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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/27/2011

Forecast: Snow long gone but windy

By David Streit

A few snow flurries possible Fri & Sat

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


Plenty of dazzling sun today to glimmer off the fresh snow, but still cold and breezy.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny, breezy. 32-37. | Tonight: Increasing clouds. 22-29. | Tomorrow: Chance of snow flurries. 34-38. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


The big excitement snow-wise is over but we have the opportunity for some snow flurry "aftershocks" on Friday and again on Saturday. Temperatures run slightly below the normal - which is no comfort to the thousands without power. More significant Arctic air lurks early next week with more flakes possibly accompanying its approach late Monday.

Snow Potential Index: 4 (↓) - Flurries Fri/Sat only hold a dusting potential but early next week...maybe something more measurable.

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

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Thursday): Skies should clear out early. Watch out for slick spots from any re-freezing overnight. Winds from the west are 10 to 15 mph gusting to 25 mph in the morning, pushing large clumps of snow off the trees. The winds should calm down some by afternoon. Highs only make the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Tranquility returns as winds calm and stars are abundant. The chill is not too bad and increasing clouds later in the night should help to steady readings with lows in the upper 20s city to lower 20s suburbs. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

Friday: A weak upper air disturbance keeps clouds prevalent through much of the day. There is enough instability to foster snow flurries (30% chance) but a dusting should be the max as moisture is in short supply. The models won't agree on when during the day but my money is on high noon. Highs top out mainly in the mid-upper 30s. Breezes are light and variable. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Clearing gives us starry skies for the evening. The whole night seems like a repeat performance of the one before. Chilly but calm winds, 20s for lows and increasing clouds by dawn. Confidence: Medium


Saturday is a second straight day of snow flurry potential (30% chance). If the track on this little clipper system were just 100 miles farther south an inch of accumulation would be a good bet but right now it looks more like the Mason-Dixon for that honor. Highs make the mid-upper 30s. Winds are 5-10 mph from the east in the morning and west in the afternoon. Lows again bottom out in the 20s. Confidence: Medium

Sunday is picture perfect with little in the way of breeze and lots of sun. Temperatures are representative of a normal late January day with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Temperatures plummet overnight with high pressure allowing lows to slip to the mid-teens to lower 20s. Confidence: Medium

Monday is expected to see increasing clouds as another storm is trying to form to the west. Whoa! Those were practically my same words at this time last week. Not sure if we have to wait some extra days again for snow or not. The models agree on some late day flurries but vary from a snow to rain switch on Tuesday, to nothing but a few flurries. We'll have to wait and see. Highs will be in the mid-upper 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

By David Streit  | January 27, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Exhale - it's over; refreezing possible overnight
Next: Recap: Snow, thunder put on a memorable show


Georgetown missed the drama -- slush not snow and will be gone by noon.

My bet is that parking enforcement will be otherwise encumbered so if you have a snow day, come see the last remaining bastion of this season's Beltway snow bubble.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | January 27, 2011 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, CWG!

A question for you: What would be your response when someone says, "You almost can't prepare for what we have here," after your repeated warnings of rain, sleet and snow all week prior to yesterday?

Sounds like someone who is certainly not paying attention to the DC area's BEST forecast team? Yep.

Millicent West, head of the city's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said tonight that the quick accumulation of snow was compounded by wind and quick drop in temperature, which turned streets to sheets of ice.

"You almost can't prepare for what we have here," she said, adding that streets were fully pre-treated with salt and brine.

Posted by: RedCherokee | January 27, 2011 5:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking at the Post's weather page, which gives a current temperature of 34 degrees. But, the hourly temperatures forecast 30, 31, 32, and 33 degrees from 6am through 12pm. Is the hourly forecast not updated to reflect current conditions? My question is this - because it is 34 degrees, and because it will likely stay above freezing (safe assumption?) - how much melting should we expect?


Posted by: chrisduckworth | January 27, 2011 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Hmm - nearly all school systems and local gov'ts are closed, but the feds only have a 2 hour delay. Will be interesting to watch the traffic pile up between 7 and 10am, particularly with the frozen slush that's still on many roads.

I would bet some folks stay home, if only because of a little PTSD from last night's commute...

