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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 01/23/2011

Latest on the Tues night-Wed storm threat

By Wes Junker

11:15 p.m. Update: The one thing we can say with increasing confidence is that if there is a storm this week, it should hold off until at least Tuesday night, possibly not arriving until Wednesday. Beyond that, a review of this evening's model data continues to present more questions than answers when it comes to storm track, precipitation type and how much.

While midday models trended toward a more easterly track that might raise the chances for snow but also raise the chances for just a glancing blow or a total miss, this evening's data has come back to the west. The end result looks much the same as it did this morning - the potential for some snow, rain, wintry mix or all of the above (better odds for snow or wintry mix the further north and west from town, better odds for rain the further south and east).

It still appears this storm would have to take an almost perfect track to produce a major snow across the entire metro area. Check back for more coverage tomorrow. -Dan Stillman

From earlier...

A major winter coastal storm is likely to impact much of the mid-Atlantic primarily on Wednesday. But the exact nature of the precipitation for the D.C. area - and how much - continues to be a huge question mark. We can't rule out a big snowstorm here, but the odds favor a storm with both rain and snow in the city and to the east while those to the west stand a greater shot at seeing more or maybe all snow.

Next accumulating snow chance: Tuesday Night-Wednesday
Probability of more than 1" of snow: 40%
Probability of more than 4": 10-20%

A couple key points to keep in mind...

*Thread the needle: For the D.C. area to get mostly or all snow, this coastal storm would likely have to take the perfect track (a.k.a., thread the needle) - far enough east that we experience cold winds from the north/northeast circulating around the west side of the storm's low-pressure center, but not so far east that the storm's precipitation misses us wide right.

*Timing: What once looked like it could be a Tuesday or even late Monday/Tuesday storm now appears more likely to be primarily a Wednesday storm. It's actually not unusual for storms that show up on the models several days to a week ahead of time to be off by a day or so. What the delay does mean, though, is that the cold air in place as we speak now has more time to weaken before the storm gets here.

Keep reading for a technical discussion...

TECHNICAL DISCUSSION

Today the models appear to be approaching a consensus. Last night they continued to exhibit considerable run to run variability, indicating there was still a lot of uncertainty about the exact track and the amount and type of precipitation to expect.

After several recent gyrations, both the Global Forecast System (GFS) and North American Mesoscale Model (NAM) now have solutions that bring the surface low off the southeast coast and then northward to just off the Virginia Cape, a track in line with recent runs of the European model.

However, despite the track, last night and today's European was too warm at the low levels to support much snow. All three models now have a track that promises to spread precipitation into the region. The big problem is that there is no real consensus for whether the bulk of the precipitation will be snow, rain to snow, or mostly rain. All three options are still on the table.

A closer look at the most recent NAM and GFS model forecasts from this morning help illustrate just how dicey the precipitation type forecast is for this storm. The 84 hour surface and 500 mb (18,000 ft) height and vorticity (atmospheric spin) for the NAM (top panels) and GFS (bottom panels) are shown below. The blue line on the NAM surface image is the freezing line at 5,000 ft. The blue line on the GFS is the freezing line at the surface.


Today's midday (12z) NAM (top) and GFS (bottom) forecasts valid at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The first thing to note is, despite a favorable track to hold cold air across the region that the temperatures being forecast by all the models are marginal. The NAM predicts above freezing temperatures at the surface Wednesday afternoon into the evening and has the warm layer extending to around 4,000 ft. Even at 84 hrs it has the 850 mb temperature at National Airport (DCA) near freezing. That's not good news for snow lovers.

The GFS, by contrast, has surface temperatures of around 35F at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, but because the air is so dry the temperatures drop to below freezing by 7 p.m. as the heavier precipitation falls and evaporational cooling ensues. It also has a slightly more eastward track compared to the NAM and you can see on the GFS surface forecast that the low level winds turn to northerly as the low deepens off the coast. This wind switch also helps pull in some colder air. It's a colder but drier run than the NAM.

