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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Forecast: Very icy morning, unsettled week

By Matt Rogers

Thick glaze in many parts of region

updated at 12:25 p.m.

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.

10:00 a.m. update: All advisories and warnings have been canceled for the region. Temperatures remain at or below freezing along and west of I-95. Temperatures will slowly recover into the mid-to-upper 30s across much of the region this afternoon, but may not get much above freezing in western Montgomery, eastern Loudoun county and to the northwest.

7:30 a.m. update:Temps have actually fallen 1-3 degrees in spots over last hour due to winds from north. Freezing line has actually shifted EAST of the beltway for the most part. Still expecting temps to rise above freezing later this morning but process will be slow, especially north and west. Precip has largely ended although some patchy freezing drizzle is still around. We should dry out in next couple hours.

5:45 a.m. update: A thick glaze of ice fell over large parts of the region overnight, atop up to inch of snow and sleet in the north and west suburbs. The steady precipitation has moved off to the north and east although some drizzle and freezing drizzle lingers. That should taper off over the next couple of hours. The freezing line is just east of I-95 and should slowly creep westward as daylight breaks. But it may take until mid-to-late morning for folks in the far north and west suburbs (e.g. Loudoun and NW Montgomery counties, where temperatures are still in the 20s) to rise above freezing. Be very careful as it is extremely icy in many locations. Read below for the full forecast through the weekend.

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

 

Would be a 1 due to icy start, but maybe rain washes away the salt from roads & cars.
 
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Morning wintry mix ends. 36-41. | Tonight: Cloudy, late rain/snow showers possible. 30-35. | Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy, a.m. showers. 38-45. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Yuck! Talk about a tough weather week ahead. A menagerie of weather systems is expected to affect our area over the next week. After today's mishmash of morning mixed precipitation, showers (mixed with snow north and west) could return tonight and then again tomorrow morning before maybe one dry day on Thursday ahead of a fast-moving storm system Thursday night and Friday morning. The current thinking is that the weekend should be dry (and very cold) as a coastal storm concern stays far offshore.

Snow Potential Index: 5 → - Chance of snow N & W early Wed, a more widespread chance Thu night to Fri , but may mix.

 
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
 


Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): It's a messy morning with lingering frozen precipitation tapering off by early to mid-morning. If you are moving about, take extreme caution in traveling especially in the north and west suburbs where temperatures are coldest. During the afternoon, skies remain cloudy with highs in the mid-30s (northwest) to low 40s (southeast). That should allow for some melting - although it may be quite slow in the normally cold north and west locations. Light winds come mainly from the northwest. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tonight: Skies are cloudy with a round of rain or snow showers (60% chance) late at night as a weak disturbance passes through. The best chance of snow (and maybe even a touch of freezing rain) is north and west of the District, though even there lows in the low-to-mid 30s should prevent any accumulation more than a dusting. Side roads and sidewalks north and west may turn a little icy - both from this morning's leftovers and any new precipitation - but it won't be anything like this morning was. Confidence: Low-Medium [Updated at 12:25 p.m.]

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Those clouds cling to the area and rain/snow showers (maybe a little freezing rain north and west) may last into early-to-mid morning (40% chance). But again, nothing more than a dusting and possibly some early-morning icy spots north and west. Highs reach near 40 to the mid-40s as afternoon winds pick up from the northwest up to 10-20 mph. Confidence: Low-Medium [Updated at 12:25 p.m.]

Tomorrow Night: Precipitation-free conditions with clearing skies as light breezes continue from the northwest. Look for lows to range through the 20s around the area. Anything wet will re-freeze. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Thursday is our best work day of the shortened week with mostly sunny skies, highs in the mid-to-upper 30s, and light breezes. Clouds could start to increase toward the evening hours. Confidence: Medium-High

Thursday night and Friday feature yet another winter weather system. The models are divided on timing and impacts, but the current thinking is that a snow or rain/snow mix could develop later Thursday night and persist into Friday morning. The storm is forecast to be a fast-mover such that accumulations should be on the light side, but this is a Friday morning commute threat. Lows Thursday night should be in the 20s, but they warm into the 30s for Friday morning with the precipitation that should end toward midday. Afternoon conditions should be windy and cold with only low 30s as peak temperatures, but much lower wind chills. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend is currently favored to be a cold one with breezy conditions and partly cloudy to sometime sunny skies. Highs range in the 20s to 30s with lows in the teens and 20s. A possible additional low pressure area (fourth of the week!?) is forecast to remain far enough offshore to leave our area alone. But we still need to watch it closely. Confidence: Low-Medium

With a cold pattern mostly continuing, we may have more winter weather chances next week too. Spring is just two months away. Yay?

