With one midweek storm in our rearview mirror, another may loom up ahead. This one may end up more wet than wintry. But it's too early to say that for sure, and some snow and/or ice are possible, especially during the storm's early-to-middle stages and especially the further north and west you go.
I used the time without electricity to make a trip to Washington for a quick photo and video shoot. With the video clips, I assembled a video montage showing the onset of the storm and the trip into Washington. You may notice that the Mall has much less snow than the western suburbs, which is where I started and ended the video shoot.
We continue our friendship with clouds much of the upcoming period, and many days including today feature a wintry risk. It's just a few flurries or a snow shower this evening, then quiet and chilly through tomorrow. By the beginning of the week a complex storm system begins to target us with a snow, ice and/or rain risk.
Today's heavy coating to inch and a half of snow put a fitting cap on our wintry work week. No snow tonight but falling temperatures pose a refreeze threat. Saturday is cold with a chance of flurries which likely amount to even less than what we got today.
It's to state the obvious that the severe impact of Wednesday's "clusterslush" largely had mostly to do with the timing of the heavy precipitation, devastatingly coinciding with rush hour. But the physics of the storm itself were remarkable, which accentuated the impacts. Let's take a closer look
Yesterday we solicited your suggestions for naming Wednesday's storm, both on the blog and on Twitter. We've selected a sampling of our favorite, and now it's time for you to vote...
Light snow is overspreading to metro region from the west and southwest. A few bursts of moderate snow are possible with accumulations of half of an inch to an inch through midday.
Things seem to have turned for snow lovers as of late. While remnants of the Wednesday storm continue to cause issues, we run the risk of another dusting or a bit more today. Then there's a slight risk of a flurry late tomorrow before a pleasant Sunday. However, eyes are already starting to look toward another larger storm risk next week.
Today brought some melting and decent weather for digging out and returning to normal. A weak system passes the area tomorrow bringing a chance of light snow, potentially mixed with rain, during the morning into afternoon. A light accumulation is possible.
For the past few years, I've compiled the 'best of' comments from the first major snowstorms of the season for the D.C. area. Every year, the range of emotions exhibited here on Capital Weather Gang never cease to amaze me. Here's a sampling of your snow comments that stood out during this winter's first major snowstorm.
The Washington, D.C., area's first major snowstorm since last year's incredible Snowmageddon winter wasn't a historic one. After all, accumulations that totaled generally 5-10" west of I-95 (up to 11-12" in northern/western Loudoun County and southwestern Frederick County) and 4-8" east of I-95 yesterday, while substantial and nothing to sneeze at, do occur every once in a while in the nation's capital and surroundings. But it did swiftly and sufficiently fill in the D.C. snow hole, and with plenty of drama in the form of heavy rain, downpouring sleet and intense snow, all of which was accompanied by numerous reports of thunder.
The big excitement snow-wise is over but we have the opportunity for some snow flurry "aftershocks" on Friday and again on Saturday. Temperatures run slightly below the normal - which is no comfort to the thousands without power. More significant Arctic air lurks early next week and potentially more flakes may accompany its approach late Monday.
What a remarkable, volatile day weatherwise. Mercifully though, the thundersnow, the thundersleet, the rain, the hail, and the lightning mercifully are all over. Skies should gradually clear, but that may allow the sloppy snow to refreeze, especially in the colder suburbs. Be very careful in the morning. Tomorrow, it's partly sunny but windy and cold with highs in the mid-30s.
Steady snow should end in the Virginia suburbs, Frederick and Montgomery counties in Md. as well as the District by 11 p.m. (though scattered snow showers/flurries could linger longer), and in the east and northeast Maryland suburbs between 11 and midnight.
After a wild, intense opening act replete with rain, thunder, lightning, hail, sleet, and snow, precipitation has transitioned to mostly snow with some thunder for act 2. Radar shows heavy bands moving from south to north. Roads are rapidly deteriorating, visibility is poor, and travel is discouraged.
Reports from the southwest and radar indicate the main area of precipitation is rapidly approaching. In Charlottesville, the precipitation began as rain and is changing to sleet. Thunder has been reported in the vicinity of both Charlottesville and Fredericksburg. As the initial band of precipitation comes in, some areas may initially see heavy rain quickly becoming mixed with sleet. Thunder is possible.
The National Weather Service has extended the Winter Storm Warning over the immediate metro area and now includes the District as well as Fairfax, Prince William, southern Fauquier, and Stafford counties in Va. and Anne Arundel and Prince George's county in Maryland. Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's county remain under a Winter Weather Advisory. The Warning is in effect through 4 a.m. for the potential for 5-10 inches of snow. It is also warning about "dangerous" travel conditions developing around 4 p.m. with snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour.