Both models are now suggesting that the precipitation would be mostly snow west of the Beltway, especially out towards Sterling and Leesburg but the models differ on how much precipitation will fall, with the NAM yielding around .50" at National Airport and the GFS predicting around 0.30" (around 2 or 3 inches of sloppy wet snow).

East of I-95 the picture isn't as clear. Only about 40 percent of the Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) ensemble members are predicting that the surface temperature will be below freezing at 7 p.m. Wednesday. That makes any call for accumulating snows for places east of D.C. a guess. However, with the low pulling away, a brief period of some snow currently seems likely on the back side of the low even for places east of D.C. providing the track ends up somewhere between that of the GFS and NAM. Such a track is suggested by the bulk of the SREF ensemble members.


Today's midday (12z) NAM sounding valid at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. See a larger version of this image.

The NAM sounding valid at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon (see right) at DCA illustrates how much we have to thread the needle to get an all snow event. If you look at the bottom of the figure you'll see numbers starting at -30C on the left and progressing to 0C towards the middle of the figure. If you follow the slanted line that extends from the 0C towards another lighter 0C on the right hand side of the figure, that line indicates where the temperature is freezing or below.

Now look at the darker red and green line on the figure and note how the red line bulges just to the right of our freezing line just above the surface. That indicates a warm layer. Even where the temperature line is not warmer than freezing it is very close to freezing to almost 700 mb (10,000 ft). Any small changes in the track or even intensity of the lifting could change the temperatures and allow them to end up warmer than forecast. By contrast, a slightly more eastward track like shown on the GFS would probably result in colder temperatures but less precipitation. For this storm, the rain-snow line is even trickier than normal.

IN CLOSING...

Some precipitation now appears likely on Wednesday and it looks like D.C. is right on the rain/snow line making any precipitation type call problematic. The 12Z European model (just out) predicts a rain storm for the city and the GFS shows a snowstorm.

However, the precipitation is liable to start as rain or sleet at the onset and then it may transition to snow especially west and north of the city. East of the city, the picture isn't as clear as much still depends on the track of the low and the precipitation that wraps around the north side of the upper low.

The atmosphere will probably be cooling as that feature shifts eastward to out south and east. However, the temperatures in the lowest 5000 feet are hugging the freezing line so any small changes in the track could lead to a mostly or all rain event rather than a snow event.

Snow lovers still need the surface low and 500 mb low track to thread the needle to get a mostly snow event. The GFS and NAM are close to a solution that threads the needle if correct. However, only very small changes in the track and development of the storm could lead to a rainier solution with a more westward track or a drier solution with a more eastward one.

I hate to equivocate so much but think in this case it's warranted.

Dan Stillman and Ian Livingston contributed to this post.

By Wes Junker  | January 23, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Snow Lover's Crystal Ball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Cold keeps a tight grip
Next: Forecast: Cold, but warming before Wed. storm

Comments

I am in the western suburbs and I think this is looking good for me. I think it will start out as sleet or mix and then quickly change over to snow.

Thanks Wes!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks once again for the analysis. Good stuff there.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 23, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I love the SLCB.
Once again crazy uncertainty until the bitter wet end.
Precipitation coming in! Yay!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 23, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on the JMA Wes? From your post, it sounds like all the models would at least support fairly significant snow here in Carroll County on Wednesday?

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 23, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Soo basically, it could rain or snow and we have no clue how much precipitation we could get. Sounds like a pretty good forecast to me! (sarcasm)

@Wes Junker

It is going to be an all snow event for D.C. Just thought I'd let you know.

Thanks

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 23, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@ SNOWLUVER R U ready for mid-week winter weather madness? Shovel is ready!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 23, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

DLO1975,

The JMA has a pretty odd solution- it has decent moisture accumulating through 72 hours, but says the temp at 72 hours is above freezing. Between 72 and 96 it shows COPIOUS moisture, but has the temperature well below freezing. What I can't figure out from the model output is WHEN during that 24 hour period between 72 and 96 the temperature drops below freezing and the majority of the moisture hits.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 23, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

DLO1975, the JMA has a really warm look with a track much farther west than the other operational models except maybe the ggem. It's not a model I look at that much as I don't think it as accurate as the Euro, ukmet or GFS in the longer range and at the shorter would prefer the nam,sref and rgem.