By Matt Rogers  | January 18, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Icy conditions likely last into morning commute for D.C. and points north and west
Next: Reviewing a slippery forecast & photos

Comments

Centreville VA The good news is that the precip appears to be over.
The bad news is that at 29 degrees we are caught like flies in amber in 1 quarter inch of ice......ice EVERYWHERE.
&*#%&*#%$@!!!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 18, 2011 5:03 AM | Report abuse

Fine wet mist falling onto our crunchy icy layer near GMU in Fairfax.

Posted by: RichCee | January 18, 2011 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Nearly nailed the forecast Gang. About a inch of snow, then a covering of sleet, followed by .2 or so of pure ice. Not going anywhere this AM in the LoCo bootheel without the rain to melt it away...and it looks like that's the one part of the forecast that busts. Dont see an AM melt with conditions appearing to dry out. Good luck to you all. Dont go out unless you have to in the AM.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 18, 2011 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Light freezing precip still falling in Bethesda at 0525. Cars and streets are 'aglaze'. Don't think I'll be driving to Annapolis 'til later this AM!

Posted by: jjc3 | January 18, 2011 5:27 AM | Report abuse

CWG- congrats, you guys did a great job with a super tricky forecast. While you guys get crushed when you flip-flop or miss a forecsat like the December nostorm, you need just as much props for nailing a system just as tricky!

Posted by: 4seamed | January 18, 2011 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Precip stopped, temp at 33, about .1 to .2 ice accretion on EVERYTHING out there from the look of it in Springfield area, including ALL pavements - am teleworking until further notice! Good forecasting, CWG'ers...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 18, 2011 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Of all the things to get dinged on in a pot-mortem (snow accumulation, ice accumulation, timing of transition, temperatures, time of onset of precip, time of end of precip) the only thing that would come up is how quickly the precipitation exited. Unless there is another round coming that I cant see on radar, looks like it ended about 6 hours early.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 18, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Yay!

(This weekend I mean... "Boo!" to today's ice)

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 18, 2011 5:58 AM | Report abuse

It really is significant that the precip ended before ever going to rain...Sterling is alluding to this in their AM discussion. Temps will stay lower due to the snow and ice cover and side streets will be as messy as they could possibly be with 6 inches of snow. This event is just as significant as a legit 6 incher. Ahhhh - DC winters are back!

Posted by: DullesARC | January 18, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm really disappointed that the warmer rains didn't work out to wash some of this mess away. Seems like that is just about it. We should all areas above freezing today at least. Tonight and tomorrow morning's showers could be rain with a little snow mixed in. But temperatures should be above freezing in most areas, except far western and northern suburbs in the early am.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | January 18, 2011 6:16 AM | Report abuse

here in south arlington and a layer of ice on everything I would say at least .2 inches. When are the warmer temps expected today and what kind of melt off can we expect. thanks cwg this site is fantastic!

Posted by: VAresident2 | January 18, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

CWG did a great job with the tricky forecast. Thanks, guys.

I almost feel like I have woken up in January 1994, what with all the ice, snow, and sleet keeping me at home for a few extra hours.

Posted by: Murre | January 18, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

HOLY &(W^$&#^$)... ITS @#^%!# LETHAL OUT THERE!!!!!!!!!!

IAD has something like 1/3" of ICE!!!!!!! In other news FCPS closed today... BOOOOOOOYYYYAAAAAAAAAAHHHH

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 18, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

30.4 degrees here in Alexandria. Looks like the CAD won out.

Posted by: bdeco | January 18, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

There is an icy glaze over everything here in ft washington....except the roads. Traffic seems to be moving fine down on ft washington road. There were spots of ice on the driveway during this morning stroll to pick up my print WaPo. I guess I'll have to chisel my way into the car before I start my commute into DC. But first, I need to sit by the fire and have more coffee....

