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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/10/2011

Update: Snow chance Tuesday night steady

By Jason Samenow

While the models have varied a bit over the last couple days, they've come into reasonable agreement. And we're holding firm in forecasting a light to moderate snow event with 1-4" most likely across the metro region.

Accumulations in this range should generally be greatest as you go northeast of the District and least to the southwest. The most likely time for accumulating snow is between about 6 p.m. Tuesday and midnight Wednesday though light snow could begin before that around the middle of the afternoon. There remains a small chance (20-30%) the storm develops too late and most of the region gets less than 1" of snow.

Keep reading for a summary of this morning's model output and a chance to offer your opinion on this weather...

This morning's NAM model develops the storm fairly quickly Tuesday afternoon and evening - in time to produce 0.32" liquid equivalent at Reagan National, 0.26" at Dulles, and 0.37" at BWI. Assuming 1" of liquid is equivalent to 10" of snow (which is an approximation), those amounts would suggest 3-4" of snow.

This morning's GFS model indicates 0.21" for DCA, 0.18" for IAD, and 0.23" for BWI - which suggests 2-3" of snow.

Bear in mind, we're still more than 24 hours before the snow likely starts so the models will continue to fluctuate a bit. So adjustments in our 1-4" forecast remain possible. But pretty much since Friday, we've felt the forecast evolution of this storm and the overall pattern support a 1-3" or 2-4" type storm. Of course, last minute surprises can't be ruled out - that's just how it is with East Coast storm development.

Finish this sentence, #WinterinDC ...

Does winter/snow in D.C. drive you batty? Or is the whole thing just a bit overblown? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or by using #WinterInDC on Twitter. We'll post some of the responses back here on the blog later...

Follow the action here:

By Jason Samenow  | January 10, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Latest, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: About the Winter Storm Watch east of D.C.
Next: Snow map, accumulation timeline & FAQs


At this point 2-4 even sounds good. Anything less would just plain SUCK. Still time to pull out a decent storm. What is up with this shaft winter so far?

Posted by: dannythe357 | January 10, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

In these situations which model is trusted more? the NAM or the GFS?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 10, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

With any luck we will see no snow at all. It is only a mess here as drivers can't deal with it and it costs the municipalities money they don't have.

For those that like snow drive to the mountains and look at it there. Take your families on a nice skiing trip for the day only one and 1/2 hours away.

But keep the snow out of DC. We don't need the mess.

Posted by: peterdc | January 10, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This year seems to be a snowy one for the southern states. They are really catching hell from this storm. Three deaths reported so far....very sad.
If you don't HAVE to drive in snowy, icy weather than stay at home.
I'm glad to see that CWG is still calling for local snow with no ice or sleet mixing.
The children should probably complete their homework Tuesday night. Late schools openings yes, but closings can't be counted on.
That's assuming the CWG forecast is correct. It seems to be one of many possible scenarios being put out there. Which means that many forecasts will be wrong.
So funny, because y'all are looking at the same information & models, but everyone has a different spin to their interpretation.
We'll get about an inch at National. I'm west outside the beltway & probably won't get much at all. That's MY interpretation and for my new snow shovel's sake I hope I am so very wrong.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 10, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Are you guys going to publish an accumulation prediction map? I need visual aids!

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | January 10, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm asking everyone to PLEASE stay home tomorrow, because I don't want to have to fight both the snow AND the evening rush hour traffic up I-95 to Baltimore.

I REALLY have to get to Baltimore.

I promise I'll remember you in my will if you'll do me this one favor. S'alright?

Posted by: andym108 | January 10, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Yes. This afternoon.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

This weather event appears to be similar to previous storm predictions, with the result that the DC area, particularly the northern Virginia counties, will get no more than a dusting. My guess is that this storm will probably either zip out to sea, or move up the coast and then intensify, missing the DC area entirely. I look for weak flurries on Tuesday.

I live in Vienna, so I figure the sun will do the work, while my snow shovel will rest quietly on its rack in the garage. BTW, I was in Sussex County this past weekend, and two inches of snow fell Saturday morning, making roads snow covered and slick for a brief period. The southern Delaware beach area has had more snow than DC this season.

Posted by: MillPond2 | January 10, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Im with you @peterdc

Im hopeful for no snow or maybe a dusting to an inch! Im hopeful the dry slot really takes hold! I'll be out slating and plowing this mess probably all night so im hopeful to get home to my family ASAP not to mention the least favorite part of plowing/salting is the people out on the roads.