Posted by: matthew_lawlor | January 27, 2011 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Up early this morning and grateful to have power. Thanks for all your work, CWG--as far as my area of DC goes (Capitol Hill), you completely nailed the forecast.

Time soon to put out the ice melt.

Posted by: mensan98th | January 27, 2011 5:50 AM | Report abuse

In Montgomery Village waking up to heavy wet snow coverage everywhere. Looks to be at least 8 inches maybe a bit more. Will measure when I go out to shovel. As opposed to yesterday morning, the plows have been down our street but the roads still look a bit icy. No school for my kids today so we will try some sledding! Thanks CWG for all your hard work and dedication to informing us! You were completely on target with the forecast. The changeover from sleet to snow was impressively fast. We did lose power for a few hours but thank goodness, it came back on. I wish more people had paid attention to your forecast. At the height of the storm, some of my colleagues seemed completely unprepared. On the plus side, I introduced CWG to some new readers in the office who now have it bookmarked. Great Job!

Posted by: soleil2000 | January 27, 2011 6:06 AM | Report abuse

I think I'm on the same Pepco circuit as soleil2000, because we had the same basic power outages here in Laytonsville. Power went out so many times I gave up trying to log into those massive threads last night to make a report.

Due to spirited drifting, I have to average a bunch of measurements. Last night, during the storm, we averaged 8 inches. Brink Rd. is amazingly fine, all the way to pavement. Will send a revised total into the system once the coffee has kicked in. So glad to have power.

Shovel slowly folks!!! This stuff is heavy and wet.

Posted by: dprats21 | January 27, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

The power was still out in my neighborhood when I left at 4:20. I noticed that I had better traction (front wheel drive) after the freeze than the same roads last night. It helps that the ice was rough and uneven. Route 66 was ok except for icy patches around the Plains and a missing HOV lane in Centreville. They were slowly removing the abandoned cars, mostly off on the right shoulder.

Posted by: eric654 | January 27, 2011 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Traffic already piling up. Don't normally see more than a handful of cars during my commute which starts at 4:30 am. Today ran into full scale traffic jam. My 35 minute drive took an hour. Ironic part is that the better the road conditions, the slower the traffic was.

Agreee with soleil2000. Had about 8 inches in my part of MV as well. Tons of downed trees or tree branches and more are likely. Recommend avoiding walking under as many trees as possible.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | January 27, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Most important part of the article linked above "This reporter's take: There wasn't much to be done about the evening rush. By drive time, the snow was coming down too hard and too fast for plows to keep up, and roadways clogged with traffic prevented plows from getting through."

I don't know about DC, but Virginia had lots of prepositioned crews when I rode home yesterday from 1 to 2, well before the changeover. I don't think there's much you can do with a storm like this, pretreatment is completely useless because the rain just washes it off.

Posted by: eric654 | January 27, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Power on, Street plowed and part of the sidewalk shoveled this am. Since buses and Metro are running, I'm off to work.

Fun while it lasted.

Posted by: tardislady | January 27, 2011 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, CWG. Because of all your bold-font warnings about how quickly conditions would deteriorate, I left work extra-early and so didn't go through the traffic nightmare that others did.

Posted by: InVA1 | January 27, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

My list of blame - OMB can generally be counted on to fail. I lived here for years, I have the option to take time off but not everyone can - OPM FAIL. NWS worse forcasting I have seen - Sterling you blew it. Too little TOO late. TV "weather people" --except Topper-- you were WRONG and your forcasting mislead everyone. You should apologize and find new work. Sue Palka - I watch channel 5 normally but turned it off last night. You were IMPOSSIBLE to watch. Downplaying while people were stuck everywhere.

THANKS again to the fire, rescue and police folks dealing all night with accidents, downed trees and line. CWG, you are amazing. WONDERFUL job.

Posted by: Rjmw | January 27, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Sleep was hard to come by last night, all I could hear was power lines popping all around and tree limbs falling. Reminded me of the bad ice storm a few years back. Walter will have to chip into the crust to get any good material.

Posted by: tbva | January 27, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness for CWG, I'd rather have you be wrong about a bust of a forecast than underestimating to save face like a coward. Difference between what you and the anchors guys are the science behind the forecast while they are simply the personality on TV. This is what happens when people downplay the technical discussions and choose the blinking lights on television.

