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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/14/2011

Forecast: Slight thaw, but still chilly

By Camden Walker

Flurry possible this morning & Sat, not a bad weekend

originally posted at 5 a.m., updated at 6 a.m.

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


Chilly and somewhat sunny with highs in the 30s. Just enough to help melt some remaining snow & ice that is slowing you down.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Patchy morning flurries/light snow, then partly sunny. Mid-to-upper 30s. | Tonight: Variably cloudy. Upper teens to low 20s. | Tomorrow: Morning sun, p.m. flurry or sprinkle? Low 40s. | Sunday: Partly sunny. Near 40. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Get ready for a period of high temperatures further above the freezing mark. It's still chilly though, don't get me wrong. And yes, these temperatures still require bundling up. Despite the grip of winter holding through the weekend, we're looking at the eventual full melting of any leftover snow and spots of ice. By the beginning of next week it's increasingly cloudy with precipitation chances leaning more heavily toward rain. Will you enjoy the small break from our very frigid air?

Snow Potential Index: 2 (→) - Next week's storm still looks mostly rainy with maybe some wintry mix to start. We'll be watching.

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): Watch out for some patchy early morning light snow or flurries, especially in the north & west suburbs. No more than a dusting but possibly enough to create a slick spot or two through 8 a.m. Cold but bearable with lighter (5-10 mph) northwesterly breezes. You might actually feel the sunshine that emerges today! High temperatures bring more melting, we hit the mid-to-upper 30s most likely. While there will be some clouds today, I am pretty darn confident they won't prevent temperatures from popping above freezing. Any avid runners out there ready to bring their routine back outside? After the scattered flurries early in the a.m., sidewalks and roadways should really be turning dry & clear today. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Sure we could see a few clouds tonight, but nothing to plan around except the unending cold! Bundle up as temperatures again turn winter-like. Even downtown heads into the lower 20s and upper teens outside of the Beltway should be prevalent as well. Confidence: Medium

Should we worry about the weather on Monday night & Tuesday? Keep reading...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Breezy conditions might be more of a weather story than the 20% chance of a late flurry or sprinkle. Before that, we see some morning sun with increasing clouds and high temperatures into the low 40s perhaps. Winds out of the south and southwest should be modest, but nothing like our windier days of recent. Please dress in layers! Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Westerly breezes continue overnight 5-10 mph range. Combine that with evening temperatures in the 30s and pre-dawn temperatures in the 20s, and I know I want ear muffs again. Pretty darn wintry, and still cold with -- what usually insulates us from getting too cold -- a blanket of cloud cover overhead. Can you hear my teeth chattering? Confidence: Medium-High

Sunday: Clouds in the morning lead to a a somewhat sunny afternoon. Breezes are slow to die during the day, so prepare for a bit of a wind chill. High temperatures may head into the low 40s again, but feel like 30s, I bet. Confidence: Medium


On Sunday night we see more clouds in the sky, and may need our scarves still. Low temperatures fall into the mid 20s downtown, perhaps around 20 in the suburbs. I dislike where my heating bill is heading. Confidence: Medium

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day looks cloudy, though with some sunshine to be enjoyed in the morning hours perhaps. High temperatures are again near 40. By the evening, there is a slight (20-30% chance) of light wintry mix. Maybe even just light freezing drizzle for a short time. Warmer air should change precipitation to rain quickly, but we'll watch it. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday is a little tricky with at least a 60-70% chance of precipitation. Wintry mix could persist into the morning, but as noted already, it should be brief if we're not all already getting rain after sunrise. High temperatures on Tuesday should stay in the 40s. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Camden Walker  | January 14, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Despite the forecast for 18 overnight, I figured it wouldn't get down to 20 and sure enough it didn't. National Airport has yet to drop below 21 this winter!!

Posted by: HenryFPotter | January 14, 2011 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Sunshine? Dusting of snow here in South Riding overnight!

Posted by: BoaterVA | January 14, 2011 5:55 AM | Report abuse

Clouds which came in kept overnight temps up a bit. And yes, tiny area of light snow that developed a bit of a surprise. Very weak impulse in the atmosphere moved through. Usually wouldn't produce much of anything. Did this time. Forecast modified.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Dusting of snow out here (New Baltimore), just enough to cover the windshield.

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 14, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Dusting east of Front Royal. Overnight low 16.2F, currently 17.8.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 14, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I too shall confirm .25 inch of beautiful surprise snow this morning in the LoCo bootheel.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 14, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

spgass1 - Front Royal certainly did get cold, despite clouds there, eh? Stay warm. Hope you cleared off any dusting without problem. (same goes for weathergrrl!)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Woke up to a dusting of snow in Herndon, makes the frozen lake look very pretty.

