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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 01/ 1/2011

Forecast: Mild start to New Year turns showery

By Jason Samenow

(originally posted at 5 a.m., last modified at 10 a.m.)

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


New Year starts on a warm note, but late day showers play the spoiler.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Cloudy & mild, with a chance of showers late. 54-58 | Tonight: Showers likely. 38-43. | Tomorrow: Chance of a.m. showers, cooler. 45-49. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Mild air greets the New Year, but it's just a tease. Just as it warms-up, showers move in and a cold front slices through the region late today and tonight. Sunday some rains linger, especially early, as in turns cooler. Then seasonably cold and dry air settles in for the work week.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↑) - Dry pattern but outside chance of some mid-to-late week storminess.

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

Radar & lightning: Latest regional 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 (Saturday): Winds from the south (around 10 mph) blow in mild air but we probably won't see a whole lot of sun. On the plus side, though we'll deal with considerable cloud cover, rain showers should mainly hold off until evening. Afternoon shower chances are just 20-30%. Highs reach the mid-to-(maybe-)upper 50s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Showers are likely to develop in the evening and continue intermittently overnight. Rainfall totals should be around 0.25". Temps fall back to the upper 30s in the cooler suburbs to the low 40s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through next weekend...

Tomorrow (Sunday): The cold front takes its time clearing the region, so showers could linger into the morning. By afternoon, there's a decent (60%) chance we see breaks in the cloud cover. It's cooler, with highs in the mid-to-upper 40s. Winds blow in from the north around 10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Skies clear and it's back to winter. Overnight lows range from the low 20s in the colder suburbs to the upper 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High


Both Monday and Tuesday are partly to mostly sunny and seasonably cold. Day time highs are in the low-to-mid 40s. Clear skies Monday night with lows in the 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

By Jason Samenow  | January 1, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sat update: Weather delays Winter Classic til 8 PM
Next: Forecast: Gray Sunday, then sunnier & cooler


Happy New Year Jason and the gang. On the late week storm potential, it looks to me like the upper low will be too far north.®ion=a

Posted by: eric654 | January 1, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm thrilled to see the snow potential rising!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

>I'm thrilled to see the snow potential rising!

I'm not, but I will accept what comes my way.

And happy new year to everyone.

Posted by: Murre | January 1, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse


I agree...and might knock the SPI back down to 1 based on latest guidance, but timing/placement of upper level disturbances still subject/likely to change.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 1, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

So great to be able to crack open windows.

Speaking of crack, that's what the "Man in a Blizzard" NY video is to this snowlover. So thanks Jason for posting that earlier this week; I've been watching it every day. It helps treat the terrible pain of snow deprivation.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 1, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

It looks highly unlikely that this late-week snowstorm will be much of anything... Don't get your hopes up.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

May all our New Years' wishes for piles and piles of snow come true.

Since we appeared to have missed 40" for CY10, let's try to hit this mark in CY11.

May the stinkbugs pestering Cgglass1 and others among settle down for a long winter's nap.

And since the NY Giants may not make the playoffs, may Tom Brady get his fourth Super Bowl ring.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 1, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Accumlating snow looks doubtful thru Fri. Doesn't look like any snow 4 the next 7-8 days.
Go Hokies, Steelers & Caps.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 1, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Where can you get model forecasts out to 7-8 days? The models I have only take me about 5 to 6 days out.

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

bbirnbau - here are all the U.S. models - this is probably what you were looking for?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 1, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Noticed that the GFS has some lingering moisture tomorrow evening in northern Virginia. Any chance we could see some snow flurries?

Posted by: rapotter | January 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Generally looks quite dry...and I have a big dance Friday night the 7th.

Per weather board...Larry Cosgrove is talking up a possible Miller B development off the Carolinas in the 1/4--1/7 time frame. He also says the current state of the Madden-Julian Oscillation shows a distinct thunderstorm plume from Indonesia into a low system off Japan...this may serve to reinforce the Greenland blocking and cold weather in the East.

I'm favoring a possible cold spell mid month followed by a normally timed January thaw some time in the last ten days...setting the stage for more cold weather during the period leading up to Presidents' Day.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 1, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

With all this supposed cold and snow coming over the next month or so, Im just wondering where this La Nina is at?.... All this talk about it all summer and fall, and now all people are talking about is possible snow every weekend it seems, similar to last year during El Nino. People who predict the weather are clueless IMO. All these "Winter Outlooks" were pointless.

I see the latest GFS has us getting quite a bit of snow next weekend and what makes me angry is forecasters just will not know what will happen until the storm actually hits, yet we will here 60 variations of the possibilities between now and the potential storm next weekend :/ .....The storm seems to just hover there for the entire weekend

Shouldve studied meteorology in college, its such a sweet and easy job. Guessing is so easy, Ive been guessing on these past few storms and have been right more than any mets in DC. You guys are lucky!

