Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Forecast: Cold to gradually tighten grip

By Dan Stillman

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.


Near 40/low 40s seems par for the course in what's turning into a pretty darn cold winter.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly to partly sunny. Near 40 to low 40s. | Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy. 20s to near 30. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


We have a ways to go, but this winter is fast becoming our second rather chilly one in a row. Our January thaw was frustratingly brief, with just the two days (Jan. 1st & 2nd) in the 50s, plus a high of 50 on Dec. 31. And it may be quite some time, at least a week or two, until our next chance at 50, with some days struggling to reach 40. So far, we don't have the snow to show for all this cold like we did last winter. Might that change?...

Snow Potential Index: 3 (↑) - Friday flakes probably too few for more than a dusting. Slight snow chance late Sun/early Mon. Better chance Tues/Wed?

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 (Wednesday): One thing we can be thankful for is that, despite the overall coldness of this winter, we haven't seen much in the way of bitterly cold morning lows. That continues this morning with temps starting out in the chilly, but not bitter, mid-20s to near 30. While the morning lows aren't too low, afternoon highs won't be terribly high, either - near 40 to low 40s under mostly to partly sunny skies. Winds aren't too bad - around 10 mph from the west and northwest. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Winds are light, maybe even calm, but partly to mostly cloudy skies probably contain enough clouds to keep temperatures from tanking like they would under clear skies. Lows should range through the 20s, with low-to-mid 20s in the suburbs and mid-to-upper 20s downtown. If skies go mostly cloudy, then we're looking at more like mid-20s (suburbs) to near 30 (downtown). Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Thursday): Low-pressure centers to the southeast and to the northwest should stay far enough away to keep us out of any snow or rain, but not out of the clouds. Highs are mainly in the low 40s with partly to mostly cloudy skies overhead and light winds. Confidence: Medium-High


Thursday Night & Friday: A cold front could produce some snow showers or a bit of light snow overnight Thursday into Friday morning. If there is accumulation, it doesn't look like we'd get much more than a dusting to a half-inch. Thursday night lows drop back to the mid-to-upper 20s (suburbs) and upper 20s to near 30 (downtown), while Friday highs have trouble reaching or getting past the upper 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium [Updated @ 3:25 p.m.]

We're back to the really cold stuff Saturday with highs only in the mid-30s and gusty breezes. Minor improvement Sunday with highs heading back toward the upper 30s to near 40 and less windy, but still some lingering breeziness. Morning lows come down a notch with upper teens to near 20 in the suburbs and low-to-mid 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium

Looking into next week, we're keeping an eye on two storm systems. The first looks like it will pass too far south, late Sunday into early Monday, to bring us precipitation, though a more northerly track or turn to the north can't be totally ruled out yet. The next threat would be around Tuesday/Wednesday from a system that could deliver snow, rain, and/or ice depending on its track.

By Dan Stillman  | January 5, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: International look-up available on Post Weather
Next: Washington D.C. weather in the year 2076


Who's achin' for one of those January heat waves in the 70s? It can happen... today's record was 71 in 1997. But doesn't look like it's gonna happen anytime soon. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 5, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

heatwave?!?! are you nuts?! it's snow-time! i'm eagerly awaiting matt's promised "mother lode" of cold air - hopefully accompanied w/moisture.

to that's the "jan 12 2011 falls church bombogenesis" doing?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The latest GFS model continues to predict a snowstorm for DC on January 12th, but the ECMWF predicts a more southern and out-to-sea track.

Posted by: Ayrwulf | January 5, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Sunday into Monday would have been our perfect event if not for that low pressure up in Maine blocking the storm off. Might not be enough cold air Tuesday.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 5, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

If possible, could someone page Wes Junker? I have a couple questions:

I know the latest gfs runs have changed since last night but I'm still curious. You said that the low over the ohio valley will be nw of us, thus a bad chance of precip staying at snow. But aren't most of our miller B situations accommodated with the 850 lows to out west or nw? I know the blizzard of 96 basically had a low coming directly from the west of the coastal low,thus sw of us, but I feel like a lot of our snowstorms have valley lows to our w/nw, and as long as the coastal low stays offshore by about 100 miles or so, our precip stays as snow with cold air coming in off the backside.

I was also wondering where I could get a could current precip extrapolation from the Euro. The site I use gives me a bunch of four panel junk separated by 24 hours each and precip isn't even displayed.

If anyone could help me out that would be great.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 5, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll take a Jan "heat wave".
I'll take a blizzard.
But you can have this cold dry weather.....the only thing going for it is the sunshine factor.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 5, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I like how you think Dan! I remember that 1997 warm spell. It was weird to see runners in shorts on the GW Parkway.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | January 5, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Fridays storm will be nw of dc, so does frederick co, va have much better of a chance for accumulating snow?

Posted by: vtjudyz | January 5, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Heat wave?!? BRING IT ON!

If not in january then ill take it in february! Indian summer ftw!

Im wondering what if any effect this clipper tomorrow/friday will have on next weeks storm?

