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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Forecast: Wintry cold but winds "brake"

By David Streit

Tricky weekend forecast

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


Since yesterday was a 3, will give this an unenthusiastic extra digit due to less wind. Still cold.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Sunny, less wind. 33-37. | Tonight: Mostly clear. 19-25. | Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. 39-43. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Good news: the winds are relaxing taking away some of the cold's bite and somewhat milder air is coming by the weekend. Sorry snow lovers, while the storm impacting us Saturday night into Sunday may generate a little wintry excitement on the front and/ or back end, unless there is a dramatic shift in the track, it probably produces mostly rain . But the brief late week warming is just a tease, as cold, windy pain returns with a vengeance late Sunday into next week.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↑) - The Sunday storm is pulling up warmer air too fast to be a major snowmaker. But there could be some flakes at the onset and/or the tail-end.

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

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Thursday): The coldest dawn of the season so far is at least a sunny one. There is still enough breeze in the morning to add to the chill. However, winds calm by midday. The only problem is temperatures are still struggling under the cold air aloft and highs do no better than mid-30s. Confidence: High

Tonight: Clear, calm and dry conditions allow temperatures to drop at a fairly good clip. Look for lows to drop to the upper teens to mid-20s. downtown Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

Tomorrow (Friday): The morning should be fair and calm. A storm all the way up in the Great Lakes has just enough reach to increase clouds and light breezes from the south for the afternoon. Highs are resistant to change but do manage to rise to the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The clouds quickly dissipate in the evening and winds go calm once again. Not bad for heading out on the town but bundle up for 30s. Overnight lows fall to the low 20s in coldest spots but just upper 20s in the city. Confidence: Medium-High


Saturday is a generally seasonable day which feels pretty nice after all the cold this week. A storm in the Midwest begins to spread some high clouds into the area by afternoon. Highs still manage to reach the mid-to-upper 40s. Winds remain light through the evening as clouds gradually thicken. There's a 30% chance of light rain, sleet, and/or snow by around midnight, with the best chance of any frozen precipitation well north and west of District. Accumulation of frozen precipitation, if any, would be light. By dawn, light precipitation becomes likely (70% chance), predominantly in the form of rain. Lows range from 32-36 (suburbs-city). Confidence: Low-Medium

Sunday morning winds steadily increase from the south as does the intensity of the rain (80% chance). Despite the rains, readings should rise into the 40s during the morning. A cold front pushes through and winds become from the west during the afternoon when temperatures remain steady or fall and precipitation tapers. By late afternoon into the evening, winds are howling at 15-25 mph accompanied by the chance (30%) of snow showers. Overnight lows drop to the upper 20s to lower 30s. Confidence: Medium

Monday is the beginning of yet another week of wintry weather. Winds from the northwest at 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph are likely to keep temperatures from making a move up at all during the day, holding in the lower 30s. Scarfs, gloves and hats are your friend. Confidence: Medium-High

By David Streit  | December 9, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑ !!!!!!!!


Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 9, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Wow...27 at National and 12 in Manassas?

Posted by: rocotten | December 9, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Next week is shaping up to look like Antarctica here. What a year it's been.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | December 9, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse


I wouldn't get too excited. It went up from a 1 to a 2 just based the slight possibility of some back end snow showers.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 9, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

jason, i read that as a 20% possibility of accumulating snow. am i correct to say it won't be over 1"?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 9, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

oops... pardon, i meant to address that to "david" (but jason could answer too ;-) ).

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 9, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Walter, as I understand it would be for anything as little as one-tenth of an inch. To tell the truth, I think 20% is pushing it pretty hard.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

12 degrees in Manassas this morning?! Yes, it felt that cold. Very heavy frost on the local battlefields looked like a fresh snowfall.
Much less wind this morning. Yay!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 9, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse


David is right-- accumulating snow starts at a dusting... basically, you can interpret this as just 1 in 5 chance or so of a dusting or more. The only change from yesterday is one model opens the possibility of some snow showers behind the front associated with an upper level feature - but none of us think odds are high.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 9, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

thanks guys. "a dusting or more", you say. what's the maximum you think we'll get? i understand this could still change.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 9, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Are we looking at a steady rain or more showery in nature at gametime for the Skins game on Sunday?

Posted by: capsnumber1 | December 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The temperature at my house (Haymarket) this morning was 25 and yet Manassas was 12. Where do they take this temperature at? I rarely have the temperature close to what they say Manassas is.

Posted by: dancermommd1 | December 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No, I know, Jason. Thanks for keeping my feet on the ground.I am not expecting anything, you guys have been pretty thorough explaining the situation and why we most likely will have little to no snow-but I still like the arrow heading up. I'm a die hard optimist, and like to dream of the possibilities :)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Manassas temp is taken at Manassas Airport near Bristow:

Posted by: spgass1 | December 9, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

It looks like the showers at game time should be quite light and intermittent. There is a heavier band expected when the main cold air push arrives but that should not be until the evening.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I would be hard pressed to think anything more than a dusting could occur with this. If for some reason there was an intense squall after the cold air moved through the worst case would be 1 inch inside beltway, up to 2 inches north and west of beltway.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 9, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the bad news... i guess your "worst case" scenario would be my "best case", but i understand what you mean. on the other hand, while an inch is too little to do anything with, it sure can look pretty.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

for dancermommd1: I saw a thermometer in Haymarket today that said 17, so I think it just all depends on where that thermometer is kept - shade, sun, roof overhead, etc.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | December 9, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Some of the model ensembles hint at a prolonged period of snow showers/flurries dragging well into Monday, with additional flurries possible Tuesday. Accumulations might be up to an inch or two [with blowing & drifting] rather than the projected dusting. The key...a very brisk northerly flow straight into this area from Lakes Erie and Ontario, setting up conditions for snow squalls like those of 12/31/2008. In the event this flow tilts slightly northeasterly, a setup for rare ocean-effect or bay-effect snow squalls could occur.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

12 in NW Spotsy. this am, I live 7 miles W of Fredericksburg & it's not unusal 4 me 2 b 5-7 degrees colder than town some nights. Also can b 3-4 degrees colder during the day.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 9, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse


Judging from the NWS site the elevation of Manassas Airport is only 194' feet whereas Google maps is depicting areas around Haymarket at 400'. Wonder if the airport being in at a lower level results in the colder temperatures. Similar situation exists around Frederick where the airport is at 308' and areas just to the west are over 1000' and 800' to the east. Maybe someone at CWG can speak to this.

Posted by: lobp | December 9, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, low lying spots do tend to be colder. The cold air is denser and settles into these lower spots. Good observation!

Posted by: davidstreit1 | December 9, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse


Was going to parse the NWS discussion on this weekend's storm, but the site looks to be down:

The Wikileaks folks hatin' on the weather service now?

Posted by: Flyover_Country | December 9, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm flying into Dulles on Thursday -- any models that include that day yet?

Posted by: the2belo | December 10, 2010 3:44 AM | Report abuse

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