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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Winter in DC: nothing longer than waiting for snow

By Jason Samenow

We're still predicting 1-4 inches Tuesday evening

The afternoon models are in, and guess what? They haven't changed meaningfully. That means our accumulation map, timeline, and answers to frequently asked questions posted around 2 p.m. are still valid. As hard as it might be to believe, accumulating snow - to the tune of one to four inches - may still be 24 hours away. (It may be a long 24 hours.)

A few notes:

* The National Weather Service trimmed back the Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday afternoon and night east of D.C. and it no longer includes Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's county.

* A point for us to emphasize: If you like snow, don't be surprised and panic if the radar shows little or nothing during the day tomorrow. It may well take some time for the radar to show impressive returns as it won't be until late afternoon or even the evening that low pressure offshore starts getting its act together.

* The afternoon (18z) GFS model simulates about 1.5-2.5" of snow (0.18", 0.17" and 0.23" liquid equivalent at Reagan National, Dulles, and BWI, respectively). The afternoon (18z) NAM model simulates about 3" of snow for D.C. and 4" for Baltimore. These numbers are remarkably similar to the last several runs of both models.

* Results of our earlier poll indicate CWG readers are conservative with their snowfall predictions (siding with the GFS model). Of more than 2500 votes, 58% predicted less than 2", and 42% predicted more than 2".

* School systems: Be sure to register for the Post's new school closings website so your closings/delays will appear should they be required.

There's more, so keep reading...

* Earlier today, we asked you to post via Twitter (@capitalweather) what #WinterinDC means to you. Keep reading for some of the most creative replies...

#WinterInDC is like playing slot machines, the sevens replaced by 'maybes' "maybe...maybe.....maybe not"... @capitalweather @washingtonpostless than a minute ago via Power Twitter

#WinterInDC via @capitalweather is like a Hitchcock flick. The suspense is often keener than the action.less than a minute ago via Tweet Button

#WinterinDC is like politics in DC: unpredictable, unnerving, and at times, catastrophic.less than a minute ago via web

* Our next update will be at around 10:45 p.m. tonight...

By Jason Samenow  | January 10, 2011; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Snow hole? No Weather Service advisory for DC
Next: Winter Weather Advisory up for D.C. & vicinity


"don't start flipping out tomorrow when the radar shows little or nothing"
Good advice that will be completely ignored.
Oh and what's that on the Wed weather graphic?
W I N D with highs in the 30's.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 10, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm expecting 1.2" here in NW Spotsy. Looks like the Spotsy. dome has now expanded 2 cover most of NoVa.
After 2morrow the next 8-10 days look snowless.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 10, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm expecting 1.8765231" here in SE Bethesda. I hope there is snow 2morrow so we can 4get about the bust on the 26th. I hope the forecast changes from no snow 2 snow 4 the next 8-10 days.

Posted by: samdman95 | January 10, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

CWG, you guys still thinking a regular school day for most counties tomorrow as the snow won't come until the afternoon?

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 10, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, FIREDRAGON47 - windchills could be a bit rough after the snow ends, yes.

I appreciate VaTechBob & samdman95 providing such precise accumulation estimates :-)

all three of you please keep reports coming via comments tomorrow of your local conditions!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

im COMPLETELY agree samdman...
im also predicting 1.6783498657" at IAD

Posted by: SnowDreamer | January 10, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A Snow Lover's Refrain

“Nothing takes longer, Than waiting for snow”

( )

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll go with 1.1" at DCA since tomorrow is 1.11.11. (I wish I could predict 11.1"!)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 10, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse


After reading your comments the past few days, I am under the impression that you must really detest wind; especially when it's cold. :)

Don't worry, though. Most us feel the EXACT same way!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I predict fewer than 98.84838383 inches at all area reporting stations.

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | January 10, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Did I mention that I predict 2.1629394729363792935163 inches here in NE Loudoun?? :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Dylan0513, hey there. I am worried about the typical "panic" most school systems will have early tomorrow afternoon--just at seeing flakes fall, and seeing some accumulation on grassy surfaces. Some could let out a bit early. 1 or 2 hours? Not sure. But I see it happening. I am skeptical that jurisdictions will need to react to the snow as such until after 5pm or so.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse


I bet that your prediction of all reporting stations getting less than 98 inches will be spot on! Maybe you should consider entering the meteorology business! :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I predict someone will get 3.14159 . . .