I'm not sure the euro has you in a major snowstorm, een in Carol County its temperatures are a little warm. However, it does have a warm bias at the low levels.

Posted by: wjunker | January 23, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@FIREDRAGON


YEAAAAA. GET THE SNOWBLOWERS FIRED UP!!!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 23, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

snowluver I luv you can we get married! YAY FOR ALL SNOW IN NOVA!!!!!!!!

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Any outcome which leaves us dry Tuesday evening is fine with me--though I generally have a trip to Ballston on Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 23, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The JMA model does show a lot of precip, but as Wes mentioned, it would be too warm. I think the NAM would be the best outcome for snow lovers as long as it shifts a bit more to the west...

The Canadian is pretty heavy on the precip, but would be mostly rain.

And finally, I'm not buying the GFS's out to sea scenario.

Quite frankly, none of the models have come into agreement. Hopefully they will tomorrow.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

While we await for the next turkey (or snow goose), anyone recall the last time we had a good snow during the State of Union address?

Last one I remember was Jan. 20, 1978, the beginning of a one/two whallop that wasted central NJ-->Boston. We officially had about 6" in DC (and of course more elsewhere) and it was definitely snowing during Jimmy Carter's SOTU speech.

Alas, the second big east coast storm that year, on Feb. 5-7, veered just east of here. About 1" at DCA, 9" at 14" BWI, 18" in Easton MD and an epic 38" in Providence. (Walter, I don't keep all these figures in my head; there's a great book, "Northeast Snowstorms, Vol. II", that has a lot of information.)

Re: last night's night discussion of surprise snowstorms, the March 9, 1999 storm would probably qualify. That one dumped as much as 11" in the DC area. Some snow was predicted but not that much.

Hoping for white stuff on Tues-Wed, but today rooting for all green, Packers/Jets.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

teebyrd86,

Wow, this is the first time I've seen a marriage proposal on this website...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

We recently moved here from Little Rock and I don't know the area well at all, so I apologize in advance if I ask any stupid questions...

What does all this mean for Manassas? I'm mostly wondering because the Weather Channel forecast has changed to all rain.

Posted by: Dovienya1 | January 23, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Bastardi just posted an updated Big Dog. he did a consensus of all the models and put the mix line in the big cities as most others are. Calling for several inches of snow in the big cities with a mixed bag and a lot more N/W of the cities. Going to be very close. Sounds like there won't be any precip until Wednesday, so tomorrow night's models will be important.

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 23, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Hoping for a lot of the white stuff and that 10%-20%!!!

Also rooting for DA BEARS!!!

Posted by: cubscapsfan | January 23, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@teebyrd86

I go between DT's forecast and here - all others I eschew! :)

Posted by: Lively | January 23, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Lively I agree.. his map makes perfect sense based on all I see.

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Dovienya1, Manassas is right on the rain snow line so you can't say much definitely yet about what will happen except that there will be precipitation

Posted by: wjunker | January 23, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, at this point I'd say were in a pretty good spot. I'll take it.

Posted by: dannythe357 | January 23, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

As I am getting my kitchen redone this week, including tile flooring - I'm sure it's safe to say we won't be getting just rain. That would be too easy and convenient for me and the workers.

However, I am glad that the bulk of the precip appears to happen on Weds. Not much construction going on that day according to the installer's schedule.

Well, it is what it is. And as usual, everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything about it.

Posted by: bobosnow | January 23, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@teebyrd86

I would love to marry you! Lets get married Wednesday in the 10 inches of SNOW!!!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 23, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

yours truly is gonna give you his forecast, here its is: Rain! with possible mixing at the end. No accumulations. Foreast is for DC metro east side, inside the beltway. Im making this forecast based on 2 things: 1. Wishcasting :) 2. This winters trend!

