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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Alert: "Dangerous" travel around rush hour

By Jason Samenow

Winter storm warning extended southeast

11:45 a.m. update: 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.

In an earlier Special Weather Statement (bold emphasis added), the NWS cautioned:

"...RAPIDLY DETERIORATING CONDITIONS FOR THE MID TO LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING RUSH HOUR COMMUTE...

After a break in precipitation this morning ... Accumulating snow will overspread the area this afternoon and evening. A mix of rain and snow will quickly change to all snow during the afternoon as it becomes heavy. The period of heavy snow will coincide with the late afternoon and evening rush hour commute across most of the region ... Including the Washington DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. Conditions in southern Maryland will deteriorate around sunset as precipitation changes to snow.

The heavy snow will reduce visibilities below a quarter mile with snowfall accumulation rates at times of 2 inches per hour. This will produce dangerous travel conditions during rush hour. Snow will move out of the area by midnight."

I endorse this message and would not advise being on the roads after 4 p.m. You may risk getting caught in horrendous backups and/or getting stuck somewhere.

The model output this morning (from the GFS and NAM) support snowfall rates of at least 1-2" per hour from 4 to 7 p.m. - then gradually winding down around 9 or 10 p.m. Again, do not be surprised if thunder accompanies the snow. It has already been reported with precipitation in West Virginia.

Wes Junker, our winter weather expert has written in to say:

"The radar over West Virginia is looking impressive this morning and the models continue to advertise a big thump this afternoon. The model soundings this morning continue to suggest the potential convection (i.e thunder) embedded within the band of heaviest snow which could lead to intense snowfall rates of an inch or two an hour."

"The NAM predicts 1.00" of liquid equivalent in a 6 hr period and the GFS .75". That would translate to 7 to 10 inches of snow if we had a 10-1 snow to liquid ratio. The actual ratios probably will be lower than that in the city but such intense snowfall would still accumulate rapidly. The heavy precipitation rates should lead to temperatures falling rapidly this afternoon when the next shot of heavy precipitation occurs which should lead to most of the precipitation falling in the form of snow."

Also of note, NOAA's Hydrometeorological prediction center has raised probabilities of getting more than 4" of snow over the region to 70%, with 40% odds of getting 8" or more and 10% of 12" or more.

By Jason Samenow  | January 26, 2011; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Alerts, Latest  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: AM update: A break before big snow boom
Next: Heavy rain/sleet rapidly changing to snow

Comments

The thunder-snow is going to be incredible! I'm ready for the blizzard!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 26, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

So if we have this then where is the WSW?

Posted by: cubscapsfan | January 26, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

How likely is it that we'll get something higher than 6"?

Posted by: Heraklitus | January 26, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Omg, the commute this afternoon is going to be a disaster!

Posted by: Alexandria2009 | January 26, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

And still nothing from OPM

Posted by: Bious | January 26, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Man! I was watching TWC, but there testing the Alerts today :(

Posted by: benzachr | January 26, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

EVERYBODY PANIC!

Think I'll cut out at noon, maybe fire up the grill around 7pm or so when it's coming down nice and thick. Burgers taste better when you make 'em in the snow.

Posted by: random-adam | January 26, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This means I'll be heading out of work a little after lunch.

Posted by: dmackerman6226 | January 26, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

BobMiller2, just keep in mind thundersnow is usually very isolated (or at least the thunder part). You can get into a big band without any and still get the rates... which is probably all that really matters for a snow lover.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

oh boy... the GFS, like the NAM before it, still looks excellent for dc. more importantly at this point than models, actual the radar shows an actual big blob of actual precip actually heading our way.

breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out...

i've installed a webcam so you can follow my reaction(s) to forecasts/snow throughout the day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBPcoI4OE9Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=11s

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 26, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Stupid question but what does OPM stand for?

Posted by: cubscapsfan | January 26, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

OPM just posted 2 hour early release.

Posted by: giantsfan | January 26, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Just shoveled the slop out of the driveway to prepare for tonight. What was out there is rapidly melting with temps in the mid 30's. I can hear it running thru the downspout as I type.

We'll definitely lose a little snow accumulation on the front end before the ground cools down enough. Won't make much difference though, I suppose.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 26, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

OPM Just announced a 2 hour early departure:

http://www.opm.gov/status/index.aspx

Posted by: greg421 | January 26, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

OPM - Office of Personal Management. They decide when the government shuts down or early. And as so many places around here are pinned to that, everyone follows it with bated breath.

Posted by: hereandnow1 | January 26, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: nrasch0402 | January 26, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

OPM update: Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure time from work

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 26, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@greg 421
OPM = The Office of Personnel Management.

http://www.opm.gov/

They're the ones who decide whether the federal government is working or not.

Posted by: warrenjwells | January 26, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm currently weighing the up's and down's of either staying down in the DC area until the heaviest is over and potentially missing out on some ridiculous rates north of town, or trying to get home through the storm at it's height this evening. Being from the lake-effect belt in NY, I consider myself a pro at driving in the snow, but some of the progged rates make even me think twice.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm ready for a blizzard also! Seems like mother nature & the meteorologists have been teasing us all this winter. So far I've only been disappointed with the snow outcomes vs their predictions this. I hope today's system will be a "Punch in the face"!

Posted by: taurvon | January 26, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gang - You're doing a tremendous job with this forecast so far. I've noticed a lot of people at work planning to stay at work into the commute, most citing that the local weather forecast didn't sound that bad...I'm now using your last update from Jason to "warn" people of, at least, a potential for a dangerous commute.

Thank you!

Posted by: parksndc | January 26, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Looks like its time to head to the good old Harris Teeter and the ABC store for some snow essentials before all the crazies get there. I'm no meterologist, but I'm thinking we're going to get slammed with more than 8 inches. Come on SNOWTHUMP!

Please?

Posted by: C-Dizzle | January 26, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Much like a lot of people, I am bailing from work at noon. I live out in Bristow, so I want to get home for the poo hits the fan weatherwise. Maybe I will stop by the store and get some stuff to make a crockpot pot roast this afternoon.


Mmmmmmmmm.....

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | January 26, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Feds are out 2 hrs early.

http://www.opm.gov/status/index.aspx

Posted by: WestEndVoter | January 26, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@Ian: Thanks for the reply about snow:liquid ratio. I've looking at the SREFs and we are between the 5 and 10 contours the entire time. There may not be a lot of confidence in something like snow ratio from the SREF but something must be keeping NWS from upping the depths, given the QPFs that keep coming out of the models.

Posted by: annapyr | January 26, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Guess you need to refresh the comments page...

Posted by: WestEndVoter | January 26, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Snow is Nature's instrument for eliminating incompotent motorists from the gene pool.

Posted by: localgoober | January 26, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Yep, a big punch in the face, just LOOK at that radar, it is big, mean, fast, and headed right for us!

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 26, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

RE: Snow accumulation rates being all that matter to a snow lover.

