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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 01/17/2011

Wintry mess expected tonight

By Jason Samenow

Winter Weather Advisory tonight into Tues. a.m.

5:00 p.m. update: The latest models have trended a tad colder with surface temperatures early tomorrow. That means folks west of I-95 (zone 2 in the map below the jump) may keep frozen precipitation around longer and may make for an icy a.m. commute - particularly from central Fairfax county to central Montgomery county and points west and north. This may be a nasty icing event for some folks in the metro region. Be careful not only driving but also WALKING if you're out late tonight or early tomorrow - especially older adults.

3:00 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the metro region with the exception of Calvert and St. Mary's county. The advisory is in effect through 9 a.m. in the immediate metro area and through noon Tuesday in the north and west suburbs. The NWS forecast is similar to ours, predicting up to an inch of snow in the immediate metro area before changing to sleet, freezing rain, and eventually rain.

From 1:00 p.m. update: As discussed in our full forecast. tonight and tomorrow morning bring a big mess of wintry precipitation and rain. Depending on where you live, you could see 1) an extended period of accumulating snow and ice (well north and west of town), 2) a few hours of accumulating snow and ice followed by rain (immediate north and west suburbs), 3) a very brief period of snow and ice with minimal accumulation quickly followed by rain (east of I-95).

In the immediate metro area, Tuesday morning's commute should be wet as opposed to icy. Wes Junker, our winter weather expert, says: "I agree with Jason's call for a dusting to an inch before transitioning to sleet and freezing rain before ultimately changing to rain inside the beltway." However, if temperatures are a little colder and slower to rise above freezing than forecast, ice could last longer and become more significant farther east.

The start time for the precipitation should be between 6 and 10 p.m. from south to north. The precipitation ends between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesday morning from southwest to northeast.

Keep reading for details about what to expect and where, and SchoolCast/FedCast...

I thought the best way to describe tonight's forecast would be to break it out by zone, as there may be big differences in storm impact across the region.

jan18-2011.gif

Zone 3 approximately covers the region from northern Fauquier and eastern Loudoun county through extreme northwest Montgomery county and to the northwest.

Zone 2 approximately covers the D.C. and Baltimore metro region just west of I-95 and regions to the southwest (west of Fredericksburg).

Zone 1 approximately covers the D.C. and Baltimore metro regions east of I-95 to the Chesapeake Bay (although slightly west of I-95 to the south).

ZONE 3 FORECAST

* Precipitation likely starts as snow between 7 and 10 p.m., with 1-2"+ accumulation possible before changing to ice
* Snow mixes with and changes to sleet between midnight and 2 a.m.
* Sleet mixes with and changes to freezing rain and between 2 and 4 a.m.
* Freezing rain may (40% chance) - but not likely to - change to plain rain by between 7-10 a.m. when precipitation tapers off
* Ice likely to glaze trees and power lines
* Worst travel conditions probably occur between precipitation onset (7 to 10 p.m. tonight) and 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
* Tuesday morning commute is likely to be icy in many spots, especially untreated roads and bridges, ramps and overpasses.
* Tuesday SchoolCast (Frederick and Loudoun counties):

ZONE 2 FORECAST (updated at 11 p.m.)

* Precipitation likely starts as snow or a snow/sleet mix between 7 and 10 p.m., with a covering to 1" or so accumulation possible before changing to ice (freezing rain)
* Snow mixes with and changes to sleet by 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
* Sleet mixes with and changes to freezing rain between midnight and 3 a.m.
* Freezing rain likely doesn't change to plain rain until 8-9 a.m. Rain tapers off everywhere by around 10 a.m.
* Worst travel conditions probably occur between precipitation onset (7-10 p.m.) and into the Tuesday morning commute. Iciest morning spots will be on untreated roads and bridges, ramps and overpasses in normally colder locations.
* Tuesday SchoolCast:
* Tuesday FedCast: capitol-black.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpg (updated at 11 p.m.)

ZONE 1 FORECAST

* Precipitation may begin as a brief period of sleet and/or snow between 7 and 10 p.m. A dusting to coating possible before change over to ice and rain.
* Sleet/snow change to sleet and freezing rain within a couple hours of onset.
* Between midnight and 3 a.m., sleet and freezing rain changes to plain rain.
* Worst travel conditions probably occur from onset of precipitation (7-10 p.m.) to around midnight tonight.
* Tuesday morning commute mainly wet - although a few icy spots can't be ruled out in normally colder locations if temperatures are stubborn to warm overnight.
* Tuesday SchoolCast:
* Tuesday FedCast: capitol-black.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpgcapitol-gray.jpg

We'll post our next update as the precipitation approaches this evening.

By Jason Samenow  | January 17, 2011; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Snow, ice, and rain tonight
Next: Icy conditions likely last into morning commute for D.C. and points north and west

Comments

This is an excellent article. Well laid-out & informative. Thanks CWG.

Posted by: Duodenum | January 17, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

wow thanks for this!!!! I love the zone forecasting!

im in zone 1, looks like ill need to do some salting tonight at work, im still gonna hold off until i start seeing this mix precip fall.

im still hopeful the snow isnt a plowable event by surprise.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 17, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Great idea with the zones. The zones seem to have an extremely tight gradient. Is the forecast fairly confident or is it possible that warm air advection could be faster/slower or stronger/weaker than expected? Is there any margin for error embedded within the forecast?

I know in Ellicott City we always seem to be a bit colder than forecasted and the changeover to rain is always a bit slower so hopefulyy we can see more than the 1" possibly tallied for my zone two area.

Still keeping fingers crossed for this weekend's possibilities. Go Euro!

