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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/23/2010

Forecast: Windy but plenty of sun

By David Streit

Weekend snow potential decreasing

updated at 11:20 a.m.

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

 

Whipping winds spoil an otherwise seasonable and reasonable winter day.
 
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Mostly sunny, windy. 36-40. | Tonight: Clear and breezy. 23-28. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, still windy. 39-44. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

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. The latest model data is trending toward the low end of the accumulation spectrum, but we're still a couple days away so things can still change.

Snow Potential Index: 5 (→) - What a roller coaster we are on with this forecast. Still trying to work out details on weekend snow threat.

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

Today (Thursday): Mostly sunny skies are deceiving as winds are going to make this a teeth-chattering morning. In fact, the whole day looks like wind chills matter more than the thermometer. The winds from the northwest as 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph are feeding into a storm far out to sea. Highs should be mainly in the upper 30s. Confidence: High

Tonight: This is one of those nights where the winds forget to lighten up. Wrap up good and tight and don't forget the earmuffs as 15-20 mph are the likely speeds throughout the night. Lows fall to the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

Christmas Eve (Friday): The winds are still not done with us, coming from the northwest at 10-20 mph and gusting to 30 mph. Hold on tight to those last minute purchases! Sunshine is still the rule with only occasional scurrying clouds. Highs make better progress today with nearly seasonable upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The wintry chill from those persistent albeit dying northwesterly winds is still cause for bundling up for church services. Clouds are expected to quickly increase overnight. Lows should again bottom out in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Christmas (Saturday) dawns with lights on the tree still shining bright as clouds thicken in advance of a storm starting to take shape in the Southeast. Winds begin to hint at that storm development as they shift to come from the northeast, but only lightly and late in the day. There's a small (20-30%) chance of some light snow during the day or at night. Highs should only reach the low-to-mid 30s given the clouds. Overnight, winds pick up from the northeast to 5-15 mph with lows in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Sunday's forecast is likely to need adjusting as we get closer. Our take for now, though, is a 40% chance of accumulating snow. It all depends on whether a coastal storm hugs the coast (higher chance of snow) or tracks further out to sea (lower chance of snow). The latest model information is trending toward the latter, thus decreasing the potential for a major snowfall, with the main question now being whether the D.C. area gets a minor to moderate accumulation, or little to no snow. Either way, winds from the northeast likely pick up to 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph. Highs should stay in the low-to-mid 30s and a chance of snow showers may linger overnight with lows in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Low [Updated: 11:20 a.m.]

Monday is cloudy and windy with lingering snow showers possible (20-30% chance). Winds shift to the northwest and remain 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph leading to more blowing snow potential. Highs should remain in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Low

By David Streit  | December 23, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Late night storm thoughts
Next: The National Christmas Tree with snow

Comments

Good morning. It looks like the NWS has us at low probabilities of snow from Xmas day through Monday. Seems many in the field are starting to temper their snow predictions, resting on a dusting to several inches for the area, with more as you go south and toward the coast.

These models sure do provide a roller coaster ride of expectations. Proves that it's all academic until a couple of days out. There's still a lot, a lot, of uncertainty regarding the track and intensity of the system.

Since it's still possible, today is a great day to check your foul weather supplies and get to the store. If this one misses us, you'll be prepared for the next.

Now, Let's try and be nice to each other today in the spirit of the season. No need for more name calling... it's just a snowstorm. We have survived many of them before and there will be more in the future. Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la!

Posted by: Weathergeek | December 23, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Weathergeek: Regarding the last part of your post. From watching this site over time, every time there is snow on the horizon a few of the same folks show up on the board and make claims of others' character in order to get a reaction. It seems they get their jollies off of upsetting others, kind of like teenagers do. Don't waste your time even addressing them. I'm sure we'll be blessed with their presence later today as more people come to the site. Glad I'm not one to get joy off of making others upset. Good advice on stocking up, though.

Posted by: PlowKing | December 23, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps people should prepare for a snowstorm.
They DO happen around here from time to time.
Will CWG be giving us a video "No certainty; only percentages" later today?
Hope so, it's always fun to see what tie Jason chooses.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 23, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but its sounding more and more like this one is just going to tease us while giving us nada....sigh. As much as I was in seventh heaven last year, nothing is free, so I suppose I could be content with 2.5" from the clipper last week to get me through winter 2011...(he types as hands start shaking from snow withdrawal). Maybe Walter can repost his collection of works from last every so often to get us through :-)

Posted by: ftwash | December 23, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Hey CWG, I'm heading to Rhode Island for the long weekend. Since there isn't a Providence Weather Gang, what do you think the odds are that it will be tough to get back on Monday? Keep up the great work!