Oh no. No no no. I want that t-snow. Just gimme one decent flash & a big rumble.
Only experienced it once & that was decades ago.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 26, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Thumpocalypse?

Posted by: paperball | January 26, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Am I correct in assuming the huge precipitation in WV will be missing us to the north and that the bands forming over the carolinas now and in the next few hours will be what gets us?

Posted by: inthemiddle2 | January 26, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Everyone understands the scenario for tonight? It will be very treacherous once you see the snow begin. Rapid deterioration! Can you leave work early? I hope?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

So far, nothing but rain in NW Spotsy. temp has gone up 1.8 degrees in last 2.5 hrs, now 36.2. At this rate I'll b close to 40 by 4:30.
Still leery of the snow accum. being forecast, far N & W may be all snow but still think immediate DC will have some rain mixing in at first. Temps will b to mild at onset of next round of prec. Sure hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 26, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

What's the Fed outlook like now for tomorrow Jason?? More than 1.5 capitols?
Thanks! I LOVE this site!

Posted by: Wfisler | January 26, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

when I watch the radar, I hear Jaws music...

Posted by: bachaney | January 26, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Will leaving at 3pm probably be ok? Only going from DC to Alexandria.

Posted by: Alexandria2009 | January 26, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for my coworkers who use MARC's Camden line. The first train out of DC isn't til 4pm. Only alternative is Penn to Odenton, but that only works if you have somebody to pick you up. MTA canceled bus service between Odenton and Laurel stations a couple years ago.

Posted by: zizzy | January 26, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@Brian, CWG: I would just stay put and enjoy the SN++ from a fixed location. I remember a really stressful drive back home from Balto to DC in 1984, on the B-W Parkway, in snow that I didn't think could get any heavier, when it started thundering & lightning, and came down even harder! Visibility was so low, I could barely see 6' in front of my car. It was hard to enjoy.

Posted by: petworthlad | January 26, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

CWG- If we're expecting snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour later this afternoon, early evening, should those of us taking Metro think about getting home early? Will Metro be able to handle the heavy snowfall on their exposed tracks? I know that Metro shut down in the huge storms we had last winter. Normally I travel home via Metro to the District from Braddock Road station around 8-9pm.

Thanks, and you guys do a great job!

Posted by: daz314 | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@bachaney haha, now everytime I look at the radar and the storm coming I have the theme in my head

Posted by: finger11 | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

If it is going to be this bad, and it's entirely possible that there could be more than 5 inches of snow, why isn't there a WS Warning?

Posted by: 4hand | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

This is a very March-esque storm

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Camden - the fact that the NWS has an 'advisory' up for many locations; doesn't help. People don't understand the difference well enough. They equate advisory with other 'advisories we've had this evening. Thankfully the Gang's blog is very helpful!

Posted by: parksndc | January 26, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@bobmiller2 In the last thread you were making claims that I was saying something about this being a bust and going on about how people always say this yada yada yada. I DID NOT say this was going to be a bust so please read carefully before calling me out. When did I say it was going to be a bust? Quite the contrary, I said that we were going to get thumped and there was no doubt.

Posted by: dcg35 | January 26, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Changed to WSW as of 1142 am. 5-10 inches.

Posted by: jrbednar | January 26, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Very thankful that I was a wuss this morning and chose to work from home. Was starting to question that decision until I read this post.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | January 26, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@capweathergang. i know this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but you would have issued a WWA or WSW for the immediate DC metro area if you were NWS? it seems like NWS is really behind the 8 ball here.

Posted by: jms12 | January 26, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

We are being released at 1:30 here in Hagerstown so we can be safely at home before the real stuff starts, it appears to just be entering Allegeny County now.

Posted by: PhilR | January 26, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ah I see NWS just issued a WSW for DC ... finally. I usually like NWS, but they were definitely following CWG's lead for this storm - it seems like you guys have always been one, two, or three steps ahead of Sterling.

Posted by: jms12 | January 26, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I want to know what you think of traveling on Metro too. My wife will be using from 3-4 or 430 pm going Arlington to Shady Grove and then bus from there. Should she leave before 3?

Posted by: dkf747 | January 26, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I am in 22191 and i still think some in my area are not taking this seriously b/c of the above freezing temps. Me personally? I am SO excited about a 'thumpocalypse'(thanks paperball!) that i can hardly contain myself. Really hoping i am not too far South to get a good thumping! We are safe inside and have the sleds ready for tomorrow!

Posted by: lisajulia | January 26, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

parksndc - I see what you mean. Yes, it is unfortunate.

Everyone connected to OPM or OPM status does see the DC-area federal govt is shutting down two hours early today? Most school systems are now following suit.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

hmm...let's see....tp....bread....milk...eggs.... ah fuggetaboutit! Killians will suffice!

Posted by: 141stvb | January 26, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I think you will be fine to travel up until 5 PM in the city to the east. We should initially start as rain. I am concerned with mixing issues based on some of the guidance so we will have to wait and see to tell if it lives up to the hype.

Posted by: rvp22 | January 26, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Looks like first stuff crossing I64 between Richmond and Charlottesville....or about 90 nm sw of DC moving at about 30 knots in our general direction. Blacksburg radar shows heavier returns 40 miles sw of that first line...between Salem and Appomattox.

Posted by: Hiflyer | January 26, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@dcg35

Sorry, I must have mistaken someone else's comment as yours.
-------
It looks very wintry outside...light sleet here in NE Loudoun. Gosh I hope I experience thunder-snow.

Like I said before, Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOOOOOW!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7LW0Y00kE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhlSy95Bgvc

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 26, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Finally the WSW:
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
1142 AM EST WED JAN 26 2011

DCZ001-MDZ013-014-VAZ050>056-502-270045-
/O.UPG.KLWX.WW.Y.0007.000000T0000Z-110127T0900Z/
/O.EXA.KLWX.WS.W.0003.000000T0000Z-110127T0900Z/
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-ORANGE-CULPEPER-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-STAFFORD-SPOTSYLVANIA-
SOUTHERN FAUQUIER-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...ANNAPOLIS...CULPEPER...
MANASSAS...MANASSAS PARK...FAIRFAX...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH...
FREDERICKSBURG
1142 AM EST WED JAN 26 2011

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM EST THURSDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS
ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL
4 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN
EFFECT.


* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW...HEAVY AT TIMES LATE THIS AFTERNOON
AND EARLY THIS EVENING.

* ACCUMULATIONS...5 TO 10 INCHES.

* TIMING...A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW BEGINNING MID AFTERNOON...QUICKLY
CHANGING TO ALL SNOW. SNOW WILL END AFTER MIDNIGHT FROM
SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST. THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL IMPACT THE
AFTERNOON RUSH HOUR.

* TEMPERATURES...MIDDLE 30S TODAY WITH OVERNIGHT TEMPERATURES IN
THE MIDDLE TO UPPER 20S.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 10 TO 15 MPH TODAY...BECOMING NORTHWEST THIS
EVENING.