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

snowluver sounds great.. even tho im pretty sure its not legal for us to get married (if my guessing is correct) : ) Heres to lots and lots of snow!!!!!!!

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse


CWG:
Could you say that for now, IAD looks more like snow, and less like rain, or did I misread the forecast?

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 23, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"wishcasting"

I like that.

I am wishcasting for a good, soaking rain -- followed up immediately by some days in the 50s.

And then the miracle of an early Spring.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | January 23, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

snowdreamer I think IAD is on the line :( I hope its on the snow side!!!!!

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If we south & easters get screwed out of snow yet again, as it is beginning to look like we will be, we will still expect to see all of you north & wester's at work on
Wednesday and Thursday...and bring a shovel of snow with you!

Posted by: ftwash | January 23, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

For NW Loudoun:

"Wednesday: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 36. Chance of precipitation is 60%."

From weather.gov/NWS

Posted by: celt1 | January 23, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

And just as they start to agree on a solution...the 18Z NAM gives the area a complete miss and shifts the track hundreds of miles east! Didn't see that coming.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 23, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The 18Z nam shifted the low out to sea and much weaker than any of the other models. It would be a complete miss agin attesting to how though this pattern is fro the models to resolve.

Posted by: wjunker | January 23, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

SnowDreamer, I'd say IAD is still up in the air but maybe less so than than DCA as most models are colder to the west, but even there it could be close to being warm enough. Heck the new NAM looks warm and precip-free.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Ugh! The NAM! #%$&%$%

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 23, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Just to let everyone know, my new favorite local TV met Doug Kammerer just said on facebook this is a mostly rain event for our area. So my Wishcast is catching on with the pros ;)

Snow snow stay away come again a couple days before the warmth of spring starts :)

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I knew that I should've bought those wellies (aka rain boots) this weekend *sigh* Still hoping for mega-snow however.

Posted by: kygurl94 | January 23, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

F the NAM

Posted by: SNOWLOVER1994FOURLIFE | January 23, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Also for what its worth, HM from accuwx has the DC area very close to the possible snow line on his blog.

http://vortex.accuweather.com/adc2004/pub/includes/columns/margusity/2011/590x443_01231946_severe1.png

Although accuwx itself has a map with the snow line much farther north.

http://vortex.accuweather.com/adc2004/pub/includes/columns/newsstory/2011/400x266_01232006_eaststorm123.jpg

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It is but a curse to be a slow lover in Metro DC this Winter. Taunted and teased by the prospect of snow, only to have the 'wishcast' be just that...a wish =(

Posted by: lisajulia | January 23, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, why can't the colors in Henry's legend ever match his map? I think he does it on purpose now after how much grief he gets for it.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 23, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

So when would this start?

Wed am? Wed evening?

Posted by: Post43 | January 23, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

CWG

Whats going on with these models, earlier today the GFS has a run go OTS then came back with a hit. The Nam has had hits and now shows OTS. I understand the models are having trouble with this but would could possibly cause this big a shift one run to the next?...

The OTS run of the GFS today and the NAM are more in common with the trend of most storms like these this winter thus far. What do you guys think this will lead to?... A hit or the OTS solution?

Models have really become pointless this season LOL, but seriously, im wondering if the models wont have a grasp on this until sometime tuesday :0

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if the OTS scenario mean a miss for Philly/NYC too? As someone who moved to DC from Philly, I'm getting awfully tired of DC getting .5-1 inches and Philly getting 5-10+ inches.

Posted by: jms12 | January 23, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@jms12

You must have moved after the winter of 2009-10 because we led the nation in snowfall that winter, except for parts of Alaska.

I hope we get some pleasant surprises and a few huge storms this winter.

Posted by: celt1 | January 23, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

kygurl94, bought mine in the fall, have worn them exactly once so far, so believe me, it's not you!!!

