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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Forecast: Light snow likely late tonight

By Camden Walker

Up to 1" of snow by early Sat. More snow Tues?

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

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

 

Chilly and breezy. Hoping any slick spots are minimal from early snow shower risk!
 
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EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Early a.m. snow showers, then partly sunny. Upper 30s. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Chance of light snow late. Upper teens to low 20s. | Tomorrow: Chance of a.m. light snow. Dusting to 1". Breezy. 30-35. | Sunday: Mostly sunny. Mid-to-upper 30s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

After a dusting or so in some spots this morning, another shot of light snow is likely late tonight into early tomorrow. This time even more spots could see a dusting if not up to around an inch. We stay cold through the weekend, and as you may have heard, Tuesday could get interesting as we may be dealing with a potentially snowier system than this morning's or tonight's.

Snow Potential Index: 4 (↑) - After this morning's flakes and tonight's small accumulation potential, Tuesday is our next chance for more. But there's a lot still up in the air.

 
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 (Friday): Early snow showers (50% chance) could leave a coating or a little more behind, but the risk scoots east quickly and some sun emerges as the day wears on. High temperatures reach the mid-to-upper 30s. I don't think any minor snow accumulation will stick around long! Breezes will also increase to about 10 mph, out of the west. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Clouds slowly creep into the region and a disturbance approaching from the west offers a 50-60% of light snow after midnight and into the morning. A dusting to an inch is possible. Breezes continue out of the west around 10 mph. Temperatures really dip as well, as far as the upper teens in the coldest suburbs to the low 20s downtown. Bundle up with the potential wind-chill well into the teens! Confidence: Medium

How worried should I be about the snow on Tuesday? Keep reading...

Tomorrow (Saturday): The 50-60% chance of overnight light snow continues into the morning, with total accumulations of a dusting to around 1 inch possible. Sunshine should become visible at times in the afternoon although a few snow flurries remain possible. Highs struggle to get into the low-to-mid 30s. And that breeze -- about 10 to 15 mph -- will really keep things cool! Yet, really, it will be fairly...uncomfortably...cold. Ear muffs seem appropriate! Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Clear and just plain cold. Would you call low temperatures in the teens (suburbs) to around 20 (downtown) "bitter" cold? Light westerly breezes could pop up every now and again, and add some extra sting to the cold. But winds should subside a bit at least. Brrr. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday: Another sunny day to be had! Get out and attempt to alleviate any Seasonal Affective Disorder. Highs will be somewhat acceptable in the mid-to-upper 30s. Any breeze should be nothing terribly, but still consider dressing for a slight wind-chill. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

On Sunday night we cloud up a bit but still get pretty darn cold. Low temperatures fall into the upper teens to low 20s again. The furnace gets its overtime! Confidence: Medium

Monday looks a little cloudy, though with some sunshine to be enjoyed. High temperatures are a bit milder, but nothing I'd call warm. Upper 30s to around 40 which is still a bit below average, and that's if we are lucky and receive enough sunshine. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday gets tricky with at least a 40-50% chance of snow as of now. We look to be near the border between light and moderate accumulations. Of course a small change means we could get more or also nothing. Temperatures vary depending on how much snow we see. More snow means highs only around the freezing mark. Less snow or no snow would allow highs to reach the upper 30s to about 40. Confidence: Low [Updated @ 11:35 a.m.]

By Camden Walker  | January 7, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Comments

Good morning. Light dusting in Laytonsville, MD. Roads wet with a little snow in the middle, but lanes clear.

Looks like the flurries are already gone. Wish we had just enough for Walter to do one of his masterpieces, but I'll take the light dusting with no shoveling for now. Nice way to wake up, though.

Posted by: dprats21 | January 7, 2011 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Agreed! Nice thin coating on the driveway and deck in montgomery village. Really pretty! Love it! I heard on my early morning weather tv station that another band could move through tonight into Saturday. Any concerns there?

Posted by: soleil2000 | January 7, 2011 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, a surface low passes to our south tomorrow morning and we could see a bit of light snow on the northern periphery. So maybe another bout of flurries/snow showers, but nothing major. We seem to always be on the edge of these things (this winter).

Posted by: MattRogers1 | January 7, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Glumly listening to the morning reports of all the snow other parts of the country are getting. Sigh.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 7, 2011 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2, now might be an excellent time to pull out those photos of last winter. Sorry!

Posted by: MattRogers1 | January 7, 2011 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2 - I lived in Alexandria, VA for five years and a few years ago I had to transfer because of my job. I saw an opening in Buffalo, NY and I took it. People think I'm crazy because I wanted to come to Buffalo (just for the winters and the snow) but I love it here. Woke up to about 3-4 inches of snow this morning.