Posted by: ftwash | January 18, 2011 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Road treatment seems not to have begun yet this morning up here in Laytonsville. Brink Rd has ruts between piles of ice. Please use caution this morning, ice pockets everywhere for sure.

Haven't measured this ice/snow pancake yet, but it is pretty ugly with a thick layer of ice over a dusting of snow. Maybe try some brine syrup.... When the sun comes up, it should be really pretty in that, 'My-power-could-go-out-at-any-minute' kind of way.

Posted by: dprats21 | January 18, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Everything here in NE Loudoun is coated with a glaze of ice.

Still watching the models for the weekend's storm.

At least it's not as bad as some of those ice storms were in the 90s.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 18, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

@bdeco

This wasn't your traditional cold air damming event. It was stale cold air that held in place due to winds from the north/northeast - courtesy of the coastal low pressure system. Did the trick though.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

This N. Arlington neighborhood looks like a glazed donut. I can't tell that we got any snow at all here -- it started with sleet for us, and appears to have stayed sleet until changing to freezing rain. It's an incredible layer of ice - estimates close to a quarter inch look to be about right, from the piece I broke off the porch railing. UUUUGLY.

My kids were already out of school today, so the hubs is staying home with them -- but I need to get in to work. [sigh]. Just glad to have power.

I'd better go see about salting out the car.

Posted by: BadMommy1 | January 18, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Stuck at 26 degrees in Fairfax. I don't see temps getting above freezing until 10am. Judging by your temp map we seem to be stuck in a cold slot coming down from the northwest. On the plus side, on your weather wall it appears to be summer in your DC webcam.

Posted by: rwalker66 | January 18, 2011 6:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm at a private school that didn't close even though Fairfax and Alexandria City did. They want me into work at 10:00, but everything is still so icy! I really don't want to go out!

Posted by: Lisse24 | January 18, 2011 7:00 AM | Report abuse

N. Silver Spring (Bel Pre/Layhill) - Have been outside twice this morning. At 530 am, the ice was what it was - ICE. Had to carry the dogs up and down the steps for fear of slippage. It's now just after 7 - and the ice has become what I'll call... crunchy. Must be melting or buckling under the warming conditions. Drive safe everyone!

Posted by: Hanz1 | January 18, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Roads really aren't in bad shape. Drove from Gaithersburg to College Park starting at 4:45. Side roads were bad but main roads were passable if you took them a little below speed limit (around 30 MPH). Highways were fine. A little slush in the left lane but the rest of 270 and 495 had nothing more than water on them. Worst part of the commute was digging out.

Please remember to clear off your entire car today. I was hit with a roof size chunk of ice this morning and am thankful that it didn't go through my windshield. Just waiting for the sun to be up enough to figure out just what the damage is to the front bumper and hood. Not clearing your car is both illegal and incredibly dangerous for those around you. And this ice makes it even worse.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | January 18, 2011 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Roads are in much better shape than sidewalks here in Bethesda. Be careful for pedestrians who have given up on the sidewalks. .

Posted by: MattRogers1 | January 18, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know how the roads are? In Reston it looks like a sheet of ice over evertyhing, but I'm hearing the main roads are pretty clean. About to head out, getting to the main roads sounds like the hard part.

Posted by: parksndc | January 18, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Falls Church must have picked the wrong chemical for the side roads. Our neighborhood street is frozen crunchy stuff not melted at all. The crunch gives a small amount of grip but it's still dangerous. Hubby fired up the big truck, put it in 4WD since the crunch gives some traction and headed into work at a slow pace.

Posted by: tbva | January 18, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it will get up to 40°F today because right now, the temperature is actually falling here in NE Loudoun a few miles N of Dulles.

Reading on my deck right now: 25.8°F

Reading on my deck at 6 am: 28.7°F

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 18, 2011 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Re: dropping temps

I also saw my temp fall 2-3 degrees in NW DC between about 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. I do think we'll see temps gradually recover this morning...but a slow process esp N & W.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the stale cold air, it seems to make sense that a coastal low would bring north/northeast winds right? What did the models miss? Did the low track further east?