After a sloppy half inch to two inches of snow and sleet since the pre-dawn hours, precipitation throughout the metro region has changed over to rain and sleet and is diminishing. But a major, potentially remarkable thump of snow is coming later today.
Light wintry mix that overspreads the area for the early morning may taper for a time before a wall of afternoon snow arrives. While some rain could mix in briefly, pretty much everyone is looking at the potential of a challenging late day outdoors as a quick moving but intense storm sweeps through with moderate to heavy snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery, Howard, and Frederick counties in Maryland and Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties in Virginia from 7 a.m. this morning through 4 a.m. Thursday morning. It is forecasting 4-8 of snow in this area with the possibility of greater amounts in the higher terrain. For the District and points south and east, the NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 10 a.m. this morning through 4 a.m. Thursday morning.
For the next two hours, I'm going to post short updates every 30 minutes or so on the models coming in.
At the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Seattle, the crowd of top weather and climate scientists has been buzzing about the potential East Coast storm event. Today I caught up with one of the foremost experts on winter weather forecasting, Dr. Louis Uccellini, to get his take on the situation. In addition to getting his thoughts on the forecast, I also asked him why the computer models have struggled to agree on projections for several winter storms so far this season, especially compared to last winter.
A major winter storm is closing in. It begins as light mixed precipitation Wednesday morning with probably only light accumulations in the far north and west suburbs. Then heavy snow develops from west to east in the afternoon and evening. Our initial thinking is for about 3-6" from the D.C. and to the southeast and 4-8" north and west but is subject to change.
All's quiet today except for the quickly growing snow lover excitement regarding tomorrow's storm. For the first time in a few days, the whole area has risen above freezing. We stay precipitation free until near sunrise tomorrow, and the first half of the day features light snow (west) or mix and rain (east). Then heavier snow or rain changing to snow comes in during the afternoon to make things quite a mess.
An intense storm develops Wednesday threatening snow late after light mixed precipitation in the morning. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the entire metro region Wednesday afternoon and night. Snow could come down quite heavily Wednesday evening through around midnight. This is potentially a short-lived, but intense event.
The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for the north and west suburbs from Wednesday afternoon through late Wednesday night. Counties in the watch include Frederick, Carroll, northern Baltimore, Harford, and Montgomery in Md. and Rappahannock, Loudoun and northern Fauquier in Va. The watch indicates the potential for five inches or more of snow.
After three days of solid below freezing temperatures in most of the D.C. area, the mid-to-even upper 40s today are going to feel really nice. Don't get used it to though as there are increasing indications accumulating snow may fall across the region late in the day Wednesday and Wednesday night.
We're closely tracking the storm system set to arrive in the region on Wednesday. As the evening models run, we'll let you know what they say and what it might mean for the forecast.
We struggled to try to break freezing again today and most spots failed, but tomorrow the area looks to soar into the 40s. Enjoy the short break, as colder air is sure to return soon enough. Besides that, we're continuing to watch the storm scheduled to impact the area on Wednesday and it's looking to bring everything from rain to snow to the area.
During a winter where almost every precipitation forecast has been tough, predicting Wednesday's storm may be the most challenging. What we can now say with confidence is a storm is quite likely beginning early Wednesday morning with precipitation taking multiple forms across the region before it all ends Wednesday night.
We've had some mighty cold days this January. But the current departure from average for the month of -0.7F pales in comparison to December's -4.9F. It turns out that December 2010 in Washington, D.C., was the eighth coldest on record since 1950. To put December 2010 into deeper historical context, I decided to look at things from a decadal perspective.
We stay in the deep freeze for one more day before a pretty significant warm-up Tuesday. Then we contend with a storm early Wednesday through Wednesday night which, depending where you live, has a good chance to produce appreciable rain and/or snow.
The storm threat we've been tracking for many days now has been pushed back slightly again. It now appears that Wednesday should feature the brunt of precipitation. The rain/snow line currently wants to set up somewhere in the area, putting those west of D.C. at greater risk for accumulation than those to the east. Nevertheless, odds seem good for everyone to see some snow fall.
A cold front today reinforces yesterday's chill - with a bit of a breeze to boot. Cold remains the story until a coastal storm threatens midweek. Whether we get precipitation and what kind - snow, wintry mix, rain, or all of the above - depends, as usual, on the storm's still uncertain timing and track.