If it snows and you do not have to be out on the roads.... STAY HOME!

That advice is always given on all the news outlets but most people never take the advice :/

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I voted less than an inch... not because that's how much will actually fall, but the measuring at DCA is terrible

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | January 10, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"For those that like snow drive to the mountains and look at it there."

If the NOAA map published in another thread is right, maybe snowlovers in the mountains should go to DC or points north and east instead.

They show DC getting almost exactly 3 inches (the 3 inch line runs right thru the city.) Other areas:

Baltimore City/County, Anne Arundel, Southern Maryland: 4-5" (maybe some mixing in So MD?)
Howard/Prince George's: about 4"
Montgomery/Frederick: about 3"
Northern Virginia: 2 to 3" (probably closer to the 3" closer in, such as Arlington/Alexandria)
Shenandoah Valley/I-81 corridor (Winchester, Harrisonburg, Front Royal): 1 to 2"

Posted by: mkarns | January 10, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Damn you la ninnnnnaaaaaaa!!!!!

Posted by: tressoleilgoddess | January 10, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Any white stuff is good at this point. From a snow lover perspective, it's been explained on here before why New York, Philadelphia and Boston usually get walloped by storms that miss us completely. Ok fair enough.

However, what's with this new trend of the SOUTH and EAST getting more snow than us?* That's now adding insult to injury :( I say if it's going to be winter with wind chills and coats and scarves etc it might as well snow* a little just for us to get something fun out of winter.

*(Yes we all know what happened last year--probably that was our snow allocation for the decade).

Posted by: superseiyan | January 10, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

We need to take a 35ft trailer from Warrenton down to Charlottesville and back on Tuesday. Heading down early a.m. and returning in the evening. Forecast for Ch'ville says 1-3 inches but starting in the morning. Trying to decide whether to go Tuesday or postpone until Wednesday. Thinking Wednesday morning could be worse. Any advice on what it's going to be like between Warrenton and Ch'ville?

Posted by: mudbucket | January 10, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey CWG, we love the work you do and the detailed explanations. Hopeful that you can explain something to me though. Often forecasts indicate snow for many hours, with 1"-2" of accumulation. That never really makes sense. Even the squall that came through Saturday morning left about 1/4" in under an hour. (I admit to looking for any faint reason to hope for more snow than is being forecast.) Thanks!

Posted by: kat16 | January 10, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What do you think will happen down in Fredericksburg? 2-3 inches as well?

Posted by: krg3m | January 10, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping this snow BUSTS!!! The timing [Tuesday afternoon/evening] is ATROCIOUS...just in time for the first Clarendon Ballroom swing dance & dance class of 2011! Looks like another of "Much-unneeded" rain's ill-timed dance disruptions with which I had to contend with SOOOO OFTEN during 2010!

If it snows at that time, I'm not too optimistic the dance will get canceled. I am afraid however that hardly anyone will attend. this is supposed to be the first dance class of the New Year. What will probably happen is that everyone in the class will stay home and attend the Wednesday night class at Nick's instead.

In sum...this is one snowstorm that I hope "busts". It's timed dead wrong. If you want a Tuesday night snowstorm, schedule it for Feb. 1. That night the swing dance is cancelled for a "private event" at the Clarendon Ballroom.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 10, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I love how this entire snowstorm seems to be revolving around the Clarendon Ballroom and whether it's able to hold classes tomorrow night ;-). Somehow I don't think the world will end if the first class is postponed.

Posted by: AdmiralX | January 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think when it doesnt snow tomorrow because of an extreme OTS solution late tonight in the models we can all blame or thanks the Clarenden Ballroom!!!!

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keeps giving you KUDOS but I am the one who suggested the true and ZI mean true members get you a dinner on us or hell, I'll do it myself at this point. Jason, Ian or Wes, can you get my email address from my log in info? Or whoever the moderator is, can that person get my personal email so I can send you a gift card to RUTH CHRIS or P.F. CHANGS or the Melting Pot. You guys work so hard and post so often and regualr that Bill and I were singing your praises but I really want to do something for your whole crew. If the moderator can get my person email off quickly I will leave it for you on a post and we can figure out how I can get you a $250.00 prepaid Visa which will take you all out. DEAL???!

