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

Forecast: Wintry winds take hold

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


Just when we were getting used to the cold, now we have to deal with chilling winds, too.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Variably cloudy & becoming windy. Flurries possible. Mid-30s to near 40. | Tonight: Partly cloudy, brisk. 26-32. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly cloudy with a biting breeze. Mid-30s to near 40. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


It may not be officially winter yet, at least according to the astronomical definition, but meteorological winter has certainly taken hold of our area. Cold temperatures and biting winds are the story for the next few days. And while the winds should abate around midweek, the cold probably hangs around longer. Some flurries are possible along the way, but nothing like this is in our forecast for the time being.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↑) - Not much in the immediate forecast besides flurries, but by this time next week we may have a different story.

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 (Sunday): We're looking at a rather raw and biting day across the region. In the wake of an Alberta Clipper that slid to our south last night, winds whip up from the northwest, increasing to near 20 mph with gusts over 30 mph. We'll likely see a fair amount of clouds, and a few flurries could try to drift over us from the northwest. Temperatures struggle to highs in the mid-30s to near 40. Wind chills? They'll be stuck in the 20s once the winds get going by late morning. Confidence: High

Tonight: Be sure to bundle up if you plan on being outside after dark. Winds stay brisk from the west/northwest - around 10-15 mph with some higher gusts - as temperatures drop toward lows in the mid-to-upper 20s (suburbs) to near 30 (downtown). Skies should clear a bit overnight. Confidence: High

Any chance of a warm-up? Keep reading for the forecast through midweek...

Tomorrow (Monday): Winds from the west howl around 15-25 mph with gusts to near or over 35 mph. Under partly to mostly cloudy skies, the mercury once again struggles to highs in the mid-30s to near 40. With some upper-level energy spinning about to our northwest, a few more flurries are possible. Confidence: High

Tomorrow Night: Pretty much everyone gets down to lows in the 20s with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Winds of 10-15 mph, with higher gusts, do no one any favors. Brrr! Confidence: Medium-High


Increasing sun on Tuesday won't do much to offset the chill of continued gusty winds. Winds should finally weaken by Wednesday, which looks to keep the sunnier trend going. Expect highs in the mid-30s to near 40 Tuesday and near 40 Wednesday. At night, the stars take on a tranquil clarity and brightness in the winter chill as lows drop into the 20s. Confidence: Medium

By Brian Jackson  | December 5, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Cold holds. Flurries tonight?
Next: Forecast: Biting breeze remains


We had a few flurries just after 6:00am here in fashionable Montgomery Village/Germantown.

Posted by: hawknt | December 5, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

my interpretation of that 2(↑) is that there is a 20% chance of snow next sunday.

if the storm is supposed to get here next mon/tue/wed etc... that wouldn't be reflected in the SPI, since the SPI is only supposed to cover one week, right? and no one thinks it's supposed to snow before next weekend, right?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 5, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Walter, there's really no percentages involved, it's just a reflection of potential, you could infer chances from it but its more arbitrary, at least thats how I use it. Also, the chances for snow begin late on Sunday, so it's right on the edge of our weekly window.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 5, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So, is it correct to assume that the current SPI reflects the potential for flurries over the next few days and not so much on the potential for anything beyond next Saturday?

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 5, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse


No -- it only reflects potential for accumulating snow per the description.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 5, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification Jason. I guess I was more focused on "SPI is a daily assessment of snow potential for the next week on a 0-10 scale", than on the actual description of the SPI where accumulating snow is mentioned.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 5, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Walter, I think Brian is trying to say that there will be 3.1 inches of snow at your house by midnight Sunday night (which you will have to stay up to measure). I will send you a special ruler to use.

Posted by: eric654 | December 5, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

i think i just saw some snow in potomac, is that possible? I don't see anything on the radar.

Posted by: mkbf26 | December 5, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

thanks eric... most of my rulers have that .453" of "blank space" before the actual measuring part of the ruler starts... wasn't sure how i was going to handle that...


Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

A flake or two flying in Columbia, nothing much, but first I've seen this season!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

CWG - Have you looked at the HPC Long Range Discussion. There is talk of some storm in the 1950's that has a very similiar track (on the models) as the storm a week from today. Add some thoughts...

Posted by: greg2010 | December 5, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Nothing yet...just windy and cold...cloudy weather looks a lot like flurries.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 5, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@greg2010...As I recall, the winter of 1950/51 was the winter of bitter cold and snow in western Wisconsin...also the extremely bitter winter in Korea during the Korean War...involving the Chinese invasion and the arduous retreat from the Chosin Reservoir.

Some cold temperature records for January, 1951 in western Wisconsin include: -35 in Eau Claire, -40 in Menomonie and -45 in Mondovi. This is about as cold as it ever gets in that region of the North Woods, though an unofficial record of -62 was allegedly recorded in a tamarack swamp or similar locale near Rice Lake, WI in one of the cold waves of the late 1970's or 1980's.

The NWS discussion cites an apparent similarity between next week's model runs and the great Ohio valley storm of Nov., 1950. What I don't know about that period involves what type weather we had here in Washington at the time though 1950/51 was apparently a La Nina winter with a Greenland block or other negative NAO pattern...and it was a bitterly cold winter in the Upper Midwest and the Korean peninsula!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't see anything happening in NW DC-just clouds and wind. The radar shows some stuff way far out near Martinsburg-will that be coming our way?

Posted by: BruinGirl2001 | December 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Back from attending the ACC Championship Game, in which the Hokies beat FSU. Stayed at a friends house in Edna NC, about 10 miles S of Danville Va. It started snowing about noon & we left 4 Charlotte at 1pm, drove in snow until about 25 miles from Charlotte. Snow was on the ground from about 30 miles N of Charlotte to my friends house, he had about 1.5". Left at 9:30 2day & ground was snow covered until I got about 25 miles S of Charlottesville.
Hokies on 2 the Orange Bowl.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 5, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Bombo- 1-3 feet of snow fell in eastern ohio, northern west Virginia and Western PA during the Nov 1950 storm. I don't think there was much snow east of the Apps during that event.

Posted by: jfva | December 5, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Walter, do you have ideas for your next sculpture?

Posted by: tbva | December 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

tbva, really don't yet. we'll see when/how much, then i'll decide... but i LOVE that you're thinking about it too...!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 5, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

One of the GFS ensembles seems to develop a pretty healthy Miller-B storm off the Carolinas on Dec. then appears to head out to sea but we could see a few inches of accumulating snow here...most likely a dusting to 5". Other solutions tend to pull the storm to our north and east...just more wind & cold like we're now getting.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 6, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

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