Maybe we'll have a somewhat rainy spring to get some wear out of them.

Just got back from an hour walk, and yes, that wind is sure biting. Would otherwise be pleasant out but for the wind.

Posted by: bobosnow | January 23, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

GFS 18Z looks exactly the same as 12Z for Wenesday morning at midnight.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 23, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think it's awesome how we all know a heckuva lot more about the NAM, GFS, Euro and other forecasting models than we did 6 weeks ago.

Posted by: maymay1 | January 23, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

GFS has roughly same storm track, just a much smaller precipitation shield.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 23, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Post43, the EURO brings precip in after midnight and before dawn Wed. The American models are slower (well, the earlier runs that gave us precip!), more like midday thru evening.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course, of course! The GFS went out to sea again. Surprise surprise. CWG, I thought you said yesterday not to pay attention to the GFS because it has some sort of error. Is that still the case or have they fixed it? I can tell that it's either going to be a massive rainstorm or a complete miss with 0.00" of ANY precip. I predict ABSOLUTELY NO SNOW WHATSOEVER. Sigh. We all saw this coming, though. After all, this IS the winter of 2010-2011, isn't it?

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

4seamed, the GFS is a hair east at least especially with the 500mb low. Precip did seem to be cut back a good deal on the western edge though as well.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wait everyone! There's still hope.

Here's what the NWS forecast discussion says:

"IT IS LOOKING LESS LIKELY THAT THE STORM TRACKS
WEST OF THE AREA...AND LESS LIKELY THAT IT TRACKS OUT TO SEA AND
MISSES THE REGION ENTIRELY."

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

jms12, an OTS scenario would probably favor Philly not doing so well. Verbatim on the GFS they get maybe a dusting. Once you get northeast toward southern new england it's easier to still get in on the action if the low devlops faster but pretty much everyone gets very little snow this run.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Unless something changes over the next 48-60 hrs this will b another nonsnow storm. Just not in the cards for much if any snow at this point.
No wind 2morrow so it's off 2 the 301 Bridge to striper fish.
Go Steelers, 30 min 2 kickoff.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 23, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

ABP = anyone but Pittsburgh

Posted by: bdeco | January 23, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

CWG

You guys gonna take a stab at a prediction about what may happen at some point, maybe tomorrow?... Mainly if we will get measurable snow and/or ice?...

Really wanting to know what you guys think is likely to happen even with the craziness of the models.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Out to friggin Sea? Are you kidding me? We can't even get a rainstorm in this piece. If the Euro hadn't been so godforsakenly awful this year I'd have some faith in this storm but with the NAM siding with the GFS I'm extremely pessimistic about much of anything at this point. Hopefully we can rally some late game magic...

BobMiller2, I think that NWS forecast was made before the latest NAM and GFS runs but I can't be sure. If they are going with the ensembles that's just not wise in my opinion, unless there truly is an issue with the functionality of the GFS. This year the storms have fallen in one of the major "camps," not really meeting any of the operationals halfway.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 23, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@KRUZ

We'll try to narrow things down a bit tomorrow. We should be in close enough range to at least give our big picture best bet even if we can't fine tune.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

When does it start?
Snow or rain?
How much?
When does it end?

Are there any brave/crazy mets or mets-in-training ready to make prognostications on our Wed. winter wetness? From reading the chatter it seems those invaluable computer models are all over the possibility chart.


Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 23, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Dear CWG,

Please answer this question. How much snow will the ski resorts get at liberty and whitetail. They are near md/pa border in the west. Just wondering because im trying to snowboard some powder Wednesday. And is the snow there going to be a wet heavy snow or light powder?

Thanks

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | January 23, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's a good night to stay inside and watch some football!

BTW, steelers are winning 7 - 0!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

ALL-
How accurate has the NAM been this winter????

We are in need of rain. This would be so disappointing.