Posted by: DJMDJM | January 18, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Here in Alexandria (Eisenhower East) & I'm teleworking. I've heard main roads are OK but sidestreets still pretty treacherous. Can anyone confirm?

Posted by: eliwho | January 18, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Light icing, 1/5 inch maybe, but not solidly frozen to the street, on Haycock Rd by Metro in Falls Church. Once I got onto Rt 7 it was fine, as was 66W to 28. 28 likewise clear. The scariest part was the parking lot here in Chantilly.

Posted by: wiredog | January 18, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Down to 26.1 here in Ashburn. I have a sneaky suspicion we'll struggle to get to 32 at all today.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 18, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I live on a sidestreet in silver spring. it hasnt been touched by a plow or sandtruck. Its a sheet of ice. cars are getting by fine though. NO SCHOOL FOR MOCO!!!!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 18, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

what a crappy storm. don't think there are any of us snowlovers who are happy with this junk. it's not snow.... i bet the only people who are happy are involved with the school systems (as teachers or students).

although, if you live near the right hilly side street, this might be really good for sledding with a flexible flyer type sled with metal runners.

boy...we didn't even get our lake-zamboniing rain at the end.... is that right CWG? weren't we supposed to get rain after the sleet - like right now - that was supposed to wash this all away?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

@walter-in-fallschurch

Our forecasts starting late yesterday afternoon backed off the plain rain forecasts and indicated most of the precip would be in the frozen form, ending early to mid morning from DC west.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

jason,
yeah...bummer... oh well. it's funny how we all want different things out of a storm. no doubt, once i'd written off the snow potential i latched on to the rain zamboni idea... anyway...great forecast as usual. i'd like to request all snow for the next few storms, ok?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm also logging in an all snow request for the next storm. Looks like this is pure sleet and ice here in Manassas.

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 18, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I just came in after some flexible flyer sledding with the kids. Conditions were quite fast and we had a few spin outs which made it a little dangerous.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, this AM's sounding from Dulles is about as good of a freezing rain/sleet profile as I've seen in a while:

http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/upper/iad.gif

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Nice icicles in around the bird feeder! Don't forget to put something out for them on a day like today...not much available for the feathered ones.

Posted by: manassasmissy | January 18, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

cwg
I'm not trying to be critical but I'm just curious -- for Zone 1 forecast (Waldorf) everything has glaaze of ice and schools are closed (as they should be). We also have this misty stuff falling thats freezing on contact. Wouldn't you say this was a total miss for the forecast in this area -- temps have dropped, never turned to plain rain, still icing up as of 8:56 am?

Posted by: luvhh | January 18, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

An informal poll taken by me of my neighbors this morning in Rockville, Maryland finds that all of us absolutely hate removing the ice sheet far more than all of the snow we had last year combined.

I spent an hour clearing the sidewalk so that our mailman could get around since schools are closed and no one else will be using it. My arms are numb and the snot crust on my lip is nearly impossible to remove!

I love Winter but Spring ain't looking too bad.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | January 18, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

authorofpoetry,
i believe the proper term is "snotcicle".

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Jason - I wanted to feel important this morning when explaining to my wife why we had ice. I used your quote from this morning, "This wasn't your traditional cold air damming event." I think she got annoyed with me because she asked me not to curse in front of the kids. And then she rolled her eyes.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | January 18, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

CWG
Sorry I shouldn't have said total miss but "over performance" Love the zone forecasting though. But underforecasting for this part of Southern MD is par for the course for mets across the board

Posted by: luvhh | January 18, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Forecast of rain in the morning - a bust
Forecast of temps rising above freezing by 9am - a bust
The nifty "zones" everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed about - a bust

Overall one big bust of a forecast. And no, your forecast is not accurate because you updated it at 11:20pm when most people are asleep. Sorry but you need to call a spade a spade. Everything you predicted less than 24 hours ago did not happen.

Posted by: rwalker66 | January 18, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Walter,

I'm with ya there. I hope the Friday storm turns into something interesting and gives us at least 5 inches. I absolutely detest freezing rain and quite frankly, I don't see how anyone could enjoy it (except maybe the kids). Let's all cross our fingers for February!