Posted by: tressoleilgoddess | January 27, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

You all do a great job but 1 comment re. an incorrect statement that I saw in a number of spots yesterday. It was said that because the snow was wet and heavy that it would disappear much more quickly than drier snow due to settling and compaction. Having lived in Rochester, NY (king of the 2-4 inch lake effect fluff snowfall), I can tell you that dry snow compacts much more than the wet snow often seen here. In Rochester, it was not uncommon to get 4" of fluffy, "sweepable" snow and then be able to see the grass 24-48 hours later even when it was below freezing the entire time due to compaction and sublimation. It makes sense, as the wet snow compacts as it hits so the initial accumulation is much less than with dry snow but it is already very dense so can't compact further, whereas dry snow is mostly air so readily compacts. I think that the reason last years snowpack lasted so long in spite of being fairly dry snow was the sheer volume and the fact that it stayed relatively cold.
Wet snow often does disappear much more quickly but this is due to melting as it is usually above freezing when it falls and it is continuously melting unless it can get real cold and "firm" it up. If it really hardens up then it will be around for a while.
As an aside, last years massive snows and yesterday's "thunder snow" blow away any snow storm that I saw in 15 years in Rochester. I will not belittle DC winters ever again.

Posted by: givemeabreak6 | January 27, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

If I had a 4X4 vehicle I could likely get out of my Centreville development.
But I don't, so I can't.
No sign of a plow yet; maybe this afternoon.
Feel so lucky that our power was uninterrupted.
Get your sunglasses ready for when that sun breaks out.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 27, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

10 inches in the bootheel of LoCo. .5 in the am and the rest in the Thump. Heavy and wet. I made sure to measure in increments of about 2-3 inches during the event knowing that we'd be getting some serious compacting. I havent melted my snow for equivalent yet, but wouldnt be shocked by less than 10:1.

Posted by: DullesARC | January 27, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Here in Baltimore City,we have 9" in our yard. Power went out at 6 last night and came back on around 2:30 a.m. Lots of stories of my neighbors stuck on their way home and abandoning their cars. Our school is closed due to the roads, but also all power and communication lines are down. So glad I can telework today.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Is there a place where we can see official snowfall reports for various parts of the metro region?

Posted by: batsandgates | January 27, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

CWG: Are you going to do a "Best of' CWG comments" post like this again this year?

That was so fun to read!


Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 27, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

LOL,after I posted last night the power blew out and a transformer exploded! Entire neighborhoods along Suitland Pkwy and off 295 were out for hours. Off Stanton and Howard Road looks like we have around 8 inches. The last snow wasn't as heavy and wet as the earlier stuff, so incredibly there was a little drifting! Different measurements of 5,7,and 10 (drift). Roads are plowed pretty good. Power was out until around 3:30 am. Getting mostly 8 inch measurements. And what's the deal with OPM? I don't get the thinking with a 2 hour delay.

Posted by: NewbreedSE | January 27, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

8" Snow on the sidewalk 9:30 last night in Falls Church. Don't think it got much, if any, below freezing as I could hear dripping water all over when I got up at 6 this morning, and the thermometer reported 32 degrees. It's a remote digital from LaCrosse bought at Beast Buy so I figure that's 32 +/- 2.

66W clear to Vienna, then snow/ice packed at least to 28. Lots of abandoned cars on the roads, too.

Thanks to the heads up from CWG I was on the way home from Chantilly at 2:45 and missed the worst of it. Home by 4.

Posted by: wiredog | January 27, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for being so on top of this. I am the only one in my office who left early and I made it home with no problems.

Now about that Tuesday storm...

Posted by: hereandnow1 | January 27, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Power was still off in my Annandale neighborhood when I left for work about 7:30. Lots of branches were down and lines hanging all over the place. I'm not hopeful that it will be back up by this evening... :(

Posted by: jimfergusonj | January 27, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

At least the interstates are in good shape this morning. That was one of the best commutes I've had!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 27, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@hereandnow1 Tuesday? That's nuthin'. Let's start talking about next Thursday...