Posted by: awshux | January 26, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Who else remembers the thundersnowstorm we got here in March 1984? Near DuPont Circle I saw 4 inches fall in 45 minutes!! Continuous thunder and lightning. I've never seen such instense snowfall rates since then. Some places NE of DC got 7 inches.

Posted by: doubtingdavid | January 26, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

**A WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN POSTED FOR THE ENTIRE METRO REGION**

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 26, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I wonder if the same thing that happened a few weeks ago will happen again, which was issuing a storm warning for the whole region & caused schools to let out early & all we got was an hour of flurries! Lol!.
Also, I wonder if our local meteorologists receive commission from local grocery stores to issue unnecessary warnings just to hype the region up & cause everyone to spend extra money on food?

Posted by: taurvon | January 26, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Brian--just because your experience indicates that you can handle the snow well doesn't mean that the person in front of you (or behind you) is as well off! Especially around here....

Posted by: jkuchen | January 26, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2, no worries. There are a million comments now and it's an easy mistake to make. Now I have to figure out my commute from Bowie, MD, through Dc, then into Arlington. I get the feeling from CWG that I should not work until 6pm as usual....oh well, bring on the snow baby!

Posted by: dcg35 | January 26, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

CWG, I'm a contractor working in DC who lives in North Reston. It's unlikely I'm going to get let go early, unlike my fedgov colleagues -- I'm probably stuck until 5pm. Should I argue for getting out early, or suck it up and plan to wait it out?

Posted by: BuffaloGal78 | January 26, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

In the Blue Ridge east of Front Royal, we've had a bit of snow, sleet, freezing drizzle, and freezing fog... about 3/8ths inch of crunchy accumulation... currently 29.8F...

Posted by: spgass1 | January 26, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

After reading all of these comments, I can't take it anymore. Are you all a bunch of children? I mean, can't you think for yourselves? How do you function? Can't you make decisions for yourselves - Should I leave work early? I have a flight scheduled for next Friday, should I cancel it? I have a doctors appointment on Feb 1st, will I be able to make it? No updates from OPM, I'm a grown adult and I may have to work today, wah, wah, wah!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dave67 | January 26, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I have the same question as inthemiddle2. Based on Mosaic, the snow in WV is moving NE, not east. So where is the snow that's supposed to blast DC coming from? SW Virginia?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 26, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@Brian -

I, like you, feel confident driving in the snow. What worries me is other drivers. Particularly the ones around here, who seem to think it's fine to take their luxury RWD Lexus sedan out in a blizzard. Then they get stuck, and you are stuck behind them. Doesn't matter how good you and your vehicle are, you aren't going anywhere.

I'd endorse your leaving as soon as precip starts, or waiting until it's over.

Posted by: jahutch | January 26, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"I want to know what you think of traveling on Metro too. My wife will be using from 3-4 or 430 pm going Arlington to Shady Grove and then bus from there. Should she leave before 3?"

Metro should be fine at that time, but you may want to be more concerned about the buses out that way, especially if it's ride-on. They may start only running on Snow Emergency routes (main roads) and they may institute S only schedules. Check the Dr. Gridlock blog for more info.

Metro can still run above ground as long as the 3rd rail isn't covered, and that takes 7-8 inches of snow.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | January 26, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The OPM 2 hour early dismissal doesn't do much good for those of us whose usual workday ends at 6pm, does it? Wouldn't hitting the road at 4pm be very risky?

Posted by: prupie | January 26, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Any guesses on the probability of power going out? I live in Ward 5, land of trees and overhead power lines, and am thinking I should make alternate arrangements for tonight.

Posted by: kfrogz | January 26, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone should leave work early...go home...hide in a closet........this is an odd storm that will bring 5-10 inches in an avalanche like plop.....

Posted by: SA-Town | January 26, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to see that most of you are remaining calm but planning appropriately for travel home tonight. Please do plan around this scenario for a quick few inches of snow over a short time.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, @dcg35 - @BobMiller2 often engages mouth before mind. He was also needlessly ribbing @KRUZ (who is one of the resident snow plowers on the boards and understandably NOT always a snow fan) in an earlier post about predicting and wanting a bust from this storm...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 26, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@dave67 I completely agree. These people are the kinds of people who drive 10mph in a light drizzle, you have to understand. They can't think for themselves, or you know -- go outside and LOOK at the weather?

Do you honestly expect a answer to "should I leave at 3:27pm? Or should I leave at 5?"

Leave whenever you feel comfortable driving. Jeez.

Posted by: dmackerman6226 | January 26, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

we are not missing it.

http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_loop.php

it's not moving north, it's just getting bigger.

the storm we missed it basically had to hug the coast and it didn't and still models then were all over the place, some said it'd be a hit others out to sea. every single model is in agreement as the CWG have said for a couple days now and it hasn't changed.

last couple frames looks to be slowing down...

Posted by: finger11 | January 26, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Dave67s comment seems more childish than us asking for clarification. After all, they said travel would be dangerous but only referred to roads.

Posted by: dkf747 | January 26, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Should we be reading into any of the radar right now? Like watching paint dry. :)

Posted by: NoVA_Motorcyclist | January 26, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

CWG'ers - I'm noticing lightning bolts on the embedded radar map you have at the start of this post, showing in those convective bands over WV and presumably heading our way. Is that TRULY recorded lightning? If so, I didn't know your embedded maps could capture the goods that well...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 26, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyone near Charlottesville VA? I see several lightning strikes near there! Thundersnow might be about to occur? Meteorologically exciting, but I advocate safety and to be off the roads!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

dave67 - Oh settle down, will you? This IS what ADULTS do when they need to make a decision: they seek out INFORMATION upon which to BASE that decision. What do you do, consult a quarter or a Magic Eight Ball? Good grief...

Posted by: mcj59 | January 26, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm in charlotesville, haven't seen any lightning/heard any thunder yet

Posted by: danuva | January 26, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Where do you people work? If you need to leave early or want to avoid the early chaos, then LEAVE. I'm bailing at 1:00 pm. You don't need CWGs permission, their part is to tell us what the weather will be. Your part is to act accordingly.

And just because the Fed's say 2hrs early doesn't mean you can't take a half day if your situation warrants it.

Posted by: superseiyan | January 26, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nrasch0402 | January 26, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

It's actually a light drizzle here in Cville right now. everything is just wet. looks like that may change in a matter of minutes, though

Posted by: danuva | January 26, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

dave67,

nobody should have to apologize for being mature. however, people should have to apologize for being immature.

Posted by: snowedin85 | January 26, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

And will Metro put on extra mid-afternoon trains and buses to accommodate all the early-departing Feds? Fat chance.