Posted by: matthew_lawlor | December 23, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Well now I wonder how the winds will affect flights on Sunday afternoon. Any thoughts on flying out of DCA at 3pm on Sunday? Headed to S. Florida . . .

Posted by: Post43 | December 23, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

@ matthew_lawlor

The storm should reach Rhode Island by Sunday night and could put down quite a few wind whipped inches there, maybe even a foot. That is well supported by all the models, so if you are not trying to get back until Monday, it may be tough to get out.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

This far out, I'm not sold on either a big snow or OTS. From what I have been reading, guessing at this point is like playing the lottery.

As my grandma use to say "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." (Whatever best and worst mean to you)

The latest probabilities I have seen from Wxrisk.com for our area:

0-2" 85%
2-4" 60%
4-8" 50%
8-16" 30%
16+ 10%

Again, this is so far out and the solutions are still uncertain, but he took a stab at it.

Posted by: Weathergeek | December 23, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Weathergeek | December 23, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I have to admit that while I'd like a big snow, I don't look forward to conning a friend with a truck and a shovel to take me to the marina to shovel off my boat. That's a great problem to have, but I still don't want it. So I guess I'd be fine with that 0"-2", 85% scenario.

Posted by: --sg | December 23, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Is this going to be a mainly coastal New England storm? I'm driving to Hartford CT on Monday and I'm wondering if I stick to mostly interior routes I'll be OK.

Posted by: ana_b | December 23, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

ftwash,
you got 2.5" last time?! MFY only got 1.5" - but w/careful snow management i WAS able to update that page w/a new sculpture.

CWG, other model-watchers,
on the previous thread, 4seams posted the horrible news that according to the "latest run of all the models" that there'd be "no big storm for DC". say it ain't so?! can the euro, which has been so consistently awesome, be falling apart?

Weathergeek,
thanks for that link to that prediction map. that is such a cool informative way of displaying the info. maybe it's because i'm a "visual" person, but i LOVE that map with the "zones" and percentages and accumulation ranges. there's so much info there.

we keep talking out this storm like it's still a week away. it's w/in 60 hrs now. sure would like to see an "inches & percentages" prediction like the one from wxrisk from CWG and joey.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 23, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I think I've come up with a new phrase for these goings-ons with the models and on-again off-again forecasts these past few weeks.

The Weatherman's Paradox.

Fitting, eh?

Posted by: SpeedLimit186000 | December 23, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

If the snow misses us but hits New England, then Monday won't be good day to drive around up there. Hartford might escape but RI would probably not. Then again, it might miss everybody. I have to make my own plans to get up there and back but I need better info.

Posted by: eric654 | December 23, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

@ ana_b While you are right that inland routes will be best, it is still likely that Hartford will get a few inches and a whole lot of wind, so please be very careful.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Not liking our chances here at approx 72 hours out. Would like to see much greater model consensus, and mid-envelope hugging the coast...not the western-most outlier. Grr.

Yes, things could change. But I don't see this becoming a big one for DC. Maybe a light dusting late Christmas Day into the night.

No me gusta La Nina.

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | December 23, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

SpeedLimit186000,
how 'bout "whetherman's paradox"? they're never sure whether this or that will happen...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 23, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

@ weathergeek and walter: I think based on most of the recent models that those percentages all need to be dropped by about 30%. That would also make the total probability come out closer to 100% :-)

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the replies folks. I'll plan to return Tues if necessary.

Posted by: matthew_lawlor | December 23, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey all-
Please don't fret, let's face it; even 3-5 inches is a pretty darn nice snow for DC in December, based on historical records. There are still a bunch of model runs to go with this one and the smart money always bets late. Happy Holidays, one and all...

Posted by: curtmccormick | December 23, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

@curtmccormick,

Thanks for staying positive! :)

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 23, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cap gang,

I don't know much about the models but i've heard a couple of rumbles about the initialization data being bad on the overnight model runs. some saying those runs should be shelved. Are these just snowlovers being unrealistic or is there any truth to that?

Posted by: cunninja4 | December 23, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

A friend of mine is coming from Ocean City to spend Christmas here. She was planning on heading back on the 26th, but now I'm concerned she'll drive smack into the storm (and she hates driving on the Bay Bridge as it is)... With the storms being stronger on the coast, would it be a better bet to go back Christmas night?