(I realize models that far out are not worth even looking at, but I couldn't help myself)

Posted by: wappledoo | January 27, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I too want to thank CWG. Due to your reporting, I made the decision to work from home yesterday. I probably would have made it home in time, but it really saved me a lot of potential trouble.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse


We went skiing at liberty and were trying to beat the storm home. We got on the roads and thought 270 would be fine but when we got there it was miserable. It took us 5 hours when it usually takes us 1 1/2 hours. we didnt even make it home. we ended up pulling off the road and staying in a hotel. We were the last room booked in the hotel. on 270 there were trucks flipped over, plows stuck in ditches, and cars spinning out everywhere. People were walking down 270 covered in snow. We got to the hotel and there was no food to eat there so we ate food from the vending machine for dinner. It was a great time!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 27, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Dear CWG,
I just wanted to let you know that you're awesome. I have never seen as full and accurate forecasts as you guys regularly provide. Also, I have learned so much about weather from your detailed but accessible explanations. You did a fantastic job with this storm! Thanks CWG!

Posted by: Anonymous123451 | January 27, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

What a great night.Got home around 4:30,built a beautiful fire in the fireplace,drove out around six for Chinese take-out,watched payperview movie while watching the snow fall.
Thanks CWG for the heads up.

Posted by: mikeyva44 | January 27, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

All of you should be bought a round of drinks. Not only were you spot on (as usual), a lot of my friends and colleagues don't even pay attention to the broadcast forecast anymore when it comes to snow. They come to me, I turn to you. Kudos.

Posted by: AdmiralX | January 27, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

The tree removal businesses will make a killing from this storm.
I'll bet there's a week's worth of cleanup work in my neighborhood alone.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 27, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey snow lovers! Almost half a million people without power and thousands of commuters stranded for hours and hours.

Great fun huh???!!

Posted by: mhardy1 | January 27, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Nice one CWG.

Took a walk last night about 2230 and noted a low cloud deck moving at high speed southbound, much like what we see when cyclones pass us to the east.

Also saw scattered lightning, not strokes, more like bursts in the sky. These were not transformers, which we also saw; these bursts were up in the cloud deck. Does lightning do that?

Neighbor needed 6 hours to drive from Herndon to Fairfax. Of course, she is not a CWG reader, and we knew, having read CWG on Tuesday, how terrible Wednesday driving was going to be, and stayed home.

What a really interesting storm! This more than makes up for 12/26, and you guys called it all the way.

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 27, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It's not snow lovers' fault that the thousands of stranded commuters dismissed a week of dire forecasts with "it aint gonna snow."

One would think after last year they'd have learned something.

Posted by: AdmiralX | January 27, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I have never seen so many abandoned vehicles...even in last years blizzards there weren't this many. Roads significantly improved going from Fairfax County to Prince William County this morning.

NWS really blew this in my opinion...and I thought Sterling was a rather liberal NWS station in terms of forecasting storms. CWG is clearly the most reliable and scientific weather source in the region.

Posted by: rocotten | January 27, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Is it really the best thing for people to be going back to work today? Power outages, abandoned cars...roads that need to be plowed because they were not at all last night due to gridlock...

Shouldnt we respect the crews, and give them space to get the job done? Major fail for DC...people in power should learn that it's better to be safe then sorry. All gov and company employees should of been encourages to leave starting at 11 a.m in anticipation of a BLIZZARD from 4-8 p.m

Posted by: SA-Town | January 27, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, 2 things:

1. Fed FAIL. Why did OPM only gave out a 2 hour delay is headscratch inducing. I was the only one in the office. Most of the people won't bother and get leave anyways.

2. Great job CWG. My wife was insisting that we stay longer, but we got out of DC by 2:30PM. Very relaxing commute home, no issues. She was surprised by how fast conditions deteriorated. Heard from a friend that got stuck in rt 50, my wife thanked me that we made it home early. You have a loyal reader here.

Posted by: MaxPowerDJ | January 27, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@mhardy1 (Hey snow lovers! Almost half a million people without power and thousands of commuters stranded for hours and hours. Great fun huh???!!)