Posted by: roac | January 26, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I had a lightning bolt strike very close to me during a vigorous snowstorm many years ago. A close strike of lightning during thundersnow is just as vivid, loud, and scary as during a summer thunderstorm. Don't go out on the sledding hill during thundersnow.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@MCJ a WINTERSTORM WATCH and federal government closing two hours early and several posts from the CWG group warning of silly snowfall rates later this afternoon seems like quite a bit of information to me.

Dave is spot on with this one. How much information does one need?

Posted by: superseiyan | January 26, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Mesocyclone right over Cville. Can't wait for that to come right over good old Arlington, VA!

Posted by: benzachr | January 26, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

And will Metro be putting on extra midafternoon buses/trains to accommodate the early-departing feds? Fat chance, say I.

Posted by: roac | January 26, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

A punch, huh?

How about "Below the Belt(way)"?

No, makes it sound like Spotsylvania ...

Posted by: Groff | January 26, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

CWG,

Is it just me or are we only going to get the eastern edge of the precip shield that is showing up on radar? Looks like main thrust goes from WV up into Western MD and PA. What am I missing?

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | January 26, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Re: Earlier thread about possible Android app. YES PLEASE. The only way I can read comments on my Droid is by following the tiny url from a tweet.
I have followed you year round for a long time, although I don't often post. Appreciate your hard work and intelligent discussions of the models.
The comments are always entertaining, sometimes silly, but often enlightening. I'd like to be able to read them on my phone easily.
Now, let the thumping commence.

Posted by: Restondad2 | January 26, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

And "Sno Mas" doesn't work for the first storm of the winter.

Posted by: Groff | January 26, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

bodypolitic1 - that is what I am wondering too... seems like the others where its just scootin on by to the west

Posted by: NoVA_Motorcyclist | January 26, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I like it - Avalanche-like Plop. This isnt really a surprise snow...we've known since Mon AM this was happening. I think we should just call this one, The Avalanche.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 26, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

superseiyan - People need as much information as they need. Not everyone's living situation, commute, work flexibility etc is the same as yours. I don't see any reason to attack people for asking questions about the timing/track of a potentially dangerous weather system. That doesn't make them BABIES. I think you and dave67 etc are the ones who need to grow up.

Posted by: mcj59 | January 26, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Adam Caskey just said 6 - 10 for DC, Alexadria, Arlington & points west. He also said some western suburbs (Loudoun, Frederick, Western Montgomery) COULD see 9 - 11"+.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 26, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Where is the CWG map with zones?

Posted by: librarian5 | January 26, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately I can't move this afternoon's errand to Friday afternoon due to the scheduled dance at Elks Lodge Friday night...


Why is "much-unneeded rain" continually doing this???...I mean scheduling these winter events for my heavy dance weeks...but not timing the events so that the dances get cancelled???

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 26, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess we'll know in hindsight, but NWS only having a WWA for the first part of today IS unfortunate. My brother drives all over the metro region for work, and I told him to get off the roads early today. He scoffed at me, and said NWS only has an advisory (which is mainly where he gets his info), and it didn't look too bad. He listens to WTOP as well. He's not obsessively checking the weather updates like me :) Hopefully he'll listen- I have tried to get him to check out CWG, to no avail.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 26, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

danuva - appreciate your observations and updates from Charlottesville

bodypolitic1 - radar isn't supposed to be a prognostication tool. It shows what the atmosphere is doing at the very moment.. doesn't show you the turbulence and the upper air instability that will cause radar images .. several hours from now.. to be solid and quickly overspread the Metro Area with heavy precipitation. Radar might be good for predicting, say, 20 minutes into the future--if that. It is hard to look at the echoes and NOT think they will stay the same over a period of time. I know.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

This might be "Thumpty Dumpty"

Posted by: dvorak9 | January 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

NWS - Winter Storm Warning...IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!!

Posted by: parksndc | January 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@Dave67 and @ dmackerma6226 If all it took was looking out the window NOW, no one would be on this blog at all.

For that matter why are YOU here? Why aren't you just looking out the window?

If there's anything that's immature it's going out and assuming the weather is fine because it looks fine out there. Unless you're just going down to the corner or something.

I get on this blog so I can plan ahead. Anyone above the emotional age of 16 or 17 (and I've got a teen) does that when the weather conditions warrant it. Sure, there are too many people wanting IMBY or minute by minute forecasts, but the CWG can ignore them and so can you.

As for "driving in drizzle at 10MPH", I'd rather be behind someone driving cautiously when the roads may be hazardous than behind some moron in an SUV doing 70MPH. Usually with their lights off!

Posted by: concepcion611 | January 26, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@doubtingdavid - I do!!!! I was trying to find out when that storm occurred. It was a clipper if I remember correctly at about 7:00 pm!!!

Posted by: snowlover | January 26, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

My children want a schoolcast for Thursday....

Today is a bonus day..we figured no afterschool activities but didn't expect cancellation.. As for tomorrow, I figure at least a delay is likely for Fairfax County. They hope for cancellation, of course.

thoughts?

Posted by: littles1 | January 26, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Heavy cold rain in Charlottesville now. I haven't heard any thunder or seen any lightning.

Posted by: cafsanders | January 26, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

When is the colder air suppose 2 arrive? I'm now up to 37.4, temp has gone up another 1.2 degree in the last hr. & 3 degrees since 9am. Started 2 rain again, will b surpised if I see more 2" of snow in Spotsy.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 26, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@Dave67 and @ dmackerma6226 If all it took was looking out the window NOW, no one would be on this blog at all.

For that matter why are YOU here? Why aren't you just looking out the window?
------------

I don't think he was bemused by people being here. Or seeking information. I think he's bemused that there's a WINTER STORM WARNING, that the CWG has already said they'll be near unprecedented snowfall rates late this afternoon, the government has let people out early. Surely people at this point should be intelligent enough to decide when to leave their offices?

Instead people are STILL asking questions like should they take X flight, should they leave work at 3:30 or 4:00? etc. That is a curious lack of independent thought IMO. And thing is at this point CWG or other posters can't make that call for you.


Posted by: superseiyan | January 26, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Dupont Circle Snowball Fight event page is now up! http://bit.ly/fFb1QF 8pm kick-off. Bring your game!

Posted by: mlipin | January 26, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Was that March 1984 storm on March 9th? There was only one time I got snow on my birthday growing up and it was a doozy, but I don't remember how old I was when it happened.

Posted by: cqjudge | January 26, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

the switchover here in cville should happen soon as the heavier precip moves through

Posted by: danuva | January 26, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I see, so radar is more of a snapshot. Which explains why people on weather boards talk about precip filling in where it's not apparent on radar. Appreciate that explanation, Camden. You guys rock n roll.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | January 26, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe many of us are dancing around like school kids who are about to witness their first snowstorm ever, especially after last year. You'd think we'd have had enough snow for the rest of our lives and then some. Regardless, I'm pointing the finger squarely at myself here, because I never get sick of snow. I guess that's the product of a snow-deprived childhood...