Posted by: dave67 | January 7, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised to wake up to a dusting this morning.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 7, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Dusting in Falls Church. Not even Walter could make anything out of it.

Posted by: wiredog | January 7, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"After today's flakes and small accumulation potential, Tuesday is our next chance for more. But there's a lot still up in the air."

Surely, there was no pun intended by Camden. :)

Posted by: JTF- | January 7, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

looks like a few random spots of powdered sugar on the grass near IAD, can't even call it a dusting

looking at traffic cameras, parts of NY tri-state area look like they have an inch or two on the grass, The Cross Bronx Expressway in the Snow - someone should make a postcard

Posted by: tgt111 | January 7, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

i only got about 100 snowflakes here - probably about 999,999,999,900 short... need about 2-3" typically. hmm...but you got me wondering...

wes,
you're the snow expert here. i know it depends of the specific temp/humidity etc...but, could you approximate how many snowflakes are in a cubic inch of "typical" snow?

everybody,
it's a myth that all snowflakes are hexagonal. my favorite, of course, are the "dendrites"...so pretty. i suspect also that they're they best for snowball-making, given all that geometry to interlock.

here's a great website at which to poke around. many pretty pictures and interesting facts:

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class.htm

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/movies/movie3.gif

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 7, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Just so no one is caught off guard - I just updated this post to incorporate a decent chance of some light snow tonight. And I think it will probably produce more snow than the scattered dustings around the region this morning. Some spots could even see an inch. I'm going to post an update on this a little later based on this morning's model runs and Wes will do a separate post on the Tuesday threat. A fun day...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 7, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Jason sez maybe a little snow tonight.
Tell us more.
That would be nice....because there's no sign of any flakes in Centreville/Manassas this morning.
Would love to wake up to an inch of new snow Saturday hibernation day. If that happened I might even venture outside to broom off the steps.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 7, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Snow tonight? I have to be honest Jason...I'm starting to seriously doubt any reports of snow west of DC anymore...my wife even asked me to stop informing her b/c she no longer believes the forecasts (1 out of 5 times I told her, this year, it could snow…it snowed)…we woke up to SUNNY skies this morning with white all over the road...salt. There isn't a cloud in the sky in Reston right now. Very cold though. Still doubting Tues too...this is getting depressing for snow lovers. I almost would prefer a shock of snow (I know that’s bad for good reasons). BUT, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Posted by: parksndc | January 7, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Got a dusting overnight in the Blue Ridge east of Front Royal. New 12z NAM suggests light snow possible throughout the day tomorrow...

Posted by: spgass1 | January 7, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

If there is light snow tonight, I'll take it. Small victories...

Posted by: Rcmorgan | January 7, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Matt, I DID look at my photos from last year yesterday :D

I got a new camera for Christmas Dying to try it out in the snow, using Kevin's flash method! Maybe late tonight (fingers crossed).

Also have an early morning walk to yoga tomorrow- how nice would that be in a bit of snow? Even a 1/2 inch.

I know it will snow again one day.
Snowlovers- eternal optimists.

dave67, I would have thought you were crazy for moving to Buffalo as well a few years back- now I'm not so sure. All that wonderful snow :)

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 7, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2, I got a new camera for Christmas too. What's Kevin's "flash method"? Thanks!

How depressing that all my relatives in South and North Carolina sent me pics of them romping in the snow over the Christmas holidays!

Posted by: luvhh1 | January 7, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@luvhh1, Kevin took pictures of the snow in limited light and used his flash, causing the flakes to show up in a striking way.

Nothing complicated, but I think many of us turn the flash off in those situations (night time shots of a lighted landscape). I believe he was shooting the Capitol or National Christmas tree when he did it.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 7, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Wh-wh-what? Sudden potential for snow tomorrow. Wild. Isn't it funny how we all watch these storms on the computer models 7 days out and they degrade from monsters to misses. Then, surprise, one just pops up at the last minute and gives us the potential for some fun with the kid in the snow on the weekend. If it does come to pass, it'll make up for telling the little one about the snow we didn't get over Xmas. Lesson learned... Don't tell the kids about snow until it's falling. LOL!

There is no way I'd ever want to be a Met in this area. You all are gluttons for punishment!

Posted by: dprats21 | January 7, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

'O' Canada! I sure like what the Canadian model is cooking up for Tuesday/Wednesday! Would be a HUGE storm. GFS has a storm...but seems for like the 6-12 variety to me as of the 6z with precip spread out over a long period of time. What are you guys thinking CWG? Doesn't seem to be a lot of model flip flopping on an actual storm...but rather on the precip intensity? Do you see the NAO leaning more positive with this one?