I wouldn't say great fun, and I wouldn't disregard those without power (we were among those last night), but the storm is what it is, and our loving or hating the snow isn't going to change any of that. Local governments will (should) learn from their response here and see what can be done to improve for next time.

However, I gotta say, this one was forecast to have a several-hour intense snowfall at rush-hour, and that is exactly what happened. I knew about it, from having followed this blog, and I stayed home. Others were not so fortunate and sallied forth regardless. Shame for them, and I hope no one got hurt out there in it.

But snow comes every so often, and when it does, humanity has to stop and submit to a higher power. Wednesday was just such a day.

Posted by: ennepe68 | January 27, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Good work CWG! As usual, you all were the first and most accurate forecast.

Power still out (since 8:30 last night) in our part of Falls Church. No plows yet. I left for work (in Alex) around 8:00 am and commute was okay - 40 min or so. Definitely beat the onslaught.

Posted by: Bworl | January 27, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ditto what AdmiralX said.

Posted by: parksndc | January 27, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

NWS should have issued the local warnings earlier.
Can't help but think that that was a contributing factor to the "to little, too late" OPM storm response.
Re-read Jason's 9:40AM post from yesterday.
The information was ALL THERE.
Thank goodness I was able to leave work at 3:00. Commute was tough on 66 eastbound (averaging about 25MPH in sleet/snowstorm conditions) but nothing like what was happening on the other side. That was gridlocked for miles & miles.
CWG - you have a few new fans now at where I work.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 27, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Lucky for some folks they were able to leave two hours early. My son's company told them they had to stay till 6 (end of business) to continue taking calls (money). It took him 3 hours to go 7 miles. Cars abandoned on Dulles Toll Road. Idiots in Hummers and SUV's speeding past. So not everyone has the option to leave...Leave=fired? How do you fight that especially in today's economy. AND he is back there this a.m.

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | January 27, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Worldtraveller83- agree. CWG forecast spot on. But the rich getting richer and treating employees like dispisable goods means people who make prudent decisions and leave will lose their jobs. As a society have really become that callous and heartless in chasing the almighty dollar? I left at 2pm for my own safety. Got called a slacker and looked down on by those in charge. Fortunately I'm a govvie and while they can choose to never pay me more they can't fire me. Others are big so lucky.

Posted by: biketraveller22 | January 27, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

CWG - Thanks to your skillful forecast and excellent communication of such, I was able to plan accordingly ahead of time for this storm. Groceries for my family and for my parents were taken care of Tuesday. I was even able to convince my husband and his car pool buddy to leave work early by emailing your updates. His normally long commute went smoothly and he walked through the door 15 minutes before the sleet fell here in Gainesville. Thank you again!
I feel very badly for those who were stuck on the road and whose friends and families were put under such risk and stress.

Posted by: holly6 | January 27, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse


Unfortunately the hourly forecast you're referring to is just updated a few times a day, so it may not always reflect reality. Temps are running a little higher than forecast.


You're absolutely right about the comment you're referring to. It was a mistake by one of our contributors... Thanks for setting the record straight. Indeed- the higher the water content, the more energy required for the snow to melt.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 27, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

ummmm, where's the common sense? it's not like the storm appeared out of nowhere and buried you. why didn't you pack a bag and plan on staying late or overnight? or why didn't you burn a vacation day and just stay home?

@BobMiller2 thanks for the link. it's circulating in CT now. north of new haven woke up to an add'l 18" today. they need the laugh.

Posted by: shadow_is_lost | January 27, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Worldtraveller83 and Biketraveller22 - on another thread, someone complained about people asking for advice about when to leave their offices and asked if any of them could think for themselves. My response was that everyone posting had read CWG and knew that they should leave work, but that the requests in part reflected an uneasiness with leaving work. Our society puts great value on work and sticking it out no matter what. That is why people come to work when they clearly are sick or the roads are bad. Especially when it was just raining, I'm sure lots of people got grief for leaving, or knew that their employers and coworkers thought they were wimps. Sad, but true. I currently work in job that is very flexible about this sort of thing, so I had no trouble, but in my previous career it would not have gone over well if I had announced at 2:30 or 3 that I was heading home to beat the storm.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps for some companies leaving early works but for the small businesses that have management that clearly only thinks of the bottom line one is stuck. Sure, pack a bag and sleep where? On the floor of the dirty office? Go to a hotel when you are making slightly above minimum wage? Take a vacation day for three hours? Sure, armchair quarterbacking is easy but when you are the low man on the pole, and you need this job to pay the mortgage and bills, you are at the mercy of management. Not everyone has it easy.