In any case, the setup for this storm is quite rare for this region - rain early, with no dominant cold high over Ontario advecting sub-freezing temps. Normally, when we get these snow to rain to snow storms, we may get a dusting or an inch on the back end. The dynamics with the current system are making all the difference, and should prove that we can get decent snows here without the classic nor'easter setup. The key is that the low's track has to be exactly in the sweet spot. Apparently, this one qualifies.

No doubt, this will be a "cement storm". Those of us up in years will be sore as all get out after we shovel what mother nature is about to drop on us. Take it easy, stay warm, and let the chaos begin.

Posted by: EF-6 | January 26, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My agency is officially in a full blown panic, and couldn't be more eager to get out of here, and are already saying OPM should close tomorrow. You know what? We deserved to have our pay cut. It is obvious most feds would rather avoid work than do it. Weren't you inspired by the SOTU last night? I was.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | January 26, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

SMH as the lowely temp, I'm not sure I can get off early! Ughhh, I hope my job follows the feds today...

Posted by: sdotchesley | January 26, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

SMH as the lowely temp, I'm not sure I can get off early! Ughhh, I hope my job follows the feds today...

Posted by: sdotchesley | January 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@doubtingdavid

What I remember most about Mar. 84 was how warm it was that day. At a meeting we had to open the windows. Then it started snowing that night and snowed all day Sat. Blew me away!

Posted by: mitch661 | January 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

superseiyan - And you continue to make the same erroneous assumption that people are looking for CWG to make a decision for them. I am so glad for you that you seem to have the power to read other peoples minds and look into their personal life situation based on a few random posts to an internet message board. You might want to take your mind reading apparatus into the shop. I think it could use a few tweaks.

Posted by: mcj59 | January 26, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

After several hours of rain and drizzle, snow has just re-commenced in Harrisonburg.

Posted by: estrunk | January 26, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

BRAD LAUGHS AT HIS FREINDS AND FAMILY BACK IN SC..who got 8 inches a few weeks ago when we had a total bust!!!!!! AND all they got was rain this time... Take that YALL!!!!!!!!!!! BRING ON THE SNOW!!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

We just moved here in October so I didn't get any Snowpacolypse action. I'm looking forward to the snow but not the drive home. I'll be stuck at my boyfriend's work in Centreville until 6 or 7 with no chance of leaving early.

Posted by: Dovienya1 | January 26, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

NWS is now predicting a 70% chance of >6"!!!!!!

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/pwpf_24hr/wwd_24hr_probs_sn.php

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 26, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

36.0 degrees here. looks like if all goes according to my evil plan, around 7 pm dc will be the best place in the country for snow. we're still sure this will be snow, right...? i'd be much less nervous if temps were dropping. when does that happen? before or during the "thump"?

looking at the radar i can see what look like summertime, i.e. thunder-producing, bands or waves coming up from southern virginia.

http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_lite_loop.php

is it those bands that are going to hit us, or is it the part pivoting over central WV?, or both?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 26, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Actual conversation at work.

Me: Those are awesome shoes(and they were; very yummy leopard print heels). Got your snow boots back in your office?

Them: What? Is it supposed to snow some more today? I thought it was just going to rain.

I'm convinced that the vast majority of people just don't pay a bit of attention to weather forecasts.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 26, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

back again @ doubting david

Now that I think about it, there must have been another March storm after 1984. I was a night auditor, which I didn't start until 1990, and had to get to work Sat. night. Took the bus because it had snowed all day and the roads were ridiculous.

Posted by: mitch661 | January 26, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

When was the Veteran's Day Snowstorm? 1987, I think. I went to work with flurries predicted, left work in Fairfax at noon with 8-12 predicted (and eight on the ground); by the time I went the 11 miles to the house, they were predicting 12-15 and my car was pushing snow in front of it by the bumper.

Stuck in traffic, I noticed someone taking pictures - I saw the flashes. Then I noticed that WTOP AM had static during the flash. THEN, I heard a huge boom after a flash. Only time I've ever seen thundersnow.

Posted by: oldiesfan1 | January 26, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

radar filling in quickly

Posted by: rocotten | January 26, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

radar filling in quickly

Posted by: rocotten | January 26, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ok MCJ. Knowing that there's a winter storm warning, that there'll be a near unprecedented rate of snowfall later this afternoon, and that the feds are off two hours early, for what reason would someone ask questions like these? (direct quotes):

"I'm probably stuck until 5pm. Should I argue for getting out early, or suck it up and plan to wait it out?"

"Will leaving at 3pm probably be ok?"

"CWG- If we're expecting snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour later this afternoon, early evening, should those of us taking Metro think about getting home early? "

Those read suspiciously like they're looking for CWG to make the decision for them. Because that's a step beyond seeking information. It's asking what course of action one should take. The information is there. It's been given.


Posted by: superseiyan | January 26, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for reporting your local conditions - glad to have them! Keep us posted. Stay safe.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Drove from Fairfax to Tenleytown. Conditions are good. One more trip to get the baby girl in Bethesda around 3 and then we are going to post up and watch the snow come a thunderin' down!

Posted by: mjwies11 | January 26, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

No school will open tomorrow. Dcps might get a two hour delay, but only if we get 8+ inches.

Posted by: heatherdc1980 | January 26, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice overall regional radar loop at
http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/Conus/northeast_loop.php

You can see how it is now stretching across Virginia as it moves NE.

Posted by: Hiflyer | January 26, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I have a meeting at 5pm, boss won't cancel it :(

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 26, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Leaving DC at 1pm to beat the crush of Feds leaving at 2. I have the yardstick ready in LoCo!

Posted by: DullesARC | January 26, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

steady, misty drizzle in 22191. Not sure of the temp.

Posted by: lisajulia | January 26, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Bring on the snow! Hopefully I can borrow a Subaru from work.....

Posted by: xCOOLHWIPx | January 26, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Firedragon

Had 2 guys at work say the same thing believe it or not..Both showed up this morning and had NO clue about the coming snow....

I asked when did you look at the weather last..they both said.." Uhhh..Sunday or so...TWC had said all rain for this system So i forgot all about it" " Its been too warm to snow...where the heck did this come from??"

LOL..... is all i got to say....

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

still no snow here in cville but the ground is getting slushy.

Posted by: danuva | January 26, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thunder sleet and rain in Crozet about 10 miles west of Charlottesville. Cars In the ditch on Interstate 64.

Posted by: crozet | January 26, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Capital Weather Gang can you help me with this one? I live in Oakton VA it's well above freezing and looking at the radar, the snow is not moving in our direction... maybe rain at the most. With the speed the storm/s are moving it should be out of here around 9pm... how can we even get close to 8inches of snow (even if it were snowing from this point on we would have to average an inch an hour to reach 8). I can not imagine the belief anymore that it's possible, am I missing something (I hope I am!)

Posted by: TheRealFrosty | January 26, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@BradFinWoodbridgeVA

Had 2 guys at work say the same thing believe it or not..