Posted by: moo1 | January 23, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Time 2 put the hopes 4 a snow storm 2 bed. First off the cold air will be gone on Tues. The H 2 the N will have moved off the coast pumping in warm air, & temps will b above freezing on Wed., so any prec. that falls will b rain.
At this point the storm track won't make much difference. At least it looks like we won't deal with freezing rain. Better luck with the next storm.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 23, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

NWS gives shenandoah valley a 40% chance of 4+ and 10% shot at over 8in. Looks like maybe we're not gonna miss out over here in the far west this time!

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/wwd/day3_composite.gif

Posted by: vtjudyz | January 23, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

VATECH BOB

So the chance for any snow around the DC area is totally NIL now? No chance what so ever?

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 23, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Rain + a Steelers win = a piss poor week.

Posted by: bdeco | January 23, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Every time there's a lot of web-chatter about a storm...the crazies show up on this blog. It's really annoying. I don't mind snow lovers, but SNOWLUVER kinds of people are really annoying.

Gang - is it abnormal to have two consistent patterns like we've seen over the past two winter (although different patterns). I don't remember storm after storm doing very similar things each time like we've been seeing this winter and we saw last winter. Is this normal? Or, is something else in play?

Posted by: parksndc | January 23, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The Jan-Feb 2011 issue of Weatherwise (the 2009-2010 Snow Report issue) is out and last winter DCA was surpassed by Philly, Buffalo, Des Moines, Duluth, Charleston, WV and Sioux Falls, SD. Even If you use IAD numbers, Cheyenne, Burlington, VT, Anchorage, Rochester, Philly and of course BWI had more snow.

IAD isn't even mentioned in the eight-page spread (and BWI's seasonal total is missing). So this is at best an incomplete, and at worst distorted, depiction of last winter's snow regional totals. (They do at least mention BWI had 50" of snow last Feb.)

Nice pic of Woodley Park in the Dec. 2009 but their photographers can't hold a candle to CWG's photographers, e.g., those dramatic photos taken in Cleveland Park on Feb. 10, 2010.

Meanwhile, Atlanta has thus far had more snow this winter than DCA, IAD, or BWI. Pathetic. Like the Jets during the first half today.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

danog 224 - what could possibly make you think that your comment is anything close to appropriate? folks like va tech bob have been around this site for a very long time, and I for one always appreciate his commentary.

Posted by: novajeffc | January 23, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

@parksndc

Agree with your first paragraph there at 8:23. Some - no, a lot! - of the comments today have just been downright annoying, and then there's the meanie at 8:22 PM going after one of the regular commenters here.

Posted by: natsncats | January 23, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Snowluver, I wouldn't put much faith in having a fresh foot of powder, but it's the east coast, we ski on ice.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

@parksndc I feel the same way. Who are all of these people?!

Posted by: HokieTerp | January 23, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

@danog I totally agree. It's hard to take anything he says seriously when he types like that. But, hey, what can you expect from a Steelers fan?

Posted by: samdman95 | January 23, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Danog

its a forum post, who cares about proper spelling or grammar. What are you gonna do, grade his writing skills :/

VaTechBob just summed up the storm perfectly!

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

This is gettin crazy..lol...Are we gonna see any snow you think? 4 inches closes he runway..and we get a break,,,4 inches..thats all..please!!!lol

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 23, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

@samdman95

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: bdeco | January 23, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

@novajeffc

I agree. Va tech Bob, your comments are ALWAYS welcome here. I always love hearing about your fishing trips! I hope you can catch a lot this week!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 23, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@Brad, we may be lucky to even see rain this week; the whole shmeer could veer too far east.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm hearing a lot of towels being thrown down in regard to any snow accumulation Wednesday tonight, and I agree, it isn't looking so good. But I am holding on to hope in light of the fact that there has been such model disagreement and dramatically different runs. I am waiting until tomorrow evening- then I'll add my towel to the pile if need be.