Posted by: jen82 | December 23, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@ jen82 : Yes it would be much better to go back Christmas night or bright and early the next day would still be ok too. The earliest models don't get going in OC until Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

*crossing my fingers that it doesn't snow here because my shoulder is still recovering from the surgery I had to have as a result of last year's storms*

Posted by: trambusto | December 23, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@ davidstreit et al,

I think those percentages are meant to include the lead "at least". It doesn't seem like they are out off 100 total %, but rather a progression. None of the higher snow totals are mutually exclusive from the lower snow totals.

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | December 23, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Hey PlowKing,

Sounds like Santa came to your house early and gave you a big ol' sense of self-satisfaction, with a stocking stuffer of smugness. I'm sure glad you're "not one to get joy off of making others upset." Best of the season to you.

Posted by: dcreader6 | December 23, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for being willing to entertain travel questions, CWG! Here's mine - I am supposed to be flying out of Newark Airport at 8:40 pm on Sunday Dec 26th. How is it looking for me? Previously I was freaking out about predictions of a major snowstorm, but now you all seem to have downgraded it a bit. What do you think?

Posted by: jkb551 | December 23, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I feel like this storm is toying with me. Still hoping for a best case scenario!

Posted by: BadMommy1 | December 23, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@bouncinggorilla : Not sure how they work that out statistically but it sure looks like they may need to come down, based on the model run (NAM) that is coming in now.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Weathergeek - speak for yourself when you talk about snow chances for "our area". For the folks in DC (Arlington & Alexandria) as well as south and east of the city, the Wxrisk chances are:

0-2" 100%
2-4" 90%
4-8" 80%
8-16" 60%
16+ 40%

Speaking for those of us who live near the "snow hole" known as Reagan Natl Airport, its nice to think we may actually outperform you guys to the west for a change!

Posted by: SJ43560 | December 23, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@davidstreit,

I'm no weatherman so I'm not speaking to whether or not they are correct per se, only that if you believe the probabilities they represent for a given snow total, they are statistically correct.

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | December 23, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

So I guess the question from CapWx is: Does it look like we will see SOME snow from Christmas Night through Monday and CAN we expect at least a few inches they way it stands now? Give me a little hope.

Posted by: greg2010 | December 23, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@jkb551 : The latest model would only give them snow flurries but this forecast is still in flux so nothing is set in stone. Most recent runs keep the snow just to the east of Newark. So keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@greg2010

I posted last night that I think the odds of a big storm for us have gone down and the additional runs I've looked at this morning support that. We may get a little light snow Christmas night, and maybe some more on Sunday if the coastal low comes close enough. But the mays should indicate to you that confidence is not great. Our 1 p.m. update will break everything down.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

You are the best, thanks David! Happy holidays. -- Jane

Posted by: jkb551 | December 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Walter in Falls Church Dec 09 and Dec 10 so far have been colder than average. Even w/o the data that drops into my hard drive from 10 weather data sites on my farm Dec 09 and Dec 10 have been much colder than the Dc average Dec. I have lived here for all my live. Come one Fox News has a hot new weather chick now why should I believe
a bunch of greens who dont look good in s short skirt.

Do weather geeks ever observe the world and your environment? As a farmer/rancher I know my dogs have significantly less coat then last winter as of Dec 7. My friends with herding dogs here in VA report the same thing so we are thinking the winter will not be as bad as 09 and average in temps or maybe slightly above average. Now we are talking real dogs not foo foo dogs who are carried around in bags to the Mall or seen as scooby snacks by real dogs. My livestock guardian dogs(LGDs) who live outside 24/7 unless there is blizzard also haven't put on as much coat as last year.

If you own livestock or just observe the birds and animals you can tell 36 to 48 hrs and 72 hrs if you are really good how bad an approaching storm will be. My LGDs would be getting a little edgy and worked up if the storm was going to be bad because that means the predators will be more active and they haven't been. There is another mountain lion or three out here in zip codes 20185,20184, 20117 and 20118. My 400+ sheep aren't skittish like they were last Dec before the big storm or in Feb. We see if things change in next 24hrs or so.

Computer models are nice but get out and smell the air and watch the wildlife and domesticated animals.

Posted by: sheepherder | December 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Justin Berk and Joe Bastardi both think there will be some light snow in our area on Christmas Day out ahead of the main storm. They also both think it's too early to call whether or not the heaviest snow will trend further west; as it typically does with GFS. Bastardi has us on the edge of his 4 inch line at the moment, but expects that line to trend further west over the next day or two. Still seems to be so much uncertainty for the amount of doubt that's creeping in...but last week's miss is still in the back of everyone's mind I'm sure.