Where do you work that two guys were talking about "yummy" heels?????

Posted by: mscofield1 | January 26, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

lets get those temps down!

Posted by: rocotten | January 26, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

WHEN IS CANTORRE COMING TO DC!!!

LOL!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

same here, i was at a trumpet lesson and teacher was like:

So.. are you going to be able to make it to the concert tomorrow at 6PM?

UUH NO

why not?

its gunna snow

really? tell me about it. I want to know how much? an inch?

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 26, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@ superseiyan: Thanks for picking my quote as an example of somebody unnecessarily asking for advice. I think it was a good question. Everybody on here (and on the blog) mostly talk about driving conditions. Forgive me for being one of those who has to rely on public transportation (and a transportation system that has been steadily deteriorating over the years). Also, if you had used my full quote, you would have seen that I get out of work at 8-9pm, not the normal 5-7pm rush hour, which is when the snow is supposed to be coming down really heavily. So yeah, I asked for some advice, not just to CWG, but to anyone on here. But don't act like the CWG doesn't give advice, here are direct quotes (since you like them so much) from them:

I had a lightning bolt strike very close to me during a vigorous snowstorm many years ago. A close strike of lightning during thundersnow is just as vivid, loud, and scary as during a summer thunderstorm. Don't go out on the sledding hill during thundersnow.

I am glad to see that most of you are remaining calm but planning appropriately for travel home tonight. Please do plan around this scenario for a quick few inches of snow over a short time.

Everyone understands the scenario for tonight? It will be very treacherous once you see the snow begin. Rapid deterioration! Can you leave work early? I hope?

Posted by: daz314 | January 26, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

TheRealFrosty - radar isn't supposed to be a prognostication tool. It shows what the atmosphere is doing at the very moment.. doesn't show you the turbulence and the upper air instability that will cause radar images .. several hours from now.. to be solid and quickly overspread the Metro Area with heavy precipitation. Radar might be good for predicting, say, 20 minutes into the future--if that. It is hard to look at the echoes and NOT think they will stay the same over a period of time. I know.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Folks, stop fretting about the surface temperature being a few degrees above freezing! Trust me, that has no impact on whether we get snow or rain -- that part happens up in the clouds. It won't snow if it's too cold, either, though I doubt that's a concern at the moment.

And for the record, check my username -- I did indeed grow up in Buffalo, NY. I like snow -- I just want to be home before the worst of it hits!

Posted by: BuffaloGal78 | January 26, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

LOL..not yummy heels..LOL!!!

What i was saying is i had to gfuys that dont pay attention to the weather..and HAD NO IDEA snow was coming,,I get it though..leapord skin shoes..WOW!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Will my neighborhood store at 7th & N NW have a shoveled walk at 7:45pm so that I can buy bread? Would going at 6:15pm be better? Should I wear my boots with the 8" fur lined tops or can I slide by with the 6" leather uppers? I have a doctor's appointment at 10:30AM tomorrow morning, will they be giving flu shots or do you think they'll be out and that I should try the CVS around the corner? How many fingers am I holding behind my back right now?

Posted by: PerfectlyCromulent64 | January 26, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Snowing heavily in Harrisonburg.

Posted by: estrunk | January 26, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@Therealfrosty

yes you are... it isn't so much the surface temps that will play the largest role as the high atmospheric temps, which, inside of this storm will be very low, causing snow. second, how can you say THIS http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/Conus/centgrtlakes_loop.php
is going to pass in a few hours, you must not have been looking at the right RADAR...

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 26, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Everyone who thinks this will be a bust should repost here in about 5 hours - think you will be singing a different tune!

Posted by: Axel2 | January 26, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

For those wondering about snow in all 50 states last year (Feb 2010), please see pp. 26-27 of the Jan-Feb issue of Weatherwise, which explains that there was a brief period when a small portion of Florida had snow lying on the ground and "a small patch of snow [was] photographed high on Mauna Kea in Hawaii".

I've sent a couple of past emails to the Weatherwise editor about a couple of egregious mistakes in the magazine, but they never respond or print corrections.

This time, though, I believe the information in the magazine is correct.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 26, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

CWG is getting so popular, and rightly so. I wish the tone of the blog wasn't changing with the added readership- snarky comments etc. It's the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Actually, I can be a fan of snark at times, but some of these comments don't even come under that heading..unintelligent, nonrelated, just written to demean others ...

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 26, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@PerfectlyCromulent64

You owe me a keyboard. I just spit soda all over it.

Posted by: mscofield1 | January 26, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

My neighbor is outside putting out 3 or 4 bags of snow melt on his little drive way. i asked him why so much he said: after last year im not taken any chances...lol...he has enuff on his drive way to cover I 95..lol

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

It's getting a little breezy here in McLean. The trees weren't moving at all earlier.

Posted by: dbburns | January 26, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

daz314 - are you a walking-commuter like I am? The ice we had a week ago--and the slipper sidewalks this morning--made my commute just as hazardous as those who drive. I suspect in the metro area (the breakdown of our readers, overall in the region) there are more drivers than walkers. But you can have my complete empathy on the treacherousness of sidewalks during our winter weather lately. Even downtown-- I have to walk like a penguin. And falling/slipping seems VERY real. ugh! (ok, end complaining--I just wanted you to know that not all of us do drive, like you say) -- If you also have to depend on Metro, I worry about them shutting down above-ground stations for a short time late tonight.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

When forecsters use ambiguous language then it results in more confusion. The "should I leave at..." questions come because the forecasts says "mid-afternoon" without defining what that means? CWG should tick with the zone type of forecast like they did a few days ago. That was the best ever!

Posted by: dkf747 | January 26, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey PerfectlyCromulent,
That was a perfectly cromulent question. I am embiggened because of it

Posted by: JDK4 | January 26, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

How will the snow affect my pants?

Posted by: spdawson1 | January 26, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

WHERES SUE PALKA!!! I WANT TO THROW 6-10 in her face tonight..She was the very last one to come on board for the big snow...

I Still think theres a conspircy and she works for V-dot under the table..lol..

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

10 miles west of warrenton the winds are really picking up and the temperature is starting to drop—and a feeding frenzy is going on at our bird feeders.

Posted by: mudbucket | January 26, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Camden and Snow Dreamer thanks for the reply! It just get's so hot here in the summer and I have to retreat back north so I am always skeptical about big snows here when we are relying on the storm/low to pull in cold. Always like the cold to be established before hand (but hey, that's what makes each storm unique). I sure hope this storm is unique! PEACE OUT!!!

Posted by: TheRealFrosty | January 26, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

dbburns - getting breezy here in Metro Center too. I'd expect a continued moderate up-tick in breezes as the afternoon wears on. Especially windy at times... tonight. Sustained at times around 20mph perhaps. Gusts higher.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

For those that have transit questions, check out the Dr. Gridlock blog here http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dr-gridlock/

Provides a lot of good, timely info. In addition, he's pretty good about answering questions quickly.