It won't be me, as I live in north Alexandria and we always get the low end (or less) of every prediction. Say what you will about whether DCA is a good measuring station for the District--the forecast and measurements are always spot on for me! :)

Posted by: aks8218 | January 10, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

So, a top limit of 4" seems unanimous and the only question is xactly when it'll all start. Guess I'll wear (or at least carry) snow boots to work just to make sure I'm not caught hiking home thru 1-2" in my sneaks. =) --and yeah, I and my rosebushes are in total agreement w/FIREDRAGON47: days of cold wind are the worst part of winter...

Posted by: angelicat | January 10, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

i predict 1.5 in bethesda, md

CWG or anyone else

- what do you think montgomery county will call for schools? im guessing no early release for the kids tomorrow but im figuring out work on wednesday and trying to figure out if i need to be home, do you think there is a good chance of no school on wed. for montgomery county?

Posted by: kantor115 | January 10, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse


The morning is not an issue for schools as there won't be any snow. A little light snow could start by mid-to-late afternoon, but I'd surprised if it's enough to early dismiss from D.C. north. Most of the accumulating snow probably falls between 6 and 10 p.m. tomorrow. Camden may be right that a few schools which see flakes in afternoon hit the panic button, but my guess is if that were to happen it would be well south of D.C.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the clowns at are finally being sensible and have us in the 1 - 3 inch range.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

CWG: What are the odds of us seeing a storm of at least six inches by winter's end? I'm really not liking this trend of NYC, Boston, and Philly getting hammered while we get a measly 1 - 2 inches... Sigh...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

there's been so much talk about this little 2" storm... hahaha

it's been nice this year to have all this cold air in place. we really haven't been on that dreaded rain/snow line this winter.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 10, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's low in Denver, CO: -1°F. Now that's what I call cold!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2 RE: WIND
I hate winter wind. Wind in the the warm months can be exhilarating.
But aside from cold wind being very uncomfortable right now my beloved garden is being slowly desiccated, & there's not much I can do about it while temps are so low. Hopefully the watering I was able to give it while we had our mini thaw will help things out.
It's a very Darwinian thing that every gardener understands. Bad winters winnow out what just won't work in this particular climate.
I wonder if & when the snow will start tomorrow? Most of the day I'll be nowhere near a window....rats.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 10, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Firedragon47 - just loathe the winter wind. Came out from dinner Saturday night in Arlington, 5 minute walk to the car and I swear, I felt like I was in Chicago or Cleveland. The wind gusts were so strong, and so bitterly cold, it was not to be believed. I think I almost cried in disbelief. It hurt.

As it is, the 12 minute walk from metro to the office is generally pleasant. But since November, I find myself showing up for work in a regularly foul mood, all because of the wind.

The cold, I can handle. I'm a regular walker and except for ice and thunderstorms, I pretty much walk in all types of weather. And if I could go to work dressed the way I was during my walk tonight, I would, but it ain't happening.

I hate winter wind. Total buzz kill on otherwise tolerably nice winter days.

I constantly remind myself of Aesop's Fable, The Wind and the Sun, and keep saying, come on Sun - you can do it! I'm ready to take the coat off.

But this thread is about snow, right?!

Posted by: bobosnow | January 10, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Getting tired of my sister in CT gloating about how much snow they have..

I'm a teacher and LOVE a good snow day! But recently I tried to check CWG from school and guess what? Montgomery Co. Public Schools have BLOCKED it! No fair! And I teach science for crying out loud, it's relevant! Grrrrr.

Posted by: Drano | January 10, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Can we have more rapid-fire model updates tonight?

Posted by: samdman95 | January 10, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

My rule of thumb, before last year, was to subtract 3 inches from the top end of the official forecast, then divide by 2. But since everyone is going low this time, I'll go contrary. 3.8 inches.

Oh, and all schools SHOULD have a normal schedule tomorrow, accumulations aren't expected to begin until after the last bell.

Posted by: ddowhan | January 10, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

This is the best the 00Z NAM gives us.

I think 1-3 sounds good but you guys may have to extend that into PG County and draw the 2-4 back north east some IMO.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@ all the fellow wind-haters, count me among you. Winter wind, that is. Whenever I go outside in the winter, even if it's not all that windy, my eyes immediately tear up. Some mornings walking into my work location, people have asked me if I've been crying!

Posted by: natsncats | January 10, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse


Yes- the latest 0z NAM did reduce totals a bit. We kind of accounted for the fact the NAM might be a little high earlier when we drew up the map. Of course, if it makes any more downward adjustments, that would be an issue. But this could be a hickup rather than a trend. We've been holding our prediction pretty steady rather than going back and forth with each model run. I think for us to adjust downward, we'd need to see the 6z NAM drop again late tonight and/or for the 0z GFS to go significantly drier.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Flying in a private puddle jumper tomorrow from DCA to a facility near Atlantic City and back...hoping to make it back before the storm moves up the coast. Decided trip was a "go" since CWG says nothing much in Washington DC until late afternoon.

