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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Forecast: Plenty of sun but no warmth

By David Streit

Dry seasonable weekend ahead

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


About 10 degrees colder than normal and still windy ...seriously.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny, breezy. 30-34. | Tonight: Starry skies. 12-18. | Tomorrow: Sunny a.m., partly cloudy p.m. 33-37. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Before we start any whining about this cold let us pause to reflect. On this date in 1912 the high was 8 and the low was 13 below; it could be worse. It takes some time to dig out of this cold spot but by the long weekend we should at least reach more seasonable temps (42/27 at Reagan National). In fact, this weekend marks the bottom of the climatological temperatures and it is all uphill from there! The other good news is no more than a brief Saturday flurry on the precipitation side of things through ML King day.

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↓) - The next threat is not until Tuesday and it looks more like sleet and/or rain than snow.

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

Today (Thursday): Winds should not be as strong as yesterday but still ramp up to 15-20 mph from the northwest by midday. Abundant sun tries its best to provide some warmth but it just isn't good enough today with highs only in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Stars twinkle brightly tonight as temperatures plummet to some of the coldest levels of the season. All areas should bottom out in the teens. At least winds die down to just 5 to 10 mph. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

A runner approaches the Capitol Wednesday morning. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Friday: Bright sunshine is no match for the cold high pressure dominating the region. A few clouds pop up in the afternoon and keep highs from doing better than the mid-30s in most areas. Winds are no longer so teeth rattling, coming from the west at just 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Clouds should disappear in the evening and winds calm. Temperatures quickly return to the 20s so scarves are your friend. Lows "only" make it to the upper teens suburbs to mid-20s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High


Saturday is back to seasonable conditions. Clouds come through in waves and temps peak in the low-to-mid 40s. Moisture from a fast moving snowstorm in the Great Lakes is mostly wrung out in the Appalachians. However, there is a 20% chance for a band or two of snow flurries to sneak into the area in the afternoon or at night with minimal accumulation. It is more generous about sharing its winds which pick up from the southwest at 15-20 mph by afternoon. Overnight, winds remain strong at 15-20 mph and clouds linger. Lows improve once again holding in the mid-20s to lower 30s. Confidence: Medium

Sunday starts out cloudy and breezy. However, winds should lighten up and skies should be gradually clearing through the day. Highs reach the low-to-mid 40s which should feel pretty good. Temperatures fall off quickly under clear calm conditions with lows reaching lower 20s in coldest spots and upper 20s inside the beltway. Confidence: Medium

Martin Luther King Day (Monday) should start out sunny enough but with storms approaching from both the Midwest and the Gulf Coast clouds steadily increase through the day as winds pick up from the east. Highs top out in the upper 30s to lower 40s. There is the slightest of a chance for a few pellets of sleet by evening but most of that precipitation comes late night and on Tuesday when a potential wintry mix of rain and sleet looks likely. As the storm is still days away, changes in its track, timing, and evolution are still possible. Confidence: Medium

By David Streit  | January 13, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: More than 70 percent of U.S. covered in snow
Next: Wintry views from Washington Monument


Has anyone else seen that biggie on the GFS at 384 hrs?? I know it's sooooo far out, but it would be great if it verified.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 13, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

"Winds should not be as strong as yesterday but still ramp up to 15-20 mph from the northwest by midday."

15-20 mph is still pretty bad. Oh and that wind chill. I am sick of it!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 13, 2011 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Snow Potential Index: 2 (↓)

2 and dropping????


Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 13, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Bobmiller, The GFS always seems to have a big coastal during the winter in it's last few frames. If I didn't know better I'd say it was written into the code. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 13, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Brian on the GFS. It certainly seems suspicious that there is always a big storm in the last frames of the model.

But, it's merely fantasyland anyway and not worth paying any attention to.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 13, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse


A friendly reminder to please not use bold text. Bold text is for the use of Capital Weather Gang contributors in responding to questions from readers. Thank you for your cooperation

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 13, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

i remember back in december most forecasters were calling for above normal temps for january. just wondering if that has been delayed or if its just not gonna happen?

is la nina ever gonna take hold this winter or is the blocking gonna be just too much, or will the blocking eventually go away and stay away?

Posted by: KRUZ | January 13, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

ABC/WTOP mentioned a weak disturbance could bring some snowflakes tonight/tomorrow morning N&W...

Posted by: spgass1 | January 13, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

@KRUZ Yes the blocks are definitely preempting the typical La Nina warming and there are signs that more blocking could be on the way in February, but it does look like we may get a week or two break from the cold later this month. @spgass1 We did mention a slight chance for flurries but not until Saturday.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | January 13, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse


There is a weak sliver of upper-level energy on track to pass nearby tonight/tomorrow morning. Not out of the question it could touch off a flurry, but doubt it would be anything more than that because of how dry the air is and how little moisture the system has to work with. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 13, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

What are the chances of getting some industrial-strength cold here? High around 20, lows in the single digits, such as we had the Friday before the last inauguration (high: 18)? I've only needed to wear gloves a couple of times this winter.

If we have a warm up, will mean more stink bugs... ugh!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 13, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

CWG and bobmiller2

How far is about 384 hrs out?? Any slight chance that storm would vertify??

Posted by: bobdello01 | January 13, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The blocking is gone right now:

That doesn't mean we will warm up right away because more cold air masses can move in to reinforce the cold. What it does mean is that the storm that came through late Tuesday is going, going, gone, along with its cold NW wind. The next few days should be better because of that.

Posted by: eric654 | January 13, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Tuesday's event is being predicted as rain...though the much unneeded precip. crowd continues to target my Clarendon Ballroom dance night...generally rain won't deter attendees the way mix or snow would.

Another sensitive night is Thursday the 20th when I have a Buddhist discussion meeting...though the Buddhists are more apt to cancel in bad weather than the Clarendon Ballroom.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 13, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Why is the site taking sooooo... much time to post...and double-posting???

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 13, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry if I missed this in a previous post, but is this winter expected to be pretty minimal in terms of snow for here in the DC area? Seems it, considering we're below normal and about halfway through meteorological winter.

Posted by: Andrew53 | January 13, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Our big weather event over the next 10 days or so is the possibility of the temps tanking. GFS has been waffling on that all know Im on the pro-snow side, but Id just about eat my shorts for a 60 degree day or two. Then we can get back to February.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 13, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@bobdello01 384 hours is about 384 hours, or 16 days, after the model ran - so it's 16 days into the future. I don't even know what I want to eat for lunch 16 days from now, so I doubt this model is very accurate in making weather predictions!

See this useful Capital Weather Gang post for more info on how time is communicated in these models:

Posted by: kolya02 | January 13, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse


Ignore the talk about the models 384 hours out--or even much less. Does not mean a thing at this point.

Posted by: weatherdude | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CWG. Will you be liveblogging the models over the weekend to cover the threat of flurries? ;-)

Posted by: spgass1 | January 13, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

EURO model looking better for next Wednesday as a snow event. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted by: APU2100 | January 13, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't see how Tuesday can be anything but rain. I don't want to hear the words 'mixed.'. Than you Weather Gods.

Posted by: moo1 | January 13, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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