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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 12/13/2010

Forecast: Wicked cold winds & snow showers

By Jason Samenow

(originally posted at 5 a.m., updated at 9 a.m.)

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


Windy, nasty cold.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Windy with mostly morning snow showers. 30-35 | Tonight: Partly cloudy, windy. 16-22. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny, windy and cold. 27-31. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


The upcoming week will feel like the heart of winter even though the calendar says the season's a week away. Blustery winds and temperatures 15 degrees below average chill the region through Wednesday. The cold lingers through the second half of the week but isn't as biting. Snow chances today are limited to flurries/showers with prospects after that murky but worth paying attention to.

Snow Potential Index: 3 (→) - Some spots get dusted today. Thursday threat is waning, but something could brew next weekend.

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 (Monday): A large amount of upper level energy passing through the region presents the opportunity for some scattered snow showers or flurries (and many spots saw a dusting this morning). This afternoon, just as likely as snow are intervals of sunshine this afternoon, but they'll do little to warm temperatures. Cold, gusty winds from the northwest at 15-20 mph (gusts to 30 mph) hold temperatures more or less steady in the low-to-mid 30s.Confidence: Medium

Tonight: It's very, very cold. Under partly cloudy skies, temperatures drop through the 20s to near 20 downtown and into the mid-to-high teens in the suburbs. That might not sound that bad, but factor in winds from the northwest at 10-20 mph with higher gusts, and we're talking wind chills in the single digits. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through next weekend...

Tomorrow (Tuesday): This is likely to be the coldest day of the week. Although skies are partly sunny, winds rage and temperatures rise only modestly. Highs are subfreezing throughout the region, ranging from the upper 20s to near 30. Winds are from the northwest at 20-30 mph, with gusts to near 40 mph possible. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Here's the wicked cold referred to in the headline. Under mostly clear skies, temperatures fall back into the teens in most spots to maybe 20 downtown. With winds of 15-25 mph, that equates to wind chills of -5 to 5. Confidence: Low-Medium


The wind relaxes a little Wednesday, but it's still cold. Highs reach the low-to-mid 30s under mostly sunny skies. Clear and cold Wednesday night with low 14-19 (suburbs-city). Confidence: Medium

A weak storm likely passes by to our south Thursday, far enough south that the chance of snow or other form of precipitation is low (less than 30 percent). Nonetheless, we'll still likely have considerable cloud cover, with chilly highs in the mid-30s to near 40. Cloud cover slowly diminishes Thursday night with lows in the 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

High pressure builds into the region for Friday and Saturday. We remain locked in a cold pattern, with highs in the 30s to near 40 despite mostly sunny skies and overnight lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium

Long range computer models are hinting at the possibility of some storminess by Sunday but accuracy at this range is low. I'll call for a chance of snow or rain, with highs in the 30s. We'll have more details on this possible storm scenario later. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Jason Samenow  | December 13, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: With climate change, long-term trends are key


Light snow is falling in N. Stafford with a dusting on the ground, so far.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | December 13, 2010 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Snow starting to fall in Huntington area of Alexandria. Not enough to be of consequence, but pretty! :-)

Posted by: kallieh | December 13, 2010 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Dusting out here in Bristow. Trying to decide whether to try and drive into work with summer tires on my car... Don't want to lose traction or spin of in a ditch.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | December 13, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

I can see a light dusting on the cars and grass in Arlington, but not the roads. Probably should put the studded tires on the bike.

Posted by: debiguity | December 13, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Snowing in Glover Park - not sticking to the road but is sticking to the grass and plants. WOO HOO!

Posted by: Bainbridge | December 13, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Sparkly medium-sized flakes were falling in Merrifield, VA, before dawn this morning. We got a nice dusting, but Gallows Road was just wet. I hope the little bit we got will stick around in these cold temps.

Posted by: --sg | December 13, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

i see that weekend brew on the 06z gfs. looks like a doozie, almost the same setup as last dec. 19 storm. maybe dec 19 is the new dec 5. i hope its rain for us ;)

Posted by: KRUZ | December 13, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Next weekend? Yes! (I'm not too excited or anything)

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 13, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Thurs & Sun are exciting but the cold and wind are definitely the big story right now. When the DC area is in the mid to upper 20's as highs in know it's a cold Dec! Brrrrrrrrrr!

Posted by: parksndc | December 13, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I just heard on the radio that the storm this weekend will be in the 12" + range. I checked on and they are only calling for a few show showers and the CWG are calling for the possiblity of snow. For the record I am a SNOW LOVER, but what is the radio guy looking at??

Posted by: Getyourfaxstraight | December 13, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

As I posted earlier...charts & ensembles seem to be running "conservative" for Saturday and Sunday, but weather board chatter is starting to talk up something. Bombo snow potential index is being raised from 0.25 to 0.5 but this means a 50% chance of something occurring in the next seven days...including whatever verifies Thursday. Until I see further model/ensemble runs I can't say more.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 13, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I would happily take your 30 mph gusts. The NW boonies exceeded that long ago. JeffCo (and similar) has a wind advisory for 45-50 mph gusts till 7:00 p.m. I expect that timeframe will be extended...till sometime Thursday.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | December 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Glad everyone stayed safe in this morning's snow showers. Yes we are watching this weekend's wintry potential, but still a low confidence forecast! Stay tuned. And stay warm!!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | December 13, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

i'm all for dec 19th being the new dec 5th - especially if it means we get anything like last dec 19th in terms of quantity!

get yer christmas shopping done early!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 13, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

A friend who works in retail lost his yearly bonus last year because no one made it to the mall to shop the weekend before Christmas. Hope we don't get a repeat.

Posted by: wiredog | December 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

got 1/2" in NW Spotsy this am. Right now I'll put the chance for snow sun at 20-25%. Hopefully the odds will go up with each passing day.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

What's the prognosis for seeing the Geminid meteor shower tonight? Will it be clear enough to bother braving the cold or overcast and not worth the frozen extremities?

Posted by: Chip_M | December 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse


I think the variably cloudy sky conditions you see now are pretty indicative of what we'll see into the evening. In other words, there may well be windows for viewing the shower - but bundle up.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I was listening to the Tony Kornheiser radio show this morning and they stated this weekend's storm has the potential to deliever a foot of snow. I know that the odds are leaning against any snow, but is the potential for that amount true?

Posted by: aaf314 | December 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Getyourfaxstraight - Read Wes's article...the forecast is too far out for anyone to call for 12" + and there's a reason for the low prob % as Jason points out...Although, I'm sure Joe B is calling for a whiteout already.

Posted by: parksndc | December 13, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

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