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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/16/2011

Forecast: Waiting on a Mon. night wintry mix

By Camden Walker

updated at 9:50 a.m.

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


Colder temps than yesterday knock the digit down by one. At least some sun negates any breezes.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Partly sunny. Upper 30s to near 40. | Tonight: Increasing clouds late. Upper teens to mid-20s. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Low-to-mid 30s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


After a briefly warmer day yesterday, you'll feel the colder & dryer air today behind last night's cold front. We'll stay precipitation-free today and through most of Monday - two days to breathe before our next wintry weather challenge Monday night into Tuesday. The big questions for that period are what kind of precipitation and how much.

Snow Potential Index: 3 (↑) - More sleet/freezing rain than snow with tomorrow night's wintry mix. Could be wintry threat brewing for late week/weekend but it's early.

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

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): Increasing sun - morning clouds linger longest south of town - looks nice from indoors. But once you step outside, you'll notice temperatures down a notch or two from yesterday. Highs reach the upper 30s to near 40. Breezes from the northwest won't be too terrible, around 10 mph with perhaps a few gusts greater than that. Still, it's a distinctly colder day than yesterday. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Better bundle up! The sun sets and temperatures get undeniably wintry. Evening 30s turn into overnight lows in the upper teens to low 20s (suburbs) to mid-20s (downtown). Clouds increase some overnight and toward morning. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the latest on the Monday night-Tuesday wintry threat...

Tomorrow (Martin Luther King Jr Day): A light breeze from the east won't be strong enough to eat away much at our cold air. Low-to-mid 30s is about the best we can do for highs, not to mention less than sun than today - we're looking at mostly cloudy skies. Can't rule out a chance of flurries in the afternoon. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Clouds thicken and a chance of snow, sleet and/or freezing rain (possibly some plain rain south and east of D.C.) increases from 30-40% before midnight to 60-70% after, with lows in the upper 20s to near 30. We're not expecting much in the way of snow accumulation, and as the night goes on, warming aloft should favor sleet and freezing rain (freezing rain and plain rain south and east) over snow. It's a fairly tricky and uncertain forecast, with models disagreeing not only on how fast temps warm at the surface and above, but also how much precip falls in the first place. Confidence: Low-Medium


The back-to-work commute on Tuesday could be an icy one for areas north and west of the District, where temperatures may remain at or a little below freezing into part of the morning. Even D.C, and points south and east but still inside the Beltway, may be briefly icy for the first part of the morning rush. Then, odds are the District and points south and east are warm enough for plain rain by 8 a.m. or so. Precipitation should turn to plain rain everywhere by mid-to-late morning before ending by early afternoon save for a lingering passing shower. Highs get to the upper 30s to mid-40s. Confidence: Low

After the chance of a last few sprinkles or flurries Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, we should happily see clearing skies Wednesday. Breezes pick up, thus keeping us chilled despite highs in the 40s. Confidence: Medium

Dan Stillman contributed to this forecast.

By Camden Walker  | January 16, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Tolerable weekend, then tricky
Next: Analysis: Light mix of precip Monday night


As is par for the course this season, the low temps were underforecast; DCA is 39 and IAD is 37. Apparently the cold front has yet to get here.

Posted by: HenryFPotter | January 16, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Dreaded fang cloud graphic! We're in for it!

Posted by: chrissie413 | January 16, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

"Could be wintry threat brewing for Thu/Fri but it's early. "

That would be fantastic!! I'm off to look at the models right now!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"Could be wintry threat brewing for Thu/Fri but it's early. "


can someone please tell me a general estimate of the accumulation showing up on the models. do you think it will be a 5 inch or more storm? I wanna go snowboard on some fresh powder up at liberty and whitetail.


Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 16, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The 0z Euro shows a storm coming up the coast on Sunday but the 12z shows one for Friday. I see nothing on the GFS for a Thursday/Friday event, so let's hope the Euro verifies.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

It seems like Monday Night into Early Tuesday Morning will be tricky and bit dangerous to drive, any work how much Ice Accumulation and/or SNOW/SLEET the DC Metro can occur...

I hope this will not turn to be an ICE STORM overnight before changing to RAIN later on Tuesday..

Also, any word or concerned the NWS may or might give the area any WATCHES/ADVISORY for ICE ACCUMULATION or any accumulation form snow/sleet??

