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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Forecast: Seasonable today, a few flakes tonight

By David Streit

Weekend turns nasty cold

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


Clouds increase but seasonable temps and light winds are tolerable.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Partly cloudy. 41-45. | Tonight: Snow flurries late. 22-29. | Tomorrow: Flurries end early, cloudy. 36-40. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


The recent string of highs in the 40s was too short of a "thaw" (if you want to call it that) for me. We hang on to the 40s for one more day and then the Arctic muscles in for the weekend. A few snowflakes to mark the leading edge of the cold push Friday morning may not even accomplish a dusting. The problem is that this cold spell may be measured in weeks rather than days, so time to "Eskimo up"!

Snow Potential Index: 3 (→) - Several chances for flurries over next week. Risk of more Tuesday, but odds still low.

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): Clouds flirt with the area all day long as a storm passes far to the south. Calm conditions give way to winds from the west at 5-10 mph by afternoon. Our last day of seasonable temperatures for a long time gives us highs in the low-to-mid 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Clouds increase as an upper level disturbance digs into the area. This should be strong enough to set off some snow flurries by the early morning hours (70% chance) but any areas that even pick up a dusting are likely to be few. Winds are light. Lows fall to the lower 20s in the outer suburbs to upper 20s downtown. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

Friday: There should still be a few snow flurries for the morning commute. In this area of traffic mayhem it is still worthwhile to check the road report before going out but any problems are unlikely. Clouds hang in most of the afternoon and hold down temperatures. Highs only manage the mid-to-upper 30s. Winds pick up from the west at 10-15 mph just to make it feel a little colder in the afternoon. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: The real Arctic air moves in now and you'll feel it. Lows slide to the mid teens to lower 20s (downtown). Fortunately, winds are light so wind chill should not add a lot to the misery. Confidence: Medium


Saturday is winter in all its finest. Temperatures struggle to make it to freezing and winds from the west at 10-15 mph don't help. Snow showers are likely along the western slopes of the mountains. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see a band or two break free and drift across the northwestern suburbs and maybe even inside the beltway (30% chance). Once again, mainly flurries, with no accumulation in most spots. That seems to be our mantra this winter. Overnight, winds actually pick up to 15-20 mph and with lows again in the mid-teens to lower 20s. Get indoors! Confidence: Medium

Sunday is windy and unseasonably cold but at least mostly sunny. Breezes could gust to 25 mph to heighten the chill in the air. Highs should make a little more progress than the day before but still hold in the mid-to-upper 30s. Overnight lows are only fractionally less painful in the upper teens to lower 20s. Confidence: Medium

Monday is mostly sunny, but still below seasonable standards with highs in the mid-to-upper 30s. Winds are lighter which helps. Late in the day, another storm approaches, you guessed it, from the south. Like the ones before it this winter, it probably only grazes us as it heads northeast. Or, maybe it makes a sharp enough turn to the north this time to produce some more meaningful snow. Stay tuned. What we can safely say right now is that a new surge of Arctic air will usher in behind it. Confidence: Medium

By David Streit  | January 6, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Tranquil through tomorrow
Next: Amazing images of D.C.'s extreme 2010 weather


Sorry for the thread hijack, but someone was asking me about the Snowmageddon book.

Do you have an update on how, where to get? E-version vs paper?


Posted by: jaybird926 | January 6, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

jaybird926: E-version of the Snowmageddon book is at and the paper version is at, search for Snowmageddon.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 6, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

So what you're saying is that we should give up on next week's storm?? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I want snow!!!!!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 6, 2011 7:13 AM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2 Don't give up hope. The last two American model runs did give us snow for the Tues/Weds event but we have seen this head fake before haven't we? Most models have been keeping it south of us and that has certainly been the pattern this season.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | January 6, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

By American model do you mean the GFS and NAM?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 6, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

My hope is that this next storm plays out like the U.S. Presidential elections - if enough networks/meteorologists call for snow like it's a given, the anti-snow energy in the atmosphere will decide to stay home and just watch TV.

Posted by: kolya02 | January 6, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

kevin (and ian),
my wife got me the book for christmas. it's a great read/look. love the radar images and accumulation maps of each storm. i also loved those archival images of people/cars/stores etc...from the historic storms of yore.

david, CWG,
is your caution re next week's falls church bombogenesis storm what you would have for any storm this far out? or is this one particularly tenuous?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

@bbirnbau The GFS, the NAM only sees out 84 hours.

Posted by: davidstreit1 | January 6, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Kevin.

Posted by: jaybird926 | January 6, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

@walter-in-fallschurch While I would always be cautious that far out, the trend is your friend in the weather much of the time and this more southerly route for many storms does play into the skepticism

Posted by: davidstreit1 | January 6, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Happy 15th Anniversary, Blizzard of '96!!! What memories...that was my first extreme event here in DC. 1993 was good, but falls short of 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2010 in my book.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 6, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for correctly calling the mid-30s "unseasonably cold". Snow lovers seem to forget that the cold air needed for snow around here is not the norm.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | January 6, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Based on the CWG Saturday forecast I will ready my cave for hibernation mode.
Need the spring seed catalogs (aka "garden porn"), Netflix, & Bailey's.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 6, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

re the '96 storm:
just after it all stopped falling, i remember walking the abandoned, snow-muffled streets to the grocery store with my wife to get some essentials: champagne and bacon... i didn't have snow pants or tall enough boots so i used newspaper bags as gaiters. after that storm was the first time a snow creature (trixie the triceratops) appeared in my yard. good times...