I'll be checking back here the DAY OF the "next potential storm" to see if its going to storm, unless someone here will make a prediction before precip starts to fall :/

Posted by: KRUZ | January 1, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse


Yeah I'm familiar with the NWS site but I guess since I'm a rookie to using models (last storm was the first time tracking them consistently. what a time to start) I'm confused as to exactly how I see precip in the time frames I'm looking for. For example if I go to day 7 precip for last 48 hours at 150 hours what exactly is that showing me?

I guess if someone could give a quick tutorial on the models and reading them that would be pretty cool.


Posted by: bbirnbau | January 1, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

KRUZ - You're seriously wrong when it comes to's neither easy nor sweet (‘sweet’ is probably relative). Guessing two storms ‘correctly’ (btw, your second guess wasn’t correct) doesn't make you a great meteorologist (the CWG weren't that far off on either storm initially...and I don't remember seeing daily forecasts from you either). Finally, it looks to me like they're still on point...we're going to be warmer than normal in Jan and it still looks like a drier than normal month. What was your point again? I forgot now.

Posted by: parksndc | January 1, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA digital temp reading of 57 today. Not bad.
It's been damp outside all day as if light brief showers are moving through, but I haven't been able to catch any. They must be running fast.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 1, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse


my 2nd guess was 0-3 inches for the last storm... It was correct.

Anyways it is a sweet job because there are thousands of wx bloggers all over the internet reading and interpreting models, ensembles, etc and the only difference is the bloggers arent getting paid to guess, mets are.

RIGHT OR WRONG mets get paid and that is sweet. Its a win win situation in my book. Every single met had a different forecast that last storm, most were wrong even at 12 hours out LOL but all still got paid :/ Doesnt get any sweeter than that!

Posted by: KRUZ | January 1, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

It's 55°F! That's the warmest it's been in a looooong time, since Dec 1st, I believe. But that doesn't even come close to Rio's gorgeous temperature of 79°F. If it's not gonna snow, then it might as well be warm... maybe my family and I should go vacationing in Cancun... or maybe Acapulco. Which one is better? That is, until this next potential system moves in by week's end. I couldn't dare miss a good old snowstorm!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have found the US models at this link, , but where can I find the Euro model? Can someone post a response with the link to the Euro? I've trying to find it for a while now...

Please Respond,

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse


You are absolutely right. Most meteorologists can completely blow a forecast and still get paid. Think about it, channel 7 was so excited about taking Bob Ryan that he could probably do or say anything on the air, regardless of how outrageous it may be and nothing would happen to him. Same goes for the veteran news anchors like Doreen Gentzler and Jim Vance.

That being said, let me make one thing clear: I have an extremely high level of respect for anyone in the meteorology business, especially you folks at CWG, but also for Doug, Bob, Topper, etc.

P.S. can we expect an update tonight??

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I am loving this warm weather.

It is time for the kids to return to their routine, though. So, please, no snow days for a few weeks at least.

Posted by: 1Reader | January 1, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse


If you love the warm weather, then why don't you move to Southern Italy? It has a warm, Mediterranean climate and I hear the Cannolis are to die for. No snow days there! Or maybe my all-time favorite, Rio... just remember that they speak Portuguese there, not Spanish.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 1, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I was looking at your first guess, which was wrong (think it was 2-4?), my bad, didn’t keep track of every one. OK, your 2nd guess was right…but uh, 0-3 inches? If I said 0-3 inches today, I'd be correct…haha, I think 0-3 inches of snow in the DC area, forecasted every day, would be a high probability forecast. Your last point I can’t argue though…there are definitely mets who get paid to be wrong often. For example, I think JB is a very interesting long range forecaster to read and listen to, but I’ve never seen someone so popular be wrong so often and still maintain his popularity. Amazing! This is why I’m in Finance now (studied Meteo for two years and switched majors)…b/c I like to control the #’s I see. Also, forecasting human behavior, while tricky, is a bit easier than forecasting nature.

Posted by: parksndc | January 1, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Kruz, the clipper you show on the 12Z gfs is a terrible track for a storm for the dc area. You need the low to go to the south and that doesn't look like it's going to happen. You wanted a forecast, Ok now you've got one.

Posted by: wjunker | January 1, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse


I don't know where you're getting your information but January is looking to be anything but warmer than normal. The cold coming in this week is only a precursor for a massive arctic outbreak in mid Jan. It might warm up by the end of the month but I doubt the long range forecasts from the beg of the winter season are going to turn out correct.

Long range forecasting in general is nothing short of futile. Yeah, every once in a while the forecasts are on point, like last year, but those can be seen as mere trivial coincidences rather than any type of omniscience. I mean mets have trouble with forecasts 12 hours out, it's ridiculous to uphold 3 month forecasts with any type of serious potential validity.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 1, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

BobMiller2, here's a site that has the euro., look at the upper left hand site and you'll see where it offers the 12Z and 00Z european model. Hope this helps.