I know I want snow, and perhaps there's a lot of wishful thinking involved in my statement, but there IS still hope.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 23, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

What im going on is this did seem to be our best chance of the biggie so far this year. I hope it does THREAD THE NEEDLE like WES said it would have to to give us some good snow. man I hope it dont bust out to sea.

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 23, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I have been in hiatus for a year but it is now time to say: RAIN!

Rainman Greg

Posted by: greg2010 | January 23, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I join those who say lay off VaTechBob. He knows his stuff and if he opts for e-shorthand, so what? To me, the 8:22 comment comes very close to violating the terms of use.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

RAIN RAIN RAIN!!!

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | January 23, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

VaTechBob's posts are among my favorites. I scroll through to read them; his accuracy is extraordinary.

Go Steelers.

Posted by: --sg | January 23, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Name calling is against the rules. Comment in question is being deleted. Multiple offenses will result in suspended posting privileges.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The models are crazy. We won't be able to say 100 percent for sure that this is not a huge storm until tomorrow night. PERIOD.

Posted by: RJ16 | January 23, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Wed looks like its gonna thread the needle and give DC around a foot of snow.. some may change to rain,,,but another 6 inches expected after the rain stops ..schools closed all week..airline runways shut down..what happend folks to our suprise was..cold temps hung on just long enough too ensure......... Brads wife awakes him in his lazy boy saying its time to get ready for bed..he awakes to the TWC forecasting an all rain event...............SOB

Posted by: BradFinWoodbridgeVA | January 23, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Rainman Greg....we don't live in a snow-supportive climate, which indicates why we get so excited for potential snow. But how can you cheer or hope for a certain event vs an alternate outcome in the natural world? Just sit back and watch nature's beauty unfold, which includes the fascinating and scientific approach that our beloved CWG staff shares with us!

Posted by: finnellb1 | January 23, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

NAM now out to sea as well. Time to throw in the (terrible) towel.

Posted by: bdeco | January 23, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 23, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Brad, were you by any chance in Jocassee, SC in early March last year when 5.5" snow feel (one of the tibits in the Jan-Feb issue of Weatherwise). I thought Jocassee was a lake in NW SC? I'm not "needling" you; I want snow, too! I've been carrying on about it since last June at least.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

@Walter, that dry slot (snow hole or whatever) on the GFS link you posted could be "la morta per bacio". Steelers/Packers... bummer. At least the Jets gave it a shot in the second half.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

bdeco, new NAM was actually at least a step or two back in the right direction to get precip in here at least compared to its previous run. The SREF that came out right before it was rather wet as well. Given that the EURO has been wet for a while I am somewhat hesitant to believe the OTS idea even given any 'seasonal trend'. One thing the storm holding till Wed does is let the high get out of the way a bit more. I think that at least leaves the door open to tap into cold provided by the -nao even if there is no major surface high. This is the coldest time of yr still for a bit afterall...

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

NAM a step or two in right direction.... BLIZZARD BACK ON!!!!!

Just kidding ;)

The models have been doing this with every storm to come our way this winter. Its gonna snow, its not gonna snow, its a mix, its rain, its snow and rain, its rain, its snow..... Day of storm, theres the complete opposite.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought...I think it's odd that fans of spring or rain in the winter would be following this blog. If you are not a fan of winter weather, why bother checking in?

As for the storm...sounds like it will come down to the models tomorrow or even tomorrow night, but the runs are definitely getting a bit colder.

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 23, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

jerry,
naaah. it's not over yet (for this storm - jets/bears are done!). there's plenty of time got that giant blob of blue/purple to move west and close that snow hole.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 23, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Parents told me the local CBS station out of Richmond already gave out totals for the storm! I was shocked so I went over to the website http://www.wtvr.com/weather/ the video has the snowfall map on there giving us 2-4.. not sure what to believe now.. haha news4 said ALL RAIN earlier this evening but they said it beared a watchful eye.

Posted by: teebyrd86 | January 23, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

whats the potential amount of snow we could get in the western suburbs of d.c?? if everything goes right.