Posted by: DLO1975 | December 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@greg2010 : I can't help you in the hope department. Most recent models have kept us in the flurries category. Sorry.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

PAIN AND SADNESS!

Posted by: greg2010 | December 23, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

You are the best, thanks David! Happy holidays. -- Jane

Posted by: jkb551 | December 23, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't hug the NAM @84 hours.

Posted by: dustinmfox1 | December 23, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

12Z NAM has the storm completely out to sea, with New England not even getting anything. Diasappointing to say the least (for snow lovers anyway), but I do think there is a lesson here.

I would like to see us all pay more attention to history and analogs when situations like this come up. To the best of my knowledge, a moderate to strong La Nina has never yielded the type of storm some of the models yesterday were hinting at (I'm looking at you EURO) for our area. Not even close. With no strong high pressure off our north-east coast to keep the storm along the coast, and instead, a pesky low that actually would serve to do the opposite, the La Nina connection AND history to look back on, I think all the ingredients were there to make a forecast based on something other than staring at computer models.

I applaud CWG for keeping the "BIG STORM" chances so low- the models do get us excited, but there were just so many red flags with this situation I'm happy CWG fought the urge to push all their chips in the pot and declare "BLIZZARD!"

I can still be sad at a missed opportunity, but at the very least let's all try to learn something from this.

Posted by: 4seams | December 23, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@dustinmfox1

Agreed and no one here is doing that. Having said that, if you want snow, can't say what it's doing with the track of the low is a good thing - esp given the Euro's shift slightly east.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

4seams...Kind of odd that you would suddenly be so certain about a miss just because of the latest model runs. Last night painted a different picture and tonight may as well. We're still about 72 hours out...and that's a lot of time. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: DLO1975 | December 23, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

DLO,

You are right, I'm putting alot of emphasis on the latest runs starting with the 00Z NAM from last night. I think that is warranted- when all models shift a certain way as we get closer to the storm, especially under 72 hours, I think more weight NEEDS to be placed on them.

While is pretty common to see some models showing huge storms more than a few days out, it is far less common for them all to start leaning the same way as we get within 72 hours and have them NOT be correct.

Mother nature, please prove the models wrong. I would LOVE a historic blizzard- during a strong La Nina event- with no high pressure off our North Atlantic coast- and now little to no model support. I just don't think it is likely, as in less than 1% chance.

Posted by: 4seams | December 23, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hello everyone. I'm planning on driving from DC tomorrow (Christmas Eve) down to Bedford area of VA (between Roanoke and Lynchburg). I would normally come back up here on Sunday. However, with the bad weather, should I leave Saturday night to avoid the snow? The normal Sunday/holiday traffic coupled with the bad weather gives me nightmares, lol. I want to avoid getting stuck out in the country in my car. But I fear that Saturday, while clear up here, might be bad down in the rural parts of Bedford VA.

To avoid bad roads, what would your schedule be if you were me? Any word on the weather for down there?

Thanks!

Posted by: workjustin@yahoo.com | December 23, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. I don't like the way things have headed. Bah! Humbug!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 23, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Who cares about the next few days of seasonably chilly weather?!"

Um, you're giving a daily forecast. I'd hope you care what it says about each day. Your readers certainly do. Not a thoughtful opening remark.

Posted by: mopoff | December 23, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Looking like the worst weather will be a flurry!

Posted by: greg2010 | December 23, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

It was always a maybe, and still is. People were calling bust during overnight during Snoverkill.

Posted by: mason08 | December 23, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

4seams,

How about 1996 and 2000? Weren't there January storms in both years of over 12 inches...in strong La Nina winters? Just trying to hold onto some hope for this winter ;)As for the 72 hour part, the heaviest snowfall was supposed to be Sunday night and Monday AM based on earlier models, right? Still not quite to 72 hours yet. I know it's a long shot, but a 100 mile shift west in the GFS (and some others)...or even 50-60 miles...could put us in some decent snow. By this time tomorrow, hope may be lost for this storm....but not yet for me.

Posted by: DLO1975 | December 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@ SJ43560
Sorry you feel that I have "Spoken for you". I was merely trying to put some info out there for discussion and even provided the link to the map so you could look at your area. I'll be more careful with my pronouns in the future. Sorry to offend.