Posted by: wjunker | January 1, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Think wjunker's reponse to Kruz could have been a little more polite. Maybe he is still sore over his blown forecast last weekend?

Posted by: Axel2 | January 1, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse


Ive taken 2 guesses so far this winter my first quess was for the storm that went south and OTS which was my 1st guess and i was right. my 2nd guess was last weeks storm, i took the guess 4 days out for 0-3 inches, again i was right. most of the dc metro are got between 0-3 inches. and i did it free of charge ;) you are all welcome!

Posted by: KRUZ | January 1, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Temp is rising as we get closer to midnight. Interesting. Still have my bedroom windows open at 11:15pm. Can't say that much on January 1. Then again it usually isn't 57 degrees at 11:15pm on Jan 1.

Posted by: rwalker66 | January 1, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: KBurchfiel | January 1, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Axel2, it probably was and I'm over the forecast though when I made the bullish statement, it was on my own dime since I only get paid for articles I write not for any comments. I apologize to Kruz for the time of my response, it was unprofessional though hearing your profession is useless does get a little old. Anyway, happy new year to all.

Posted by: wjunker | January 2, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

oops, I apologize for the tone of my response, not the time of it.

Posted by: wjunker | January 2, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse


really no need for an apology wes. i understand how it must feel when people bash your profession, but there is a reason so many people do it, you guys are truly blessed imo to have a job where right or wrong you get paid. My frustration is that so many forecasters especially in the DC metro are wrong most of the time when it matters most. My job too has to do with the weather except i clean it up. And its hard to properly prepared when im hearing a different forecast for snow every couple of hours for an upcoming potential storm.

Ive just never heard of a profession that gets it wrong (guess) so much yet can still get paid, but more power to ya! I appreciate the effort anyways thats why i still visit CWG :)

Posted by: KRUZ | January 2, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

KRUZ: What on Earth? 0-3 inches is not a prediction, and you know it. You'd never accept that from CWG. Predicting a trace to 3 inches would at least put you on the hook for something other than a cop out. Besides, you would have been wrong for parts of the area who received more than 3". If someone in Annapolis was reading your prediction, they could flame you for 'busting'. Nice to have double standards.

Posted by: PlowKing | January 2, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@ bbirnbau
You're confusing me; you say there's a mid-month arctic burst of cold air (stated on Jan 1st) and then gone on about how long range forecasting is futile...which is it? All I was saying is, La Nina will typically yield a warmer and drier Jan and Feb (as the CWG suggested) than normal and I don't see anything suggesting otherwise, just yet; especially given I don't believe long range data. Longer range, 3-6 month projections, are merely based on odds and trends...I get that. I'm a pretty big critic of people like JB...believe me, I think long range forecasting is all odds, you're just rolling dice at that point, after you look at trends.

Posted by: parksndc | January 2, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse


well my prediction was for the DC metro area, not Annapolis or Bmore. Hence my visiting of a WASHINGTON post site. But its cool if ppl say my 0-3 inches was a bust because you know what no one paid me a dime to guess 4 days out and be right while most "Professional" DC area mets were talking about snow totals of 6+ inches within hours of the storm LOL. Most people in an around the DC metro got under and inch and no more than 3 inches!

I'd buy that forecast for a dollar! ;)

Posted by: KRUZ | January 2, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse


The 2nd storm you guessed right four days out? Um, wasn't that ~ a 30% chance at that point? Congrats, you picked one of the right choices...what in the world is so impressive about picking one of a few choices after someone else did all the work of creating the choices for you? So far you guess 2 forecasts right out of how many days, 2 trillion +? Wow, might want to book a trip to Vegas.

Posted by: parksndc | January 2, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse


i could care less about my guessing a wx forecast, im not a pro met and i dont get paid for it.

altho booking a trip to vegas sounds like something all pro mets should do since they have more experience at making guesses, incorrect or not..... based off of model data that is a gamble itself AKA pointless.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 2, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

KRUZ - So you are saying we should just stop forecasting weather all together, since you're the all-knowing unpaid guesser of the year? Btw, if you're such a great forecaster, and you're not getting a finance professional, I'd say you're not that bright.

Posted by: parksndc | January 2, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse


I never said i was a great forecaster im the complete opposite actually, i know nothing about forecasting and thats the sad part, as with so many amateur wx blogs on the internet they dont know half as much as the "pros" yet they get it right more than the pros. is one example.

As for saying to just stop forecasting, i never said that but when "professional" weather forecasters cant even get a forecast right within a day and sometimes hours of a storm, then yeah id say its best not say anything unless you know what you are talking about, not just be bullish. But then again, what do i know about be a professional (meteorologist)?

Posted by: KRUZ | January 2, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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