Posted by: dantebouchot | January 14, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

DullesARC - very good, hope it wasn't too disruptive though.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Not to sound dense, but I am a little this morning, so here goes-

How will Saturday's winds affect that 40 degree temp? What will it feel like out? I will be outside all day, and I know- layers! But wondering the extent of the chill.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 14, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Dear Eccentric Forces of Nature:
Thank you for the dusting of snow received early this morning in the Centreville/Manassas area. Such surprises are always welcome. Please send more.
Signed: Another Snow Supplicant

I thought it was an extremely heavy frost until I got outside with the scraper. That ain't no frost.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 14, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I had a 16 degree reading this morning in the 2 am hour - matching IAD - obviously before the clouds rolled in with the sweet, sweet snow. It was 20 when I left the house at 6am. That .25 inch got me to an offical 5 inches on the year. I think we have a very decent shot to crack 15 still. We have a lonnnnnng way to go. We get snow in early April around these parts every few years. The current pattern didnt work for us, lets try a new one! NAO slightly positive, a slightly more intrusive southern stream - hey, whatever works.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 14, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

DullesARC, that's good you got measurable snow out of it. The dusting at my place was close to 1/16ths, but my threshold for measurable snow is 1/8th. I think official people use 1/10th as a minimum for measurable snow, but my ruler has 16ths not 10ths...

CWG, the dusting was not terribly disruptive... I might have missed it altogether had I not cleared off a portion of the deck for new snow measurements. It was a bit of a surprise to me as well even though WTOP mentioned the possibility yesterday. The only indication I saw was a brief blob on NAM sim radar...

Posted by: spgass1 | January 14, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Yes, woke up to a dusting of snow and about 21 degrees in Reston, VA. Very nice morning though. Look forward to the weekend. Not looking forward to Tues...cold rain is the worst!

Posted by: parksndc | January 14, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2 - I think not too bad of a windchill but let's subtract about 8 degrees from actual high temperatures. Dress for around the freezing mark and you'll be safe, in my opinion.

parksndc - yes cold rain may literally dampen spirits next week. But glad you had a good morning in Reston, despite cold & dusting

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Love this chilly weather, but what a disappointing, BORING winter.

It is also VERY, VERY dry! The Michigan Park Citizens Association planted 39 trees this year in several locations in the neighborhood through Casey Trees. We will plant another 15 in the spring. Casey Trees staff are quite concerned about the lack of precipitation, and are urging residents to water the 1,000+ new trees they've planted across the city this year.

What are the chances of significant precipitation with Tuesday's event? Let's hope it's a cold rain all day AND all night!

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | January 14, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Is it too early to get even a broad estimate as to what the weather will be at Green Ridge State Park in cetral MD (near Hancock) for January 26-29?

Posted by: igbrownlee | January 14, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse


Yes-- a little too soon for details but NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is calling for below average temps. Check back with us this time next week.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

watching that gfs loop for next week, i see how the precip seems to "push" the 0-degree line right out of the way. it's gonna be cold before and after the precip, but just not during it. this is very frustrating and happened (at least) once earlier this winter. does the low pressure and moisture actually "do something" to warm things as the storm gets here? is there some connection?

is it just me, or did the GFS just get a bit moire interesting for early/mid next week? still looks like rain in the middle, but starting/ending as snow (@90, 114, 120 hrs)?

my point is not to suggest that it will snow 90, 114 and 120 hours from now, but just to ask if something is changing. is there some trend afoot w/the early next week "rain event"?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 14, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Camden!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 14, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi Walter, the storm will bring in warm air. The connecting being southerly winds that will work to (eventually) scour out the cold, dense air on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge. It is trending to a mostly rain event, but we at CWG know our local climatology! There could be pockets of sleet and ice for just a small time--but still might have an impact. See the latest post from Wes Junker that just posted - hope you find that even more informative!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

thanks camden.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 14, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@ TominMichiganPark...Don't need ANY cold rain or ice on Tuesday...once again "Much-unneeded rain" is scheduling these darned precipitation events for my Tuesday night Clarendon Ballroom dance events! Wish it would happen at a different time.

At least the liquid precipitation isn't as likely to keep dancers and dance class students at home, though it can really be a mess to travel in. Would prefer it if the temperature warms up a bit if it rains...Cold rain is NASTIER than snow to get around in, and promotes pneumonia.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 14, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea - I think I'm on your page... that cold rain is generally pretty nasty.. and I would prefer snow over it. Cold rain just makes you & I feel icky, I would venture to say.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 14, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

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