Posted by: Weathergeek | December 23, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@ mopoff : Sorry if I offended you, just trying to add some levity to the discussion. I assure you that each day's forecast gets treated with equal care. BTW the latest GFS model run takes the storm out to sea with nary a flurry for us.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I have a huge dilemma, CWG! While I would love nothing more than a classic Nor'easter snowstorm to hit DC this weekend, I won't be here to catapult from window-to-window in awe, with a trip to Kansas City Sunday morning through Charlotte. (I need additional USAir segments to make my FF status for next year!).

What will the weather be down in Charlotte on Sunday morning? If relocated Southerners up here are complete wimps when it comes to snow, I can't imagine what it's like down there, and the last place I'd want to be stuck is CLT.

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | December 23, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that 12Z NAM is completely OTS. Looks to be missing everyone, including New England.

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | December 23, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that 12Z NAM is completely out to sea.

Barely a hint of a curve up the coast.

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | December 23, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

For any that are interested, here's an 11AM update from Bastardi. Who knows if the models will keep the main storm out to sea or not...time will tell. In the meantime, how about the possibility of light snow on Christmas Day? Is that legitimate?

THURSDAY 11 AM

EUROPEAN MODEL OF CHOICE AS OF THIS HOUR.

The complexities of this storm are manyfold. The biggest storms do occur when the complex simplifies ( bundling energy), so there is alot on the table here.

What I think is now happening is a wave on the arctic boundary is in northern VA Christmas morning and this has its own swath of snow that is most prominent in the plains and midwest tomorrow into tomorrow night with light snows probably reaching all the way to the east coast on Christmas Day.. This system should weaken by Saturday night, but this is the boundary that the stronger southern development will use. The reason the models all go ballistic, eventually is because the arctic boundary and polar boundary do combine as the upper feature finally consolidates. However the GFS has shifted EAST at midday, and most modeling is out to sea enough to spare the east coast again. I believe they are overdoing the front max and the back systems will carry the day once to Sunday. So if thats the case, the euro with the heavy snow further back is right, and that is where I stand now.

Posted by: DLO1975 | December 23, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

There is now exactly zero models supporting more than flurries for DC.

And somehow, someway, JB still says he thinks all the models are wrong and this will be an east coast storm.

Got to at least appreciate his strong stand in the face of all guidance ;)

Posted by: 4seams | December 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Honesty CWG, don't know how you guys do it -- provide daily forecast, mid-range forecast, long-range outlook mixed with education on models and mediate the inevitable disputes in emphasis between weather lovers and haters. I mean you are equal parts scientist and diplomat.
I want a HUGE storm, but feel you have done a very fine job moderating expectations and that prudence may turn out to be right.
Keep up the good work.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | December 23, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@ workjustin : that area looks like just flurries from all recent model runs. @ TominMichiganParkDC : They could see an inch or two of fluffy stuff on Christmas Day.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Travel question: I'm scheduled to take Amtrak's Palmetto train from DC to Charleston, SC on Christmas Day. If I read the forecast and discussion correctly, probably no snow here in DC. What about further south?

Posted by: rlguenther | December 23, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Some tweaks to the forecast above, decreasing the chance of accumulating snow on Sunday from 50-60% to 40-50%. Based on the morning run of the GFS model and last night's euro model, both of which trended east with the storm. Still time for some things to change. In-depth update around 1-1:30 p.m. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Well...if it misses everybody, NOBODY gets anything.

This local trend towards temps in the 30's/40's brings up another possibility...that the whole system could DEGENERATE into one of those horrid wintry mix to cold plain old ordinary rain situations...what could happen if the whole setup suddenly shifts to the west!

Right now the system doesn't look all that impressive as it moves inland...it could even dissipate completely! The recent Euro seems to be backing off that prediction of a huge East Coast blizzard to a more conventional Gulf runner or a modest development southeast of the Outer Banks. When that happens it's rather hard to get a major or historic East Coast snowstorm...the storm fails to track up the coast and may even dissipate out to sea. It's even possible that most of the locales forecast to get a blizzard get little or nothing at all.

Personally I anticipate having one or two books due at the Arlington Central Library on the 27th...a blizzard could force me into overdue fines though the Arlington library system could close on Monday if things are bad enough.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 23, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@ bodypolitic1, your comment made me smile. CWG part educators, scientists, diplomats- so true.

Many of us here take our weather pretty seriously, and emotions run high at times which I always find amusing in hindsight.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 23, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I also thought the comment about who cares about the next few days of weather was a bit strange as well..