Posted by: bobdello01 | January 23, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@DLO1975

Um, perhaps it's because we like to stay on top of what's happening with the weather?

Posted by: natsncats | January 23, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Children, children, come ON! Single digits on up to a low of 24? Yall are kidding, right? Moved to Gloucester, Ma. September 2009. Up here we're 62 inches total for the year since Thanksgiving. Tonight, we're -25 degrees (below zero) inland up to a balmy -10 degrees (below zero) here on the Perfect Storm coast. Life is good!

Oh, man! Wait! Uh-oh! ANOTHER blizzard coming Tuesday night, Wed. and Thursday! It's gonna go all the way up to 33 above on Wed. during the day! OMG! Where's my suntan lotion! Where's my motorcycle key!

Ok, ok, I get the horns NOW, you guys back home get the horns in the summer. Fair nuff?

Posted by: JamesChristian | January 23, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Latest NWS Area Forecast Discussion is more encouraging, but exactly what will fall is, um, still up in the air: http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=LWX&product=AFD&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1&h

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 23, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Hope CWG will give their thoughts on this GFS run, looks like a massive storm.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/00/images/gfs_pcp_072m.gif

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@ KRUZ

Only .25-.5 qpf for DC though. And it's in the middle of rain and snow too.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 23, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Kruz, surface and temps leave some to be desired but it's perhaps an indication that the east move was a burp in guidance. The midlvl (500mb) pattern is pretty good. It's back closer to that thread the needle scenario.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@Dylan

thx for the info. thats what i was wondering. alls i hope is there is no accumulating snow. CWG and others who can read these models pls, keep me posted :)

Posted by: KRUZ | January 23, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

KRUZ,
i like it! moves west. at least we're in the ballgame.

everyone,
is it just a coincidence that the cold air goes away when the storm shows up, or does the storm push the cold out? does a storm bring warm air?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 23, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Dan in the update... I don't see how this storm gives us more than 3". Based on how it's been going this winter, we'd be lucky to get the track the 0z GFS showed tonight, and even with that it's only rain to maybe an inch or two of snow on the back end.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 23, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Walter. Why, when we've been freezin' our butts off for three days, is this thing gonna start with rain? The system coming is more powerful than this arctic cold we're experiencing? And my God, the wind/cold was brutal today!

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 23, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

FYI... We've posted an evening update, based on the latest model data, at the top of this post. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 23, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

This can't possibly have the potential to disrupt Thursday flights out of DCA, right?

Posted by: alexandrian1 | January 23, 2011 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice the new high pressure in Canada headed hopefully towards Lake Ontario on latest GFS. Looks like it mayhelp aid in colder temps especially if storm arrives later Wednesday-Thursdat.

Posted by: StormChaserMan | January 24, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

@alexandrian1

I think everything is fine by Thursday.

@StormChaserMan

Yes the high moving in from the northwest could serve as a source of cold air late in the storm.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2011 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Latest Euro run is mostly rain Wed, possibly changing to some snow Wednesday night. Snow in mountains.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2011 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Latest NAM calls for colder weather.....mostly all snow for DCA. Come on folks, lets do the snow dance!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lll1424 | January 24, 2011 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Latest NAM calls for CWG to stop playing it so safe and make a prediction already.

Posted by: RJ16 | January 24, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

CWG, I have looked at the latest GFS and NAM runs. I agree that the surface temperatures look marginal for snow, but the upper level dynamics seem good enough. I suspect it is rain on Wednesday that changes to snow Wednesday evening. However, temperatures will remain above freezing for several hours. My interpretation is that temperatures will creep down to around 30 after midnight, so there will be some good accumulating snows in the last few hours of the storm. Do you agree with my analysis?

I am not saying this will happen. I just want to know if my interpretation of the model is accurate.

Thanks guys! You are great at this!!

Posted by: rapotter | January 24, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@Dylan

You really think that 0z GFS run would only leave us an inch of snow???
Looks to me like several inches of wet snow.

Posted by: rapotter | January 24, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

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