P.S. What are you thinking of sculpting for your next snow masterpiece? :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 18, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@rwalker:
Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Posted by: scienceteacher3 | January 18, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, all mets, including national weather service, under-forecast how bad this storm was going to be I think.

Posted by: realclear | January 18, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@rwalker:

We live in a very tricky area to forecast. CWG does a good job of it. No hype, straight facts.

Since you find CWG unreliable, I invite you to visit the weather channel (weather.com) for an alternative. You can also get the weather for the rest of the US there.

Perhaps a little precip cartoon and temperature value is all you need and that will avoid disappointing you in the future.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 18, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

We will continue to keep you updated as best possible. The cold air (sub-freezing) continues to hold grip the Metro Area. Stay safe for the next few hours... be very careful. Even walking on sidewalks!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@rwalker:

We live in a very tricky area to forecast. CWG does a good job of it. No hype, straight facts.

Since you find CWG unreliable, I invite you to visit the weather channel (weather.com) for an alternative. You can also get the weather for the rest of the US there.

Perhaps a little precip cartoon and temperature value is all you need and that will avoid disappointing you in the future.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 18, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Loudoun got snow, then sleet, then ice. But that particular combo is very easy to shovel - comes up in big chunks leaving no ice underneath. I realize that the rest of the area got just ice which is much more difficult to clear.

Shoveled 1-2" of fragile frozen precip off my driveway and sidewalk in 30 minutes, then drove an hour into Falls Church. Side roads were getting cleared and main roads were perfectly fine as long as you drove cautiously.

The real danger, as noted by McCarthy911 above, is the people on the roads who didn't bother to clear their roofs. Huge plates of ice sailing into oncoming traffic at 50mph. The most hazardous thing on the roads right now is other people.

Posted by: rigeldc | January 18, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

rigeldc - I think I might agree with you, regarding people venturing out. We need just a couple more hours for real above-freezing temperatures to start melting the region, I believe. People who do not need to be out on roads would delay our improvement and potentially hinder salting efforts. Especially if the spin-out and block roads. Very treacherous. And yes a difficult decision for some who need to be at work. But just consider the alternative and that you are likely avoiding an accident on the roads.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@Camden-CWG The most recent model runs of the Canadian, NAM, and GFS all seem to point to at least some moderate snow on Friday and the rain/snow line seems to stay just along or just south and east of I95. What are your thoughts on a moderate or major snow event Friday. I guess there's also concern about a bit more snow/ice tomorrow AM?

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 18, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Whether one or does not call this a traditional cold air damming event, the setup as shown in the 06Z (1:00AM) surface chart - http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/sfc/lrgnamsfc06wbg.gif - demonstrates the "wedging" of cold air trapped by the mountains to the west, the key signature of damming.

Perhaps the difference between a traditional event and what is shown here is accentuation of the northeasterly flow by the low pressure to the south. Whatever, the bottom line was the same: cold air hanging in at the surface longer than models expected it to erode.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

So what are your thoughts on delays for the commute and school outlook for tomorrow morning?

Posted by: Post43 | January 18, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a mess! We ditched the idea of driving to the train station after seeing the car's ice tomb. Really not worth the gas to warm it up enough to scrape the ice off. Slithered to the bus stop, and caught the RideOn with no trouble at all. Then there was Metro. Track problems, a sick passenger (but very speedy MoCo emergency responders!!), door problems leading to off-loading, and residual backups once the track problem was resolved. oof. Finally in, now on to the actual job-type activities.

Posted by: kickabout | January 18, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

WTOP had it all wrong last night. Led us to believe it would turn to rain over night and melt all the ice off the road. Didn't happen in Fairfax City. I've got a long driveway like an ice rink. But I need to slide to work.

Posted by: markdf | January 18, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

bob,
people often ask me that, and i really don't know. seems like all winter i'm enthusiastically rooting for snow, then when it actually starts falling i go into a bit of a panic wondering... something always comes to me, though. ;-)

i'd love to be in a state of panic over 5" on friday...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Rwalker, thanks for your perspective. CWG predicted the snow start, the changeover to freezing rain/sleet last night, and the difficult conditions this morning, especially north and west of the city. Unfortunately, weather forecasting is not binary (bust or not) as there are many aspects to a forecast. Definitely the lack of warming and the coldest eastern side and suburbs of the city was the biggest problem with the forecast. But to say "everything you predicted did not happen" would suggest we didn't predict snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Were you looking at the right web page yesterday?