Posted by: Michael_Nguyen | January 16, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Accuweather shows this "wintry threat that is brewing" next sunday and it says 1.7 inches of snow. Sounds like were in for another bullet dodged.

What are the chances we get a 5+ in. storm?

Thank you

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 16, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Any insight on when the precipitation will start to fall on Monday? TV weather reporters are saying late afternoon, but CWG seems to be saying more like late night Monday, or even after midnight. Thoughts? Thanks.

Posted by: FH59312 | January 16, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The Weather Channel is predicting a high of 21° on Saturday. Is that some sort of glitch or will it really get that cold??

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Michael_Nguyen, concerned about driving conditions Mon night/Tues morning. I hope to take the car instead of the bus to the train station Tuesday...would like to know if I need to abandon that plan.

Posted by: --sg | January 16, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse


I am planning on taking my kids skiing for the first time at Massanutten (near Harrisonburg). It is unclear to me if the precip will be rain, freezing rain, or snow out there (or all 3!). I would take them if it was going to be snow, but not in the other precip. Any information you could give me on the forecast for that area would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: kbguthrie | January 16, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

The NWS is calling for wintry mix Monday night and freezing rain ALL DAY Tuesday. BTW, that's for downtown DC; I can't imagine how bad it'll be in the western suburbs.

Freezing rain??!! *hits panic button* NOOOOOOOO!!!!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

GFS has not been very accurate as CWG guys point out.
NWS say rain after 9am Tues.

Posted by: moo1 | January 16, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse


Oh, I didn't see the before 9 am part. Phew!

Does anyone have any information as to how much precip the Euro is giving us for the *potential* Friday storm??

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Bob I love the enthusiasm, but when are we gonna learn that getting this excited for a snowstorm that is more than 5 days out is just not worth the emotional rollercoaster. Especially when only one of the models is verifying.

Give it a couple days before investing anything in it.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 16, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Monday-Tuesday is gonna be icemaggadon.

Do you all think that tuesday morning, roads will be a mess?

please respond to me. thanks

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 16, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse


You're right; I shouldn't be getting too excited yet. But, the GFS hasn't been too reliable this winter, so I have some hope for the Euro.

The NWS is saying this for Massanutten VA:

M.L.King Day: Scattered flurries before noon, then a chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday Night: Snow likely before midnight, then freezing rain. Low around 29. Southeast wind between 5 and 8 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Tuesday: Freezing rain likely before 9am, then rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday Night: A chance of rain before midnight, then a chance of rain and snow. Cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

P.S. Have fun at Massanutten!

I wouldn't trust AccuWeather that far out. Those forecast are computer-generated.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Monday-Tuesday is gonna be icemaggadon.

Do you all think that tuesday morning, roads will be a mess?

please respond to me. thanks

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 16, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Well, I'd say wait until tomorrow to make a final decision because the forecast could change drastically between now and then.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

just finished the snowmageddon book. God that made me nostalgic...

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 16, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

To all:

We'll have a midday post with analysis of the storm potential. Hang tight.


Chance of some light snow around Massanutten late Monday afternoon into the evening. Would probably change to ice after midnight Monday night, and end Tuesday morning.


NWS is NOT calling for freezing rain in DC all day Tuesday. It is indicating freezing rain will change to rain in the morning with highs near 40.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Hope the sun shows up soon today. It's very grim looking out there right now.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 16, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse


Sorry; I realized that it said AFTER 9 am ALL RAIN right after I hit submit! :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Will the midday post be from Wes Junker?

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The new GFS is starting to come out... Hopefully it will come aboard with the Euro and predict a winter storm for Friday.

Who else here is ready for a blizzard of 3 - 4 feet?? Think of how many sculptures Walter could make with that much snow! :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the heavy precip holds off on mon/tues storm until the 540 line is north of us, looking like more rain than anything else!

As for the late week storm looks like it as of now the bulk stays south of us and goes OTS. And still seems like mixing could be an issue?.... That 540 line is close to us again. If it does eventually ride the coast it looks like it could bring some more warm air with it.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 16, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, if anyone is hoping for a snow day, I think freezing rain is better than snow. The officials would be more likely to hit the panic button. I once interviewed Mr. Dean Tistadt (the one who decides the snow days for Fairfax County) for my school newspaper a couple years ago. He told me that he has to wake up at 2 in the morning every time some winter precip threatens the area. In fact, I still have that interview. Here it is (sorry if it is kind of long):

What factors determine a snow day, delay, or early closing? lack

Weather and road conditions are the primary considerations. We try not to make decisions based upon forecasts due to the of reliability. This means that we often have to wait for actual events to begin to make decisions based upon the impact those conditions are having on roads and sidewalks. For more information, I suggest you go to the following FCPS webpage for a description of the process:

How do you determine if there will be a snow day, and what does that require of you (i.e. how early do you have to get up, by what time do you have to make the decision, etc.)?