Posted by: weatherdude | December 23, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

CWG-

I can't find any models that support accumulating snow. I'm not a meteorologist, clearly, so with still a 40-50% chance of accumulating snow, what else do you take into account besides just looking at models when deciding there still may be a snow that we measure in inches?

Thanks!

Posted by: 4seams | December 23, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@4seams

He's well positioned to be the lone super-genius forecaster if he gets it right.

Posted by: mason08 | December 23, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@4seams

We may lower the percentages more soon. But just as it would be risky to raise them too much based on a couple of model runs toward the snowier direction, like we saw yesterday, it would be risky to lower them too much based on a couple of model runs toward the less snowy (or snow-less?) direction. If today's Euro model trends even further east, then you'll see the chance of accumulating snow drop more substantially. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | December 23, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

CWG --

Normally I would welcome the snow, but my son's first major birthday party is scheduled for this Sunday in Laurel. I have guests coming from Richmond, VA and the local suburbs. Would you recommend cancelling based on the current forecast??
Thanks!

Posted by: pirouette06 | December 23, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

What time does the next Euro model come out? 1PM? It's admittedly not looking good at the moment, but let's hope some of the models flip flop again. The next few weeks look warmer with snow chances being replaced by rain chances.

CWG...what do you guys think about some minor accumulations Christmas day?

Posted by: DLO1975 | December 23, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I am supposed to be driving to Atlanta on Saturday, Christmas Day, traveling down 29 to I-85. Any advice on what to expect weather-wise between here and Atlanta?

Posted by: txnva | December 23, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I am supposed to be driving to Atlanta on Christmas Day, traveling down 29 to I-85. Any advice on what to expect weather-wise between here and Atlanta?

Posted by: txnva | December 23, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Next few weeks look warmer on the extended. Is this the beginning of the warmup predicted for Jan/Feb?

Posted by: weatherdude | December 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

COME ON SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know the numbers are all pointing in the wrong direction but I'm holding out hope. I want to build a snow man with a Santa Hat =)

But either way, hope everyone has a warm and safe weekend!!!!

Posted by: SnowLover1 | December 23, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Nice work Walter, saw your latest sculpture when I visited your pix earlier this week. You must have used the snow from the entire neighborhood.
Tina in Falls Church

Posted by: tbva | December 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Nice work Walter, saw your latest sculpture when I visited your pix earlier this week. You must have used the snow from the entire neighborhood.
Tina in Falls Church

Posted by: tbva | December 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

As someone who prefers a tropical Christmas to a white Christmas anytime, let me just say (in my best Jamaican accent): "Dis model trend be my friend, mon."

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | December 23, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

One thing that appears to be driving the eastward shift as a transition to a lower index/split flow pattern over the next week. Simplified, that means at long last, a southern stream is showing signs of development, perhaps previewed by the wave train which has been slamming southern California the past few days.

Unfortunately for snow lovers, the phasing does not look to occur until the system is offshore; now the concern has to shift to dangerous winds in the PHL/NYC/BOS corridor to close the weekend. Those winds alone will wreak havoc on air travel.

Posted by: wxdancer | December 23, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Joe B's White Christmas map has proven to be WAY off, yet people still listen to that idiot hype every disturbance as a blizzard

Posted by: TGT11 | December 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The models historically have not been very adept handling systems coming out of the SW US. The GFS in particularly has had a history of shearing/weakening troughs coming out of the SW and has often been too suppressive.

While our chances now look dim, I'm not yet throwing in the towel.

Posted by: frontieradjust | December 23, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

dcreader6: LOL!!! Thanks for the free psycho analysis, and have a great new year.

Posted by: PlowKing | December 23, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Bummer.

But this is so quintessentially Washington weather. I remember events being canceled in the 1980s because of predictions of "monster snowstorms" Nor'easters without a flake falling and the January 13, 1982 storm that was not taken seriously and which resulted in Air Florida Flight 90 crashing into the 14th St. Bridge. It's just really hard to make a very accurate prediction a lot of the time.

Posted by: elizestrada | December 23, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I say, stop with the long range forecasts and let us know what is looks like on Sunday sheesh. I'm kind of sick of the back and forth of it. Will it snow, won't it snow? Will there be enough to sled, will it miss us completely and leave only cold and wind in it's wake? How about you just give us a forecast when it occurs for this one since none of the models agree LOL

Posted by: tressoleilgoddess | December 23, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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