this is pretty:

if i understand it, it predicts 5-10" for dc over the 36-hr period ending next wednesday? CWG, is that correct? (not asking if that's what will happen, just if i'm interpreting the "p36_150" part.)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Yup, 5-10 inches - On This Run Only! (We need a new acronym - OTRO...) I was still in college at GMU in 96 - it was winter break and my fraternity had a leadership conference in Charlotte that about 15 of us had gone down to (Charlotte is a very fun town in youre in your early 20s)...the forecasts were unreal and we were watching closely. We decided to stay down there to wait it out. We got about 6 inches there which is obviously a lot for that part of NC. Town was shut down for 2 days - but the reports out of DC were incredible. We finally tried to make it back up 85 and 95 on Wednesday - after three days of drinking the hotel bar empty (twas a good time) we approached Richmond the amount of snow clearly started to deepen...and as we rolled up 95 toward Fairfax it was unbelieveable. My car was parked in a GMU lot and when we got it it, she was the only lump you could see in a field of white. Took me about four hours to dig it out and make it to the road. Living in Centreville, there was closer to 30 inches out there. Amazing memories...

Posted by: DullesARC | January 6, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Totally off topic, but weather gang can you discuss a little about the dead fish in the Cheasapeak? Could it be due to the cold weather we've been having?

Posted by: deannazhang | January 6, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Here is my coverage of the Blizzard of 1996 from Centreville, Virginia - includes actual footage of Bob Ryan's prediction of snow and was the first time he rolled out his new "modern" weather center. There were many reports in the paper about his incredible coverage along with his weather team not leaving the weather center for days all wearing starched white shirts keeping us posted on the most extreme winter weather we had seen in decades in D.C.
Centreville, Virginia
Manassas, Virginia

Posted by: greg2010 | January 6, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

David, you sound so sad about the chilly weather. Since this might be with us for a while, I'm trying to think of a few things that are good about cold weather for you. Let's see...there's the wonder of hot chocolate or irish coffee after coming in from the walk from the bus stop; nifty frost patterns on windows, even those you have to scrape off the car; the astounding array of interesting hats that come out when people realize they are all going to look the same in their bulky winter coats; I hear that running in the cold can be fun, but I try to avoid that particular activity in any weather; and hiking can be great in cold weather since the trails are mostly empty except for deer. Oh, and of course, when it gets really cold, the sunshine can be spectacular.

Not really a great list...well, may be other folks have more interesting winter, non-snow-related things they can suggest.

Posted by: kickabout | January 6, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Not that anyone might care, but here in Minnesota the next cold wave may bring the coldest weather in 25 years. See also

May you all enjoy basking in the warm 20s and 30s.

Posted by: eddiedog2 | January 6, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Not really a great list...well, may be other folks have more interesting winter, non-snow-related things they can suggest.

Posted by: kickabout | January 6, 2011 10:28 AM

i've played lots of outdoor ice hockey this winter.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The Jan 1996 snow was actually a series of storms, the big bopper over the weekend, followed by a nice clipper and then snow and sleet on Friday to top it off. The Feds shut down for four days, opening only on Thursday, and some areas did receive 30" from the various storms.

Alas, warm temperatures and rain quickly melted it and there was severe flooding in various parts of the NE (remember at Point of Rocks, where the water rose and fell so quickly that there sheets of ice in the trees after a quick refreeze?).

Last year's late Jan-Feb snows melted much more slowly and the major problems were power outages and ice damming in houses.

Tired of the twink snows this winter; let's get some serious accumulation next week, so Walter can sculpt an emu (or the bird of his choice).

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse


from what Fox 5 reported the fish kill is due to the cold water temps in the Bay. In 1976 a similar fish kill occurred however the numbers killed were more numerous.

Posted by: VAresident2 | January 6, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

We can't fall into the same trap we did with the last potential big storm...don't get stuck on one or a couple of favorable models. Like Wes has said multiple times, you need to look at several runs of the models together. Also, the trend has been consistent (like last year), cold air blocking but the storms are blowing up more to our South and East of us which is basically creating a giant donut hole over DC. I HATE this winter ...ready for the next one. Extreme cold w/o snow is like extreme heat w/o the beach!

Posted by: parksndc | January 6, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

i've played lots of outdoor ice hockey this winter.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM

How could I have forgotten about hockey and its cousin, broomball? Sheesh.

Posted by: kickabout | January 6, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Apparently spots and a few croaker, thankfully not rockfish, were the only types of fish killed in the Bay. The drum fish in Arkansas may have been killed by disease.

The dead birds in Sweden may be related to fireworks and ancillary reasons.

But if Washington gets a major snow on 1/11/11, people will be yelling apocalypse. (Wouldn't it be cool if we got 11"!)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 6, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This winter is turning out like the Redskins always do... can't wait for the season to start, and then it goes wrong (no snow, no playoffs) and I'm ready for it to be over so the next one can come and hopefully be better. CWG, what's your bet here: will we get accumulating snow of 5-6" (more would be fine too!) at all this year?

Posted by: kat16 | January 6, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

More likely to get 1" on 1-1-11 with the way things have been going!

Posted by: sobolasobola | January 6, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Guess I'll be putting on my car cover tonight!

Posted by: eabgarnet | January 6, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I hate the cold without snow.

@kickabout, your list helped a little. I guess there's always good to be found even in a winter that is in a non snow producing pattern.

I a beginning to hate the phrase 'the trend is your friend'. It sounded so musical last year....

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 6, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

eddiedog2 -

Thanks! You just saved me from having to ask CWG for their thoughts on the upcoming cold wave in the Upper Midwest. Have to go to Fargo for work next Wednesday. Ouch.

Posted by: ParkerGP | January 6, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

kickabout -
Thanks for your list. I do a lot of walking outside (for exercise) all seasons of the year... I usually tell people that the cold motivates me to move faster!

Posted by: MKoehl | January 6, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

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