If there is a chance that weather will impact school, I usually get up around 2:30 a.m. I begin by calling the National Weather Service for an updated weather forecast. I call the county’s emergency operations center and ask for road condition updates from police officers who are patrolling various parts of the county. I talk to the operations center for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to get their road condition assessment and their plans for mobilizing snow plows, trucks, etc. I often have staff from the school system transportation office drive in all parts of the county to provide neighborhood road conditions and their opinion on the ability for school buses to safely pickup and deliver students. Finally, I talk to staff from other school systems to determine what information they have gathered and what plans they are making for their systems. I try to assemble all of this information by 4:30 a.m. so that a decision can be made by that time.

Once you have determined a snow day, who are the first people you tell?

Once a decision has been made, I first call staff in the Department of Communications and Community Outreach. That department is responsible for notifying all radio and television stations. They also are responsible for placing the decision on the FCPS website and television channel. I then notify the county’s emergency operations center. I send a message alert email to everyone in the school system that is registered for that system (about 2000 persons). Finally, I notify other school systems and county agencies such as SACC that are interested in our decisions.

Posted by: Yellowboy | January 16, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Yellowboy - Thanks for the info! I suspect many jurisdictions will option for delayed openings on Tuesday morning. But it remains to be seen if things melt fast enough for late opening or full day cancellations.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

i don't see anything good coming out of this mon/tue storm. it's been nice and cold all winter, but now that moisture's on the way... warm up.... grrrr...

next weekend... who knows?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 16, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Is the midday update coming soon?

Thanks CWG - - You're the best!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Im ready for a warm up! It was supposed to be an above normal temps january and hasnt been the case. Really hoping it happens in february!!!!!

Something has got to give sooner or later. These 24 hour warm ups are not gonna cut it, i need a week or 2 warm up!!!!

Hoping next weekend goes further south and stays south then heads OTS. Just say NO to sNOw.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 16, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse


I just checked the 15 day forecast on Accuweather. Now, I don't trust that site much at all, but it did show next week (Jan 24-30), as being much better, i.e. warmer. Temps in the upper 40's and low 50's.

I wonder what the long range guidance is and if there is any merit to a possible extended warmup coming in late January. At some point, I would think La Nina would have to take over.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 16, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse


Say no to snow???!!! My friend, you can't be serious, can you??? ;)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Jason Samenow just posted an update on the Mon/Tue snow/ice/rain event; let's move the discussion over there.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 16, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I am still here for any questions on my post if needed. Hopefully everyone is now seeing some of this aforementioned filtered sunshine, throughout the region?

Feels pretty "ok" outside, but sun's infrared definitely helps mid-to-upper 30s feel more tolerable.

Jason has indeed posted a new post on the upcoming storm system, if you have any specific questions about timing, how much, and what precipitation type we can expect--he has answered many of your questions! (just make sure to hit refresh on the Capital Weather Gang homepage if you don't see his latest post)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse


I echo KRUZ's "NO SNOW" refrain. Some of us see the stuff as a hassle.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 16, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

ThinkSpring - you are true to your name. I haven't asked in a year or two, but I do assume your favorite season is Spring, correct? ;)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Can we have negative daily digits for wintry mix? ;-)

Posted by: paperball | January 16, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse


Totally agree with you about wintry mix, especially ice storms! More dangerous than snow because people aren't as careful. Not pretty like snow either. Just damp cold and yucky.

Posted by: SheGeek | January 16, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse


Totally agree with you about wintry mix, especially ice storms! More dangerous than snow because people aren't as careful. Not pretty like snow either. Just damp cold and yucky.

Posted by: SheGeek | January 16, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

$#%&#@ comment system! Sorry for the double- post!

Posted by: SheGeek | January 16, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

paperball - I will take it under advisement! I can understand where you are coming from.

SheGeek - no worries. I have had many times, similar problems, with this platform. Be safe tomorrow night --both of you.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

JUST ONE 5-6 inch snow before winter is over..PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 16, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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