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | January 27, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm liking the coastal storm the GFS has on 2/2 - 2/3. Let's hope it stays consistent with it!

Posted by: bdeco | January 27, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Worldtravler83 - it's not even the small companies. I worked in a law firm, and leaving early would not have gone over well. There was one storm, however, where some of the partners in our department went home before a storm (although they continued to work), but support staff was not allowed to leave. What made it even worse was that most of the partners lived within a few miles of the firm, but a lot of the staff lived farther away, so would have a longer commute.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Worldtravler83 - it's not just the small companies. I worked in a law firm, and leaving early would not have gone over well. There was one storm, however, where some of the partners in our department went home early (although they continued to work), but support staff was not allowed to leave. What made it even worse was that most of the partners lived within a few miles of the firm, but a lot of the staff lived farther away, so would have a longer commute.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Worldtravler83 - it's not just the small companies. I worked in a law firm, and leaving early would not have gone over well. There was one storm, however, where some of the partners in our department went home early (although they continued to work), but support staff was not allowed to leave. What made it even worse was that most of the partners lived within a few miles of the firm, but a lot of the staff lived farther away, so would have a longer commute.

Posted by: weatherwatcher1 | January 27, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@ CWG, what are the chances of lots of this snow melting and refreezing over night into the Morning commute?

Posted by: RJ16 | January 27, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping for a foot+ snow next week!

Posted by: refresh123 | January 27, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

You don't get much better snowman-building snow than we got last night. Wet, heavy, and packable. I'd much rather be sledding than in the office today. Unfortunately for that dream, the MoCo and City of Gaithersburg plow crews did a really impressive job last night getting the area back in order. By 10 PM our road was almost clear, and we had no trouble getting our non-4-wheel-drive vehicle to the Metro this morning. Thanks to all who made it possible for us to get to work on time and in good health.

Thanks also to CWG for encouraging us to leave early if possible. We followed the advice and managed to get home just after the snow had started falling. From the number of stranded cars on 370 this morning, it looks as though a number of people either didn't have the option to get out early or didn't take it. Here's hoping they made it home safe and sound.

Hope the neighborhood kids are enjoying the snow! The park was gorgeous this morning, and I wonder which lucky soul got to tromp through it first...

Posted by: kickabout | January 27, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I want to chime in to thank CWG too: your forecasts are the only ones I pay attention to after last year's blizzards! I got to pick my infant daughter up from daycare just in time yesterday due to your coverage; when I left, it was drizzling and I thought I'd jumped the gun. But knowing the storm was fast moving and fast changing, I left anyway, and was in the thick of the thundersleet event by the time we got home. So thankful I didn't wait a moment longer!

Posted by: neeky26 | January 27, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CWG for your excellent reporting! I advised my fiance to get out of DC by 2:00, he was home at 2:30. People in his office were giving him so much grief for leaving early...sure they were the ones stuck on GW Parkway and 66.

Posted by: lucyaf | January 27, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mikeyva44 | January 27, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

You are correct that it's not necessarily small companies, it may be large ones, white collar or blue. It boils down to some people just dont get it. Whether it's management that just is thinking about missed revenue or people who say you were warned, until it happens to them they just don't care. Not everyone is fortunate to have an understanding boss or the financial resources to risk losing a job by walking out. Some people are stuck between a rock and a hard place but those that aren't should be more considerate to the less fortunate.

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | January 27, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If you're in the service industry it's a tough call.

I also wanna thank & give mucho kudos to the CWG group & posters here.

Thanks to everyone here I convinced the hubby to leave DC at 2PM instead of 3:30PM (which would've been 2 hours before his normal quitting time). He made it home in the usual hour +15 minutes it usually takes, juuuuust as it was all hitting the fan at home, literally 10 seconds after my only thundersnow experience of one lighting flash & one thunderclap.