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 7, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I just noticed something:

No predictions of tomorrow's potential snow from any members of the "know-it-all-smarter-than-area-Mets" group. Such an easy job, huh? If it were, and you all were so much better, you wouldn't have waited for the computer models to give us all fair warning.

ROFLMAO!!!!

Posted by: PlowKing | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@DLO1975 - I'm really hoping the Canadians are right for Tues/Wed. Also the GFS 12z has a big storm for next weekend - I hope the cold temps hold. I could really use a snowy 3 day weekend.

Posted by: Bainbridge | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Walter, what is the least amount of snow you need to make something? Is it 2-3"? Could you make anything from a dusting?

Posted by: WickedRose | January 7, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Really getting hopeful about tuesday after looking at all of the models. :) After living in NZ for past 8 years, I can really appreciate all the resources we have here for forecasting. Even though not always the most accurate, at least we generally know what's going to happen within the next 12 hour period. Woke up to over a foot of snow there one morning when they were calling for "scattered rain showers possible overnight" haha

Posted by: rudy1481 | January 7, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think Walter needs a snow machine so we all don't have to wait for the weather to provide him with white gold. It's been cold enough. Maybe a water hose and a leaf blower could be made into some kind contraption... or maybe this thing I found online:

http://www.snowathome.com/free_plans/SAH-SG_t-type_internal_mix.php

Posted by: dprats21 | January 7, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I was joking around about the hose and leaf blower , but check this out:

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-SNOW-MACHINE/

Love how inventive people are.

Posted by: dprats21 | January 7, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@luvhh1, Kevin took pictures of the snow in limited light and used his flash, causing the flakes to show up in a striking way.

Nothing complicated, but I think many of us turn the flash off in those situations (night time shots of a lighted landscape). I believe he was shooting the Capitol or National Christmas tree when he did it.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 7, 2011 10:03 AM
-----------------------

the reason that pic "worked" is because the subjects (capitol and christmas tree) were so well-lit by themselves. the flash was not needed to light those.

if you went out and took a picture of an unlit scene at night with a flash while it was snowing, all you'd see would be the snowflakes close to you and the little area close to the camera - whatever was lit by the flash.

WickedRose,
see above, at 8:04 am ;-)

dprats,
i've heard of people doing this to make snowboarding ramps/pipes in their backyards. pretty cool. if somebody deposits a pile of snow in my yard, i'll make something! (must be "clean" snow though).

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 7, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@ Camden--no, I wouldn't call lows in the teens (suburbs) or 20 (town) "bitter cold." To me, bitter cold means around 0°F, perhaps slightly above/below. Also, I always think "wind" when I hear bitter cold.

@CWG--Your "confidence" levels in the detailed forecast section never make sense to me. Why didn't you have "High" confidence that there was a 50% chance of early snow showers today, or "High" confidence that there is a 50-60% chance of snow showers tonight? Seems that with percentages given, you could have more than "Medium" confidence.

Okay, I've got to go now and shovel my street in NW DC. It's full of salt.

Posted by: petworthlad | January 7, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for clarifying Walter!

Yes, that is what I meant, perhaps poorly explained, when I wrote 'limited light' or 'lighted' landscape- there must be some light there or it would not work.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 7, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

earlier i wondered how many snowflakes are in a cubic inch. per this source:

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070119_snowflakes_alike.html

The number of cubic feet of snow that falls on the planet each year is about 1 followed by 15 zeros, which is a million billion, estimates cloud physicist Jon Nelson at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, who has studied snowflakes for 15 years. Similarly, all this snow weighs about a million billion kilograms.
A typical snow crystal weighs roughly one millionth of a gram. This means a cubic foot of snow can contain roughly one billion crystals. A rough estimate of the number of snow crystals that fall to Earth per year is "about 1 followed by 24 zeros," Nelson told LiveScience. "If another scientist says that I'm off by one or two zeros, then I won't quibble."

so, a cubic inch has about 1,000,000,000/(12*12*12) = ~575,000 snowflakes.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 7, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

No snow at all this morning in Arlington/Westover.

Posted by: ksu499 | January 7, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should all shovel our snow tomorrow and deliver it to Walter.

I wonder how my homeowners association would feel if I got a snow machine. I think I would get a strongly worded letter from them!

Posted by: WickedRose | January 7, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

This winter's shaping up to be pretty dull. The temperature's doing its part for something exciting, but moisture is a no show.

Posted by: shoveit | January 7, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

No accumulation in my area...tonight's dance should be on.

Hopefully tomorrow's snow holds off until after midnight tonight...3-6 AM or so.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 7, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

No accumulation in my area...tonight's dance should be on.

Hopefully tomorrow's snow holds off until after midnight tonight...3-6 AM or so.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 7, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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