Posted by: --sg | January 10, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is it hard to tell what is happening on a synoptic level right now? The upper low in the midwest looks ragged at best, and there's no clear circulation off the S/E coast. Very benign.

Is the precip that is stuck on the NC/VA border, moving SW to NE, associated with the new coastal low? Looks like it's left over from the energy that brought snow to Atlanta, etc.

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | January 10, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse


I was also out for dinner Saturday night, and walking from the restaurant to the car in the raging windstorm was pure torture! I've never experienced such a long stetch of cold, dry, windy weather in this area. And you know, if it's not going to snow, then why is Mother Nature forcing us to endure such awful weather??

I love a cool Spring/Summer breeze; but not a harsh, cold winter wind. Unfortunately, winter is when this area gets most of its wind.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 10, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I got ya Jason,

I just think as we get closer to this thing we are gonna see the totals decrease with each run. Looking forward to your updates later tonight.

Im still calling for T-3 inches for entire metro area, including east into PG where you guys have the 2-4 inches. That 2-4 inches belongs farther east IMO, towards the Bay.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Just talked to my mother who lives in Wilmington NC - she got 4 inches of snow and was wondering if we got any. It is quite unusual for Wilmington to have more snow than DC!

Posted by: barbnc | January 10, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Have the weather channel on in the background and just heard that there is a Winter Weather Advisory posted for us here in Frederick, and saying 2-4 inches for overnight. Any validity to that guys?

Posted by: rudy1481 | January 10, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I think 1-3 sounds good but you guys may have to extend that into PG County and draw the 2-4 back north east some IMO.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Does it really matter if it's 1 to 3 or 2 to 4? Geesh. Everyone in DC-Baltimore should just expect 1 to 4, and don't be surprised either way if they get 4 or 1. Regardless, after last year, whatever we get will be very manageable and seem like nothing.

Not sure why everyone harps on Cap. Weather to give pin-point, precise snowfall amounts for their backyard. 1 to 3 and 2 to 4 are essentially the same thing.

Posted by: realclear | January 10, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

overnight tomorrow I should have said :)

Posted by: rudy1481 | January 10, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MVPlaya8120 | January 10, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

The latest NAM pretty much crushed my hopes. I bet the GFS stays either just as dry or goes even drier.

The only thing that keeps me at all optimistic is that the track of the low stayed pretty much the same for the NAM. So being that even models can't predict exact mesoscale banding, if the track stays the same maybe that can keep totals up. But on the other hand, there's much more to precip development than just the track so maybe that window of optimism is unfounded.

So I sit here waiting for the 0z GFS, growing confidence that once again we are going to get missed... man oh man.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 10, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Finally. We get our advisory.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 10, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse


All counties west of the Bay that were under the Watch (AA, PG, Howard, etc) have now been downgraded to just the Advisory.

Posted by: allagar | January 10, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Winter weather advisory for entire region. We'll have a new post up shortly...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Snowlover2 - indeed, till 6am Wednesday, DC area has its Winter Weather Advisory

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse


1-3 and 2-4 arent really that different. But a winter storm watch in PG County and none in DC are 2 totally different things. I just think most of PG County will be along the same lines as DC.

I just think you gotta go way east to get 4 inches thats all, nothing against cap wx, just my own opinion. I really think a majority of PG County has a good chance of getting 1 inch just as DC does.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Please do another post like last night with the instant model analysis! also WWA for DC metro area

Posted by: samdman95 | January 10, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

LOL.... Now im happy, we are all under an Advisory.... I just knew the warning for PG County was too much.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 10, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm going long...I predict 2.3457 inches on my deck in Oakton. And for all you windchill haters...I did a hike around Burke Lake on Sunday. All of the cold air pumping into my lungs felt amazingly good, like all the stale air is gone. With that being said, I'm going into duck and cover...Oh and I have a swing dance!;)

Posted by: SPS1 | January 10, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

SPS1 - alright, I will hold you to your precision!

KRUZ - it was a watch issued, not a warning. But it does appear NWS took the lower accumulation option mentioned in its Winter Storm Watch when it has now issued the Advisory

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 10, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Just as I'm giving up hope on this storm, NWS comes out with an WWA for the entire area, which bumps up accumulation predictions from 1-3 to 2-4 inches. I know that the new prediction keeps us in the range of 1-4 inches, but is this small bump up a reflection of any (fingers crossed) new models or trends? Pretty please??

Posted by: Rkvinthehizzy | January 10, 2011 10:11 PM | Report abuse

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