearing at this point the GFS shows a monster and the EURO shows more of a clipper type system. Id just like to hear some of CWGs analysis and possibilities at this point in time and which seems more likely?

Maybe Wes would care to discuss this in a little more detail, even this far out :)

Posted by: KRUZ | December 18, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone at CWG have thoughts on the prospect of a new "Little Ice Age" becoming possible? This article is six years old, but Discover is certainly a good source for science.

Posted by: mhardy1 | December 18, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

KRUZ: Speaking for myself, these clippers are quite tricky to predict too far in advance. As you say, sometimes the mountains scrub their moisture out; sometimes they pass a tad too far north, leaving us "partly cloudy;" and sometimes too far south, putting us on the northern edge, if that. Occasionally, under the right conditions, they will even tansfer their energy and reform off the coast and become significant "noreasters," but usually for the states to our northeast.

I can understand why the NWS, at this time, is reluctant to place much weight on the Tuesdau system.

Posted by: Don-Capital Weather Gang | December 18, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Kruz I won't discuss the xmas threat in detail until Monday unless Jason decides otherwise. I do think its' a viable threat for a storm in that time range (that's a pretty big caveat. The mean 5-day mean pattern identified by the CPC centered on Dec 26 picked two significant storms out of their 10 analogs. There have only been six 4 inch or greater snowstorms in the past 123 years during that same 5 day window. The analogs suggest the potential is quite a bit higher than climatology but we're still dealing with a potential storm that is a week away so even though I like the pattern. It's too early to really set firm probabilities and if I did, they'd still be pretty low, albeit higher than climo. I hope all the above wasn't too confusing.

Posted by: wjunker | December 18, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

i'll put my vote in for the 26th.

as nice and beautiful as a dec 24 or 25 storm would be, those are huge travel/shopping days for people. by dec 26, i figure most people will be where they want to be and ready to "chill out" and enjoy a storm.

dec. 26 would be perfect, actually.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 18, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Ahh, a possible Christmas eve snow. Around here, that's a huge forecast. Does it get any bigger than that? Good luck CGW, no guts, no glory! Everyone (literally) in the DC metro area will be watching!

Posted by: rolodomo | December 18, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

mhardy1: Yes, an interesting article on the prospects for a new "little ice age." I had read it before and have also read the Brian Fagan book, "The Little Ice Age," referred to in the article. Fagan, perhaps, has done the most exhaustive research ever done on the human tragedy of that period.

Though most of us with the CWG and on this blog are snow lovers, I don't think anybody would want a new ice age--even a little one--if they realized the toll it would take on modern civilization.

I suggest that you find and read Fagan's book.

Posted by: Don-Capital Weather Gang | December 18, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Per Christmas snow threat: I'll be out of town from before Christmas Eve until after New Year's, and so unable to tend to my house should it snow. I'm also planning to have my attic insulation increased as soon as I get back, to hold heat better and try to prevent ice dams.

So if the snow will agree to hold off until after I get all that done, I will agree to not complain if there's a big snowfall after.

Posted by: mhardy1 | December 18, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow, we are getting really early agreement on Christmas storm among the models. Noon GFS gives DC 15 inch blizzard with extremely cold air behind the storm. Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by: 4seams | December 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we are getting really early agreement on Christmas storm among the models. Noon GFS gives DC 15 inch blizzard with extremely cold air behind the storm. Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by: 4seams | December 18, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't mind a "little ice age" around here--we would get a lot more snow opportunities each winter!

Christmas storm ["Santapocalypse"] is beginning to look rather interesting!...but at this stage it looks more like 4-8 inches around here. Anything that would shatter that puny 5-inch record that D.C. has been holding for Christmas snow for what seems like decades.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 18, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

NWS for McLean now mentions a 40% chance of snow for Tues-Day (not night).

I like how these snowfall predictions are mentioning not just the chances for snow, but the chance relative to climatology. It's nice to have everyday forecasts put into a long-term context.

Posted by: KBurchfiel | December 18, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I am very much looking forward to the Tuesday morning lunar eclipse. Will the weather cooperate with clear skies?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 18, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

ABC2 (Baltimore) had a special this evening tonight called 2010: One for the Record Books. The 30 min special on 2010 weather included segments on the Maryland-based Foot's Forecast and Weatherbug.

Current temp in the Blue Ridge Mtns east of Front Royal, VA is 20.8F. I cleared a portion of the deck to prepare for new snow measurements...

Posted by: spgass1 | December 18, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I wish the GFS was as reliable as the Euro. For the last 2 days the GFS has been advertising a storm system developing and possibly impacting our area sometime between 12/24 and 12/26. While most of the runs have given us a moderate snow event a couple have really gone overboard and dumped on us with more than a foot of snow. Two out of the last 3 runs have been major snow storms which I don't necessarily buy into. The Euro on the other hand, has shown a storm developing during the same time frame but has kept its head and toned down the QPF for our area quite a bit. We need to see what the 00z run advertises. If it shows anything like the latest GFS then we need to start taking this system seriously, even though it is still 6 days out.
Having said that, there is a lot of time for this system to develop into something different than the results of the latest runs. I for one hope it agrees with the GFS, even though it is usually the other way around. With my luck, tomorrow's runs of the GFS will fall into line with the Euro. Bah Hum Bug.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 19, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

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