Also, just announced that MARC will run a train on the Camden line departing Union Station at 3pm. The 5:51pm train will be canceled in its place.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | January 26, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

It's the calm before the storm here in Laurel. A light mist but nothing to be shaken up about. I'm ready for it though. I got the wine, a frozen pizza and my snuggie.

Posted by: WorfsBabyMama | January 26, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Im in the "calm before the storm" area at the moment. Its quiet, the birds are hunkered down,Even the daffodills retreated this morning back into the ground. I have the grass seed ready to go into the snow.

Posted by: pvogel88 | January 26, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Snowlover2 about the demeaning comments. Some of the comments posted last night were way beyond the pale. I've become very discouraged about this and don't visit this site as often as I once did because there is so much more nasty commenting.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 26, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@ Camden: Thank you. Yes, I'm a walking commuter fifteen/twenty minutes to and from each metro station. I do remember the ice storm we had back a week ago, that was really treacherous. My main concern was being stuck in Alexandria with no way but to walk back to the District in what seems like its going to be a heavy snowfall. Also, having only lived in DC a few years, I didn't know how Metro handled heavy snowfall rates on their exposed tracks.

Thanks again for the advice and for this great blog. And sorry for any perceived snark.

Posted by: daz314 | January 26, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

With the strength of that precipitation coming and the temperatures still holding steady in the mid to upper 30s I'm starting to worry a lot of those totals are going to be rain....

Posted by: rocotten | January 26, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@PerfectlyCromulent64--Thanks for the laugh, I think. I just snorted peanut butter through my nose, and now it's stuck there.

Posted by: Hoyas4Ever | January 26, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I've heard lots about the snow but am worried about the ICE. With warmer temps this morning Bethesda has a lot of SLUSH. That will all freeze before the snow sticks. Seems like a real mess to me.
updates and a couple of pictures on Bethesda conditions at

http://www.bethesdaactually.com/

Posted by: SnowLover1 | January 26, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a heckuva convective band in SW Virginia on radar taking direct aim on this area...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 26, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

GetJiggly2 - sure hope your boss also plans on personally driving you home, too. Good grief.

I'm forever thankful our office operates on the "we're all adults here" rule. Quantity of time sitting at one's desk has no direct correlation to quality of work. We get our stuff done, and if real life, such as weather, family or home issues interferes with the work week once in a while, well, that's just the way it goes. It's called not feeling guilty for not being a slave to a job. It's also why my employer happily hands us blackberries and laptops!! I know that's not the case for everyone, and I have had the opposite experience myself - I sure got lucky with this gig.

Sooo...bring on the snow. Can't wait to shovel the heavy stuff - only thing I'm not looking forward to. Having been out earlier, I share the concern here that too many folks will have a false sense of security later.

Posted by: bobosnow | January 26, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I thought metro only closed above-ground stations when there is there is at least 8" of snow...guess that might happen now (at least after rush hour)

Posted by: BH99 | January 26, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

spdawson1 asked "How will the snow affect my pants?"

Badly, if you can't reach a toilet.


Posted by: dottie_b | January 26, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Any reason why the NWS is suddenly lowering totals? This is from the Frederick County, VA area.

Posted by: sparkler39 | January 26, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ditto what @heatherdc1980 said about the schools.

I wouldn't be surprised if schools were closed for the rest of the week- pending the status of available snow days. If not closed, then a 2-hour delay is likely on Friday for many counties and schools.

Posted by: aquarnnr | January 26, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@Camden. I'm a walking commuter too and have to say I'm looking forward to this afternoon's walk home in some fresh snow more so than this morning's rain/sleet/slush combo (although with snow boots and umbrella it was no problem). Depends on timing though, might be similar walking home if it's before the rain/mix turns to snow.

Posted by: NZinDC | January 26, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

As a concerned parent, is this crippling storm appropriate for a 4 year old?

Posted by: bboyneko1 | January 26, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

It's snowing in Charlottesville. Woohoo!

Posted by: cvilleSnowMan | January 26, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

What's the Euro showing?

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 26, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

UMDTerpsGirl makes a good announcement to check Dr Gridlock http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dr-gridlock/
and that MARC will run a train on the Camden line departing Union Station at 3pm. The 5:51pm train will be canceled in its place.

BH99 - Amtrak & Metro generally follow the 8" rule but it will be so intense tonight that I don't think normal snow removal methods will be able to keep up for a few of the hours in question. It will be a close call.. I only err on the side of caution (realist?)

rocotten - I can tell you that surface temperatures now, will dip quickly within the precipitation field. I voiced concerned over high surface temps to my fellow CWG meteorologists yesterday, but it truly will be a unique atmospheric event tonight that will substantially chill the air and all surfaces. Plan for moderate to major impact please. I was a skeptic yesterday, but no longer!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@dottie_b

Thanks for the heads up!

Posted by: spdawson1 | January 26, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

heavy heavy snow with huge flakes now falling in cville. above frzing but won't take long to stick at the rate it's going

Posted by: danuva | January 26, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

danuva - keep us posted. I am interested in your ground (accum.) conditions and when it does get below freezing. It appears 30min after precip onset you became slushy in Cville. Then snow began, in earnest, an hour after onset. Good clues as to what portends for DC...

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 26, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

just looked at the the snow forecast graphic at NWS site...pretty impressive. Looks like they have perhaps 4.5" of snow by 7pm already for the immediate DC area. And seeing how snow isn't supposed to start until 3ish for our area, it will be impressive to witness the intensity of this snow. Then add another 2.5-3" on top of that from 7pm to midnight or so (at least here in College Park...Baltimore area and just NE of there now in forecast jackpot at 9"+), and I'd say that's a pretty decent snow event for around here!

Posted by: BH99 | January 26, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Waterfrontproperty:

Are you reading this? Can you PLEASE post when it starts snowing down by the 301 bridge? THANKS!

Posted by: luvhh1 | January 26, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the models came to a better agreement for our area with this storm than past storms this winter. Is that because this is a Miller A storm and not a Miller B?

Posted by: MVPlaya8120 | January 26, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

omg. it suddenly has gotten unbelievably dark here...if it weren't January I would think it was July/ August and we were about to get a huge thunderstorm.

Posted by: mudbucket | January 26, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@luvhh1

here is a live feed to that location. North of the toll plaza.

http://www.chart.state.md.us/video/video.asp?feed=75

Posted by: mscofield1 | January 26, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

hearing thunder west of warrenton. no snow yet but things are very dark and very still all of a sudden.

Posted by: mudbucket | January 26, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So glad I don't need "permission" to leave work should I feel that my safety is in jeopardy. There's the option to use unscheduled annual leave, tele-work, leave w/o pay. Hmph, I guess other private employers in this area need to get on board.