Posted by: wadejg | January 27, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Once again, all great comments being posted today and good reflections. Last night as I awaited at a Georgetown bar with others until the gridlock and bad weather passed, a number of us made some interesting comments. One of them is why doesn't the Federal Govt employ a STAGGERED LEAVE policy on days like yesterday rather than saying everyone can leave at 4 pm which cause the overcrowding on roads, buses and trains. How about the Federal Govt divide depts, agencies or employees into tiers or sections and then say Tier 1 employees leave at 2 pm , Tier 2 leave at 3 pm...etc. I think this would help a lot.after all Fed Govt is the biggest employer in DC ))

Posted by: GtownG | January 27, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

How about a schoolcast for tomorrow...specifically, will the refreeze be hard enough to get the delay?

Posted by: ArlTeacherSnowman | January 27, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Very nice work ladies and gents. I've started religiously following your forecasts, and you are definitely spot on. Now, please, forecast about 16 inches of fluffy white stuff for next week! That'll be enough for me this year... Thanks again.

Posted by: warchyldreborn | January 27, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sun is just not performing as hoped for. Darn it.
More overcast now in Centreville than early this morning. Not a lot of melting as temps have hardly budged in 24 hours....continuing to hang JUST above freezing.
There will be much re-freezing tonight. I think it's a good call to close FCPS tomorrow.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 27, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I must have a sickness, because despite the hassle this snow has caused me (loss of power, an hour shoveling and scraping my car, etc.), I'm still hoping this verifies:


Posted by: wappledoo | January 27, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

FCPS just closed for tomorrow!!! This is a SEVEN-DAY WEEKEND!!!

Posted by: tombeek31 | January 27, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

can we get a little chatter about next mon-wed potential? hmm, little to soon?

Posted by: rodeojenkins | January 27, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

First, like so many others, thank you CWG--you all are the BEST!

Second-- spread some Post-Snow Etiquette. People pick up a broom and clear the tops of your cars, none of us need sheets of ice flipping through the air at us. Living in Ashburn I am shocked at all the neighbors who leave the tops of their vehicles completely untouched.

Posted by: love4all1 | January 27, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

First, like so many others, thank you CWG--you all are the BEST!

Second-- spread some Post-Snow Etiquette. People pick up a broom and clear the tops of your cars, none of us need sheets of ice flipping through the air at us. Living in Ashburn I am shocked at all the neighbors who leave the tops of their vehicles completely untouched.

Posted by: love4all1 | January 27, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Can CWG devote a blog to some technical background (words..diagrams...etc) as to what is meant by low pressure "exploding?"


Posted by: MrTim2003 | January 27, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea how long it takes a power company to replace/fix a snapped utility pole? There's one on the side street near my place that took out power to our entire complex, and probably all those nearby... I have a bad feeling it'll be awhile.

Posted by: Krista_L | January 27, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

A repeat next week? Snow-ja vu.

Posted by: kbockl | January 27, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Just a correction (not to defend OPM, but...). Feds were allowed to leave 2 hours before their scheduled departure time. So their departures should have staggered just as much as on a regular day. The problem wasn't OPM but Mother Nature. She refused to show her "I really am going to mess things up" hand until after 3:00 when the rain started to switch over to sleet. So, maybe some hard-working Feds didn't leave since it didn't look too bad AND once it hit 3:30/4:00, even half as many cars on the road would have led to gridlock. It only took a few cars spinning out and blocking 66, 270, the Toll Road, the GW Pkwy and the bridges to stop everyone in their tracks.

Looks like the problem wasn't OPM, it was that, because of the lack of evidence of a coming storm and the misleading forecasts and notices, people didn't actually believe there was going to be a bad-a** storm.

Hope everyone gets power soon! Be safe... Time to start watching out for the next thump.

Posted by: monroviawthr | January 27, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

can we get a little chatter about next mon-wed potential? hmm, little to soon?

Posted by: rodeojenkins | January 27, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse


OPM tells people to go home two hours early, not to go home at 1600. Early release is already staggered by the normal distribution of schedules. If you work 0930-1800, you leave at 1600. If you work 0700-1530, you leave at 1330.

Posted by: mason08 | January 27, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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