Posted by: MattRogers1 | January 18, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Always bet on the cold air sticking around longer than the models think. We've been thru this before plenty of times...as for Friday - looking pretty decent right now OTRO of the NAM (though there is some consistency starting to build).

Posted by: DullesARC | January 18, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Looking at all the latest models, Friday looks like a 2 - 5 inch event. The only one that suggests a possible 5 - 8 is the NAM. It looks like this one will once again dump more snow on New England than us. Both the GFS and Canadian put out 2 - 5 inches for us, but as we all know, that can most certainly change. If we get 6"+, I guess I'll be happy.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 18, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

CWG nailed this forecast... what are some of you people talking about!?

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 18, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@MattRogers1 and rwalker

Not to mention, we more or less nailed Zone 3 (the western zone), and at 5 p.m. yesterday, I updated the forecast to indicate zone 2 would likely stay ice through the morning. We did mess up temps in zone 1 - although we correctly stated little or no snow there - and conditions were generally not as bad there as everywhere else.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang

Agree 100% with your comment on cold air damming.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Temps slowly starting to rise; 28 right now in my part of Ashburn.

Posted by: natsncats | January 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

CWG-
Will the refreeze tonight have an effect on the morning commute tomorrow?

Posted by: cubscapsfan | January 18, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2

Margusity just tweeted a pretty good video. He and Bastardi have us in the 3-6+ range for Thursday night into Friday. http://fb.me/IN8zW0OZ

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 18, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

@bobmiller2

I know CWG doesn't like your long model predictions and hopes with that here but it entertains me! So every once in a while when you see a potential for a big one email me! At bobdello01@aol.com

Posted by: bobdello01 | January 18, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I try not to do this- everyone's a critic and when it comes to school closings there is no way to satisfy all members of the community. As a rule, I try not to complain about school closing decisions. Well, I'm complaining now. It was absolutely ridiculous for Arlington County schools to be open today. The main roads are fine, the side roads are treacherous. Around my school, the road in front of the school and a short stretch of sidewalks are clear. One cannot cross the street or navigate any of the sidewalks leading to the school. Quite a few of the students walk to school. At one point, I thought I'd have to get on my hands and knees to get through a particularly slick spot, I could not get my footing. Luckily, another pedestrian with yak traks held my hand and walked me over it. Side streets required for parking are ice rinks. Many schools in Arlington are closed today, due to a teacher workday, but not all. Perhaps somehow that factored into the decision making. Having students get to school in these conditions was highly irresponsible. I realize it is always a hard call to make, but APS messed up with this one.

I wonder if it will warm up enough to make the trip home safer? I know it is supposed to- but I am doubtful.I really hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 18, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Here in Gaithersburg/laytonsville at corner of Woodfield and Warfield it is sheet ice. I've never seen a squirrel fall off a branch before.

Truck came to spread sand/salt stuff on road @ 9:40am but so far hasn't done much for road here as the few cars/SUVs venturing out are fishtailing down the street.

Hubby just said Metro Red line closed b/tween Twinbrook and Shady Grove due to electrical wires coated with ice falling toward the track.

is it really going to start melting sometime today?

Thank God for Yak Trax!

Posted by: MidcenturyModern | January 18, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's finally starting to melt around here.

About a quarter inch or more of glare ice on everything.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 18, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Great job CWG!!!!!!!!!! Love reading your forecasts and the positive, friendly posts (I just skip over the others)!

Posted by: 3seasons | January 18, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

27.5 here in this part of Ashburn. Still doubting 32 happens today.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Regarding school closings- roads are fine, sidewalks are ridiculous. I saw some school kids in DC waiting for the bus holding on to the bus stop sign to stay upright.