Posted by: MITCHRAPP | January 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

lol MITCHRAPP.. very kind. ;)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

bombo, bombo, bombo...

get your priorities in order. ;-) you have those dances all year around right? around here, we've got to take snow any time we can get it.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 10, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Millpond. Just like what we had a few weeks ago ... which is to say nothing.
The CWG forecasts have morphed so much, with so much attorney-like parsing of language, I would say you are virtually assured of getting the snow totals correct ... considering you have predicted just about everything, including a potential tsunami. OK, I made that last part up. But, seriously, there is not even a warning or a watch issued for Montgomery County yet. How serious could this storm really be. Calling your bluff...

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | January 10, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I've just been looking at the NWS hourly weather graphs for my area (Silver Spring). On Tuesday evening they are forecasting about .13 inches of precipitation, but a full 2 inches of snow. That snow-to-water ratio seems to imply an especially light and fluffy snowfall during that time period. Is that what you guys are expecting?

Posted by: lkusmin | January 10, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@Ian Can you or of of the other CWG guys please explain how forecasters are calling for snow around lunch time tomorrow when all the models seems to hold off the precip until after rush hour? As they say, timing is everything! Thanks.

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 10, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Bombo, try to write your name in the snow. It's much for fun and fulfilling than swing dance.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | January 10, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I voted for 3-4" which is currently running in last place.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 10, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

KRUZ - Are you seriously suggesting that we should stay off the roads for a 1"-4" storm? I mean...that's not much snow and is easy to navigate...not to mention people need to drive home from work during the storm. We also like to see our familys ASAP. Is it b/c the plows can't get around as quickly? Just curious.

Posted by: parksndc | January 10, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So great to read that there is a 20-30% chance of nothing. So there is still hope that snow won't make a tough day even harder. I fervently hope that we avoid ALL the white stuff this winter!! Thanks to CWG - will keep checking back in hopes that things improve even more.

Posted by: pbj1 | January 10, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse


One thing to remember is that a lot times forecasters (including us) will predict a chance of snow during a window of time. Doesn't always mean it will snow during the entire window, but rather just for several hours within the window. In many cases the science doesn't allow us to narrow the window as precisely as we'd like.

Also, just b/c it's snowing doesn't mean it's accumulating. When snow falls lightly enough during the day it may not accumulate much (or at all). -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse


Can't speak for other forecasts, but since yesterday this has been looking like a primarily late afternoon through evening storm, with accumulating snow possibly waiting until the latter part of the commute home or just after. -Dan, CWG,

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo47jea- What time does the dance start? Just curious so I know when the snow will start falling!

Also, for those of you who haven't been around long CWG just wouldn't be the same without Bombo's dance updates:)

Posted by: artteach | January 10, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse


That's just the way it's gonna be until the data (and out experience and gut instinct) gives us enough confidence to commit to a more specific forecast. Would be a disservice to not communicate the uncertainty.

There have been some differences with this storm than the Dec. 26 one, though. In that case, we communicated time and again that the models were all over the place and there was almost as much chance as a dusting as there was 6-8". This one's been a bit different. For a few days now we've been increasing our confidence of at least an inch or so, but casting our doubt on it being a big storm (say, 6" or more). And we've been consistently favoring a 1-3" or 2-4" type event the last couple days now.

We'll be posting our first guess accumulation map any minute now. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@DLo - it's so the 10 o'clock news can advertise that it is "breaking news" and they are changing their forecasts. It's all about ratings.

Posted by: Camacho_for_President | January 10, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm quite confused about the persistent references to ballroom dancing by Bombo. Is he/she being facetious?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 10, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

If one more relative down in Greenville, SC mountains texts me pictures of their SNOW I'm going to go ballistic. I think they got together and decided to torture me!

Posted by: luvhh1 | January 10, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

bombo is totally serious about his dance schedule. we get updates on it year-round. it's part of the scenery 'round here. of course he is joking (i presume) about nature's conspiracy to deprive him of dance nights by bringing rain/snow on those evenings.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 10, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I hate about the snow is getting my Wash. Post ( it's either thrown in the street, where the snowplow gets it, or it's not delivered at all [ I don't mind getting it more than 1 day late as long as I get that same paper sometime during the week {Feb. 2010 was the 1st time in 20 years I got my papers because the owner Katherine Weymouth dealt with my distributor personally & made sure they were put in the newspaper box} ] ). & I usually stay home so those lousy drivers don't crash into me!

Posted by: gailschumacher | January 10, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

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