Posted by: KRUZ | January 5, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

If you want heat waves in January, move to Buenos Aires.


Posted by: mason08 | January 5, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

January heat wave = even more stink bugs. I had one land on my hand last night. Eww gross! (That stinkbug is now swimming with the fishes.)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 5, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

if the storm starts on jan 11 we could call it the "1/11/11 falls church bombogenesis" (euro's, much more logically (and symmetrically!), might call it the "11/1/11 FC bombo").

on this page,
how do i know which of the day 7 charts to look at?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Walter, I take a look at the 2nd column (168 hrs) showing some precip (snow) and upper air temps. The 1st column shows near surface temps; look for the blue (0) freezing line.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 5, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

For those wishing for a "heat wave", you had your year. Suffocating, days-on-end, above-average temps, drought-inducing, hottest year on record kind-of-heat. How much more selfish can you be?

So, let those of us who enjoy the cold have our few, all-too-short days. Why, this isn't even numbing cold!

But it sure is a BORING winter!

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | January 5, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse


The initial low is to the northwest, but then actually tries to reform and strengthen to our northeast. So best chance of accumulating snow is from around Baltimore toward points northeast. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 5, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

bbirnbau, we usually don't do well with miller b's as once the initial low tracks into the oh valley to our north, the reformation along the coast is usually to our north. Thos times when we do get a nice miller b storm (Feb 10, 2010), you almost always have to have the 500 low track to our south as you have to get into the deformation zone(comma head) The 1996 storm had the 500h low track well to our south and the farthest n the 850 low got was east4ern ky before reforming south.

Posted by: wjunker | January 5, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Kruz, more important than the clipper itselt is the huge vortex that is sitting over the great lakes at 84 hrs. It suggests the the most likely options for the storm next week are a very suppressed track that misses us or stays close enough to the coast to give us some snow. It's still early to say that the oh valley idea is completely dead as the models may be mishandling that vortex. However, if the nam and new gfs are correct, then the oh valley idea seem really unlikely.

Posted by: wjunker | January 5, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

January heat wave = even more stink bugs. I had one land on my hand last night. Eww gross! (That stinkbug is now swimming with the fishes.)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1

They must've escaped from my house. Sorry.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one STILL dealing with the bugs. Any time my heat goes over 70 they come out in full force. Not as bad as the beginning of fall, but still I've killed about 20 in the last week.'s to hoping next week's storm is just that, a big enough storm to keep most of us outta the workplace for a day or half day at the very least!!

Posted by: wadejg | January 5, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the reply.

spgass, others,
that column is headed: "850mb Temp, MSLP, 6hr Pcpn". is that showing only the precip from 162 to 168 hours? or all the precip that storm is predicted to drop?

what do all those other columns show?
e.g., "Tot Pcpn 06 hrs", through "Tot Pcpn 60 hrs". and then, it seems to me like "Tot Pcpn of Period" should cover everything from now to 168 hrs, but i don't think that's the case.

as far as i can tell this one spgass1 referred me to ( ) shows 2.5-5" for dc.

i prefer this one: from 180hrs under the "tot pcpn 60 hrs" column... seems to be showing 5-7.5 inches for dc.

does this mean the storm is slowing down, and we should be looking 180 hours out instead of 168 hrs out?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

For whatever it's worth, the Canadian Model has a nice storm arond Hatteras in 132 hrs and we are in a long easterly fetch, reminiscent of the storms last year. Their precip printout seems whacky, but who cares that far out?

Posted by: frontieradjust | January 5, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Miller B...not too good for snow here unless they form off Hatteras or south & don't rush off to sea. Even storms energizing off Delmarva tend to take their snow away from us. [Much of it isn't even snow at all, but falls as rain in above-freezing air over the ocean!]

Next two projected snow days, Friday & Tuesday, are dance nights for me.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 5, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

January heat waves...not too likely this year...wait for a year when there's no Greenland block and an upper-air ridge over the Southeast coast.

We might see the normal January thaw after the 21st or so...will take a pretty major pattern change to establish it.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 5, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Heat wave yes please a heat wave! Although I will settle for a winter with no more snow as an alternative.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | January 5, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea, please make it a snow dance.

Posted by: dannythe357 | January 5, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I'm still a beginner with the models like you and don't want to steer anyone wrong... but for your 1st question, I always interpreted it the same way you did (precip for since the preceding period) 168 hr map showing precip from 162 to 168 hours...

Posted by: spgass1 | January 5, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the weather service thinks we will need a Winter Weather Advisory for the upcoming clipper (the good news), but is thinking next week's storm will stay too far south (the bad news), as Wes indicated earlier.

Posted by: curtmccormick | January 5, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

thanks again for the reply. maybe we need to check that second column to get the temperature predictions (and therefor the rain/snow line), then go out to the 24-60 hour pcpn total columns to figure out how much liquid we get over the full duration of the storm?

i can't make any sense out of the charts in the "tot pcpn of period" (far right) column.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 5, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company