Posted by: WickedRose | January 18, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Temps finally getting above freezing here. Liquid water dripping & puddles in the parking area.
I find it hard to overstate my hatred for this particular winter weather wetness. We're not even getting a bit of sunshine, which would have made for some awesome photo opportunities.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 18, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

~31.5 degrees in Rockville at the moment.
SLOWWWLY rising. its like a pocket of cold here in the middle of the county.
No drips visible yet from trees. So I feel like no point trying to shovel ice until stuff is thawing naturally.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 18, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Kevin and Ian could have a photographic field day in our courtyards at work today. We have some red-berry bushes (holly?) that are just coated in ice and little icicles coming off the berries. Looks quite picturesque.
As far as the cold-air damming, I had a bit of a feeling that there was a little more cold air to work with than forecast when I woke up in central NY yesterday and it was -14 degrees outside! The entire drive back it didn't get over 30, at least according to the ever-accurate car thermometer.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@Snowlover2 re school decisions, I think Fairfax Co nailed it with a closure today. Even a 2 hr delay would have left significant icing all over the place, though we're happy to get a chance to try the NEOs overshoes with ice studs.

Doesn't help band rehearsal, but if Thursday night's concert is cancelled due to the next event it doesn't matter.


CWG, thanks for detailed forecasts, clear explanations, and helpful advice. I appreciate it!

And I love snow days ;)

Posted by: kirom | January 18, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

forget cold air damming. this last storm, with all the warm-air-aloft-induced sleet and freezing rain warrants some warm air damning.

Snowlover2,
it IS shocking that arlington county is open.

CWG, others,
it's 32.6 here, i think. is it possible that there's a 5 degree difference btwn ashburn and falls church?!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Could You Pass the SALT?!!!

Bethesda Roads were clear by 8:30 but Sidewalks, Cars and everything else were still covered with a layer of ice. A few pictures posted at http://www.BethesdaActually.com/

Stay Safe!

Posted by: SnowLover1 | January 18, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Accuweather professional has a new GFS feature that shows differing liquid equivalent snow totals based on ratios. The 10:1 ration map shows most of MD with 6+ inches on the ground by Friday evening. I should note that this is based on the 12z GFS run that just came out.

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 18, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@Bombo

Melting??!! Here in NE Loudoun, we're not seeing any melting.

@FIREDRAGON47

I was thinking the exact same thing. If the sun would just come out, there would be some excellent photo opportunities.

@DLO1975

Lovely. AccuWx is hyping yet another storm. He also mentioned in that video that he predicting NE snowstorms on the 26th and 1st. Um, excuse me, accuwx, but Feb 1st is WAAAAAAY to far out to get excited. Don't those guys know anything??!!

@walter-in-fallschurch & ThinkSpring

re: temp difference

I think one of your thermometers must be off because I'm only a few miles E of Ashburn and it's 30.7°F. But then again, I guess it is possible that there's a 5° difference between Falls Church and Ashburn, isn't it?

@PoorTeacher

Yes, CWG did nail this forecast. I don't understand why some people have to be disruptive and come on here calling this storm a bust. Some people just can't be pleased.

@markdf

Yeah, WTOP did have it wrong. At about 10 or 11 o'clock last night, I remember them saying that it would be all rain by midnight for the entire metro area, including points N & W.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 18, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2

29.2 now. Temp not off at all.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 18, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Downtown has now poked above freezing and all our buildings in Metro Center are beginning to drip. Hopefully everyone is still being careful. And salting walkways and areas around your car. But, the melting temperatures are now easing into the area.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

A bit of sun here in Leesburg. Already looks like a bit of thawing occurring. Yeay!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can get to the car and slide down the driveway. Yes, roads are okay but sidewalks and driveways are very dicey. Hopefully, CWG, this will resolve itself.
Was listening to WTOP and Doug Hill was completely playing down the weather -- some snow, ice, rain -- but not emphasizing how just a bit of the stuff could be very, very dangerous.
I think to be perceived as overly cautious is a good thing for a meteorologist.

Posted by: moo1 | January 18, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Please visit: http://smartroutenova.wordpress.com/

Northern Virginia’s network of roads have been and will continue to be in a state of change for many years. Urban sprawl from Washington, D.C. has led to these significant changes. According to Census data, the combined population of the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William (and independent cities within) make up nearly 27% of Virginia’s population. Although many within the population utilize modes of public transportation, a vast amount remain daily motorists. As the population (and number of motorists) is sure to grow, the physical landscape of the area is sure to change. A number of road projects have either already been completed, are in the process of being built, or are scheduled for groundbreaking in the ensuing months and years.