Posted by: Pat_E | January 26, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Calm before the storm here in falls church. Im ready for thundersnow and heavy wet accumulation. BRING IT ON MOHTHED NATURE!!

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | January 26, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I feel like that kid in the Disney World commercial: "I'm too excited to sleep!" Except I'm too excited to do anything but read weather updates! My new officemate is also a snow junkie and we feed off each other's giddiness. It's awesome!

Posted by: kmill67 | January 26, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@JerryFloyd1, Amen brother. Enough with the haters!

Posted by: dcg35 | January 26, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It feels kind of eerie here in falls church.

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | January 26, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

TWC JUST SAID JIM CANTORE WILL BE IN DC FOR COVERAGE!!!


TOLD YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, gosh THANKS mscofield1! Sure do appreciate it!

Posted by: luvhh1 | January 26, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

the sleet and snow are now falling heavily where we are. it's coming down! thunder too. This is sooo incredibly cool!!!!

Posted by: mudbucket | January 26, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

You know it's gonna be bad when Jim Cantore is covering it. :)

Posted by: MVPlaya8120 | January 26, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Snow haters should be prepared to get a woopin by the mother of all gods. HAHA!

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | January 26, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Sort of flurring with the drizzle here in the Gaithersburg Airpark.

I'd say it's snizzling!

Posted by: wadejg | January 26, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Alexandria2009 | January 26, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Like i said this morning...if they send JIM Cantore up to Dc..were gonna get it goog..and alas..hes on Pennsylvania Ave covering it..LOL..SUE PALKA,,KMA!!!!!

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 26, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

As a SoFla hurricane guy having Cantore around was the fastest way to get a cane to go the other way...grin.

Misting and drizzle get heavier in Sterling now. Local fire department has been busy all afternoon...sirens constantly.

Posted by: Hiflyer | January 26, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse


33.1 degrees and misty rain? What's up with that? Visibility is not great as it is a bit...foggy here in the Hamilton/Mt.Gilead area.

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | January 26, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I know I'm obsessive about the weather, but I'm really surprised at how many people pay no attention at all. Even my own husband. If I didn't tell him he'd have no idea if it was going to rain or snow or what the temp would be. A child just came over to play and his mother was completely unaware that it's going to snow any more today!

As for people inquiring about when to leave work, travel, etc. I think in part this reflects the guilt we feel in taking any time off from work, even if we are using leave. There's a societal pressure to work no matter what, so I think people are well aware of the upcoming conditions, but really need to assure themselves that it's bad enough to leave. At least that is the struggle I have when deciding whether to take off or telework. Also, as someone else said, forecasts are not and cannot be perfectly specific, so it can be hard to judge what "midday" means for you in your location.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 26, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I know I'm obsessive about the weather, but I'm really surprised at how many people pay no attention at all. Even my own husband. If I didn't tell him he'd have no idea if it was going to rain or snow or what the temp would be. A child just came over to play and his mother was completely unaware that it's going to snow any more today!

As for people inquiring about when to leave work, travel, etc. I think in part this reflects the guilt we feel in taking any time off from work, even if we are using leave. There's a societal pressure to work no matter what, so I think people are well aware of the upcoming conditions, but really need to assure themselves that it's bad enough to leave. At least that is the struggle I have when deciding whether to take off or telework. Also, as someone else said, forecasts are not and cannot be perfectly specific, so it can be hard to judge what "midday" means for you in your location.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 26, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post. The first time I got an error message, so didn't think it had worked.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 26, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Changeover from rain to sleet now occuring in Ashburn,

Posted by: kdvols1 | January 26, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Thunder Sleet in Sterling!

Posted by: blankraven1 | January 26, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thunder Sleet - in Ashburn

Posted by: ejbrymom | January 26, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Sleet is comming down in buckets in Rockville. Please everyone get off the roads!

Posted by: Fallsgrove | January 26, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Switching back and forth between steady rain and steady sleet in Del Ray.

Posted by: DelRay49 | January 26, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

...with lightning and thunder!

Posted by: DelRay49 | January 26, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Seriously sleeting in Montgomery Village. Very glad I'm home. Sidewalks are coated after 10 mins. Quite the soaking and coating!

Posted by: GiveIn | January 26, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

We've had rain, sleet, thunder, and now the precipitation has changed to snow. I am in North Springfield, near Braddock Road just outside the Beltway, 22151 zip.

Posted by: MsPenley | January 26, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

A couple inches easily on the ground here in Winchester, VA. It's been all snow here since 2ish

Posted by: levi_stein | January 26, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Ooooo just had some thunder here in Laytonsville!!

Posted by: wadejg | January 26, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Uh. . . .WOW. Thundersleet changed over to snow right at 4:00 pm here in N. Arlington. Now it is snowing HEAVILY. We have accumulated an inch in the past 20 minutes since the changeover. My kids are out there now reveling in it and building a snowman. It's perfect for that, by the way -- really slushy.

Even before the snow started, it was deceptively slick out there. There was a serious layer of sleet on the roads -- it was fine, unless you decided for some reason to turn. BE SLOW AND CAREFUL OUT THERE, PEOPLE.

I think we'll see at least 6 inches. If it tapers off by dark, we'll already have that much. I mean - this is some SNOW.

Posted by: BadMommy1 | January 26, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Heavy sleet and snow in Silver Spring. I made sure that every member of my team at work left before me and dropped our MARC commuter at the station around lunch so that he'd make it home safe. This weather is no joke. I have years of experience driving in AK and a 4wd truck, but all would do well to drive slowly and carefully and leave a ton of space in between your vehicle and the one in front of you. 4wd is not magic wheel drive! I saw a MoCo gov. truck (driving too fast for the sleet) nail the suv beside me on the way home (all ok). Please be careful!

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | January 26, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

A few comments. This is my first time posting but I think whomever envisioned this blog when it first started must now be given proper credit...the fact that we can use technology to report the weather as it happens by us, the everyday person, with the reaction and color that only we can provide and then having the professionals (like the CWG gang) comment on our observations is really what characterizes a succesful blog. Kudos to the CWG team on this vision.

I live in outer silver spring but am stuck at work in Georgetown cause I am an IT Manager and must keep the remote access up and working for those who stayed home to telecommute :)) One of the CWG gang asked what are we going to do to celebrate: well since I am stuck in G'Town and don't intend to start driving at the moment, there is nothing better than walking around Washington DC taking in the monuments and sights when it is snowing and stopping at the occassional bar for a nice glass of wine or pint of ale to dry off !!! Enjoy the weather everyone, be safe and look out for your neighbors. Here's to the CWG Gang one more time for a stellar prediction !!

Posted by: GtownG | January 26, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@ superseiyan - I am here so I know what the current conditions are and what to expect. I would never just look out the window and think things are fine. But I actually have a brain and make decisions for myself based on the current weather conditions and expected weather conditions. As far as driving slow in the rain is concerned, I'm the one driving slow and I have never been in an accident either.

Posted by: dave67 | January 26, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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