The purpose of this blog is to inform the public of driving routes that can be utilized in order to bypass delays correlated with route-time, construction, accidents, rubbernecking, and general volume. The reported routes will not guarantee that you will be delay-proof, but they are worth knowing about. After living and driving in Northern Virginia for many years, I have come to terms that there is inevitably nothing neither you nor I can do to be gridlock-free, but being knowledgeable about routes in the area can be that first step to a less stressful commute.

I welcome public input and suggestions for the blog. Please email them to me at smartroutenova@gmail.com.

Posted by: smartroutenova | January 18, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but I enjoyed scraping the car off for an hour this morning. It just feels invigorating to get out in the cold and ice and snow.

I just love every kind of frozen precip, I guess. And, my kid, he just loves it. He has been out brushing ice off every surface he can find. There's definitely a certain kind of beauty to the ice formations on the trees.

Posted by: maymay1 | January 18, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Went out at 11AM and was challenged just getting down sidewalks to my car. Once there, the car cleared in large sheets. Local roads (Alexandria) are fine, but considering the sidewalk conditions 3 1/2 hours after sunrise, very glad that school was canceled today.

Anyone knocking the CWG should look back through the records of Margusity and Bastardi, who between them have predicted at least 10 or 20 of the past 2 or 3 snowstorms. And I don't see them examining how accurate their forecasts after each storm. Ian, Jason, Wes et al. do that and in a town loaded with spin doctors honesty should be acclaimed!

Posted by: concepcion611 | January 18, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Moving on to the next winter system.... I have plans in Chevy Chase on Friday mid-morning that will depend on people commuting in - is it too early to tell what the real impact of the Thursday/Friday storm will be on life-as-usual?

Posted by: rcky-mtn-roots | January 18, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Finally hitting 33 in Gaithersburg. I see another big problem tomorrow. Mont. Co. did a great job salting but has left tons of slush behind which is going to freeze big time tonight

Posted by: Formerwxman | January 18, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Went out at 11AM and was challenged just getting down sidewalks to my car. Once there, the car cleared in large sheets. Local roads (Alexandria) are fine, but considering the sidewalk conditions 3 1/2 hours after sunrise, very glad that school was canceled today.

Anyone knocking the CWG should look back through the records of Margusity and Bastardi, who between them have predicted at least 10 or 20 of the past 2 or 3 snowstorms. And I don't see them examining how accurate their forecasts after each storm. Ian, Jason, Wes et al. do that and in a town loaded with spin doctors honesty should be acclaimed!

Posted by: concepcion611 | January 18, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the well-wishes! As predicted in the earlier thread, I made my flight and we got out just fine. However, I will say:

1) The side streets were about as bad as they get. The thin layer of snow under the ice probably was the only thing preventing it from being completely impassable.

2) It took an uncommonly long time for them to de-ice the plane. (I guess 1/3" of ice takes a while to melt off, even with that lovely warm fluid they were spraying).

3) I have to imagine the airports were a complete zoo an hour or two later. If it took that long to de-ice each plane the delays must have built up quickly.

4) Low 50's at DFW, feels like a heat wave!

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | January 18, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@moo1--I'm assuming you're talking about hearing Doug Hill yesterday on WTOP downplaying the wx? That's strange, because on the 6pm newscast on WJLA yesterday, he was talking about his "feeling in his gut" that this could be a worse-than-expected cold air damming situation.

@CWG--this CAD setup (whether "traditional CAD" or not) is exactly what several of us were trying to point out yesterday. Seems like we always get one of these a year, after which we're more receptive to the possibilities of CAD. I think that's what was behind Doug Hill's "feeling in my gut" comment last night.

Posted by: petworthlad | January 18, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Just tried pointlessly to clear the driveway. It's a solid sheet of ice. No go. Not fun at all. Couldn't stand up to get any leverage. Gotta let Mother Nature handle this one.
So, yes, maymay1, I will call you crazy.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 18, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Finally downtown around Metro Center all the globules of ice & glop have finally finished falling of trees and buildings. Anyone else still getting plopped in the head? Hope it is melting for everyone. Slowly but surely. Sounds like ThinkSpring needs the driveway to melt sooner than later!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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