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 17, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

bombo-

Joe Bastardi says 3-6 inches of snow 50 miles either side of 81 starting in Winchester. This means from downtown Fairfax and points west (Chantilly, Ashburn, Reston, Sterling, Leesburg, etc) are in his 3-6 inch zone. No, I'm not just making this up, that's what he says. Forecasting twice as much snow as anyone else? Must be Joe :)

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The zone forecasts are excellent. i'm in fairfax county and there always seems to be such a range of conditions. Thanks for your great work.

Posted by: snowmomma | January 17, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the zones!

I'm really surprised at the number of times a local forecast bisects the District of Columbia. It's a really small geographical area, and that's pretty amazing for it to come down that way so often.

Posted by: petworthlad | January 17, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Ditto on the zone outlook. Perfect.

Posted by: tbva | January 17, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Excellent piece. I love the zone map and associated explanations. I hate it when the TV and radio folks use the generic "north and west" and "south and east" terminology without actually defining the areas.

Posted by: bdeco | January 17, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

CWG just keeps getting better and better. Agree with everyone else on the zones, that's brilliant! Thanks guys!

Posted by: natsncats | January 17, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the feedback on the zones. Did it out of necessity to try to communicate this regionally variable forecast.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Great forecast. It is very cold up in zone 3 today, with a lot of cold air that isn't going to give up much. Wonder when NWS will decide to toss up a WSW for the west and the north. Your analysis pretty much says get ready for a period of very unpleasant travel out our way.

Posted by: Gooddogs | January 17, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Jumping on the zone lovin' bandwagon. Extremely helpful.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

What's the chance of a flight landing at National tonight at 10pm?

Thanks!

Posted by: badnewshound | January 17, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Radar shows a nice band of light snow approaching the area. It could be virga, though. Any confirmed reports of flakes?

Posted by: bdeco | January 17, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Love the zones!
Next time--by Zip Codes? :}

Posted by: DOG3521 | January 17, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

CWG: I love the zone idea! You should use that in all your storm analyses! I'm in zone 2 (NE Loudoun near Dulles) and it doesn't look like it will be too bad here.

Regarding the late week storm, the Canadian model is the only one currently predicting a big storm. The Euro WAS but now takes it OTS. The GFS isn't either. BUT, we all know how much things could potentially change between now and then, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/CMC_12z/f96.gif

Regardless of what happens with that storm, it seems pretty definite that we will see some extremely cold air this weekend.

http://www.wusa9.com/weather/currents/7day.jpg

CWG: With the Canadian being the only model predicting a big storm; has that particular model every proven to be more reliable than say, the Euro or the GFS? It would be great if the GFS and Euro would come aboard with the Canadian.

The Euro DOES show a storm, but it takes it way too far out to sea for us to be affected:

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/ECMWF_12z/f144.gif

@4seamed

Are you serious?? Bastardi is really calling for 3 - 6 inches all the way to downtown Fairfax?? What a joke! This clearly demonstrates just how lame and stupid some (and I think you all know whom I'm referring to when I say some) AccuWeather meteorologists can be.

Current reading on my deck in Sterling VA: 31.1°F and cloudy.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 17, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Jason - I know I'm way late but this was well done and is awesome as well as very useful to communicate to family and friends as well. Thank you!

4seamed - JB...that guy amazes me...he's right like 10% of the time b/c his forecast is constantly wishcasting yet he gets paid very well for this crap.

Posted by: parksndc | January 17, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@badnewshound

I think odds are pretty good for the flight...maybe a few delays...but this isn't a huge storm.

@BobMiller

Canadian model is erratic and difficult to trust when it's alone in my opinion.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@bobmiller2

Thanks. I was just wondering what the temperature is on your deck. Now I can go about my day.

P.S. Thanks for your forecast of the cold weather this weekend. I came to this site to see your forecast.

Posted by: capsfan5 | January 17, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Jason!

Posted by: badnewshound | January 17, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan5

You're welcome. I'm happy to help! ;)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 17, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@BobMiller

I just saw the 12z Canadian. Man I would give an arm and a leg for that to verify.

I can't get any precip data for the Euro because I'm not a paying customer but it seemed from the pressure maps that the storm was going to come along the coast. Am i mistaken by that? I'd be interested on your take.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 17, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

And there's the Winter Weather Advisory

Posted by: Dylan0513 | January 17, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

And also, while the gfs doesn't bring a barn burner up the coast, at least it brings some snow to us. If that verified it would only be a couple of inches but hey, for a forecast that's five days out I'll take that as a good omen.

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 17, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

How much ice are we talking about? NWS says .1 to .3 inches for McLean. Will we get around that?

Posted by: cubscapsfan | January 17, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@CWG, Zone 3 is "Western" Loudoun, no? :-) I'm in South Riding, and that's Eastern, definitely Zone 2.

Posted by: leesweet | January 17, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I really wish that people would not comment on Joe B b/c you don't know what you are talking about (parkndc). Unless you actually subscribe and hear what he says keep your comments to yourself. People have a way of selectively hearing what they want to hear. It is like me quoting capwx, without reading what is said. If you want to know what capwx has said you read their blog. if you want what Joe says you read his blog. I highly doubt he gets paid a lot of money for being wrong. businesses are smarter than that

Posted by: mciaram1 | January 17, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

How much liquid precipitation are we talking about for this storm? I'm thinking not in terms of accumulation, but rather, in terms of bringing some much needed moisture to the plants and trees, as it's been a very dry winter with strong, desiccating winds that can wreak havoc on broadleaf evergreens. Are we looking at about 0.5" of precip with this storm?

Posted by: FH59312 | January 17, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@mciaram1

I don't know weather, but I do know business. Driving shareholder value is what businesses maximize, not accuracy.

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | January 17, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@bbirnbau

Well, I'm not a paying customer either, but this site shows surface maps from the Euro and you can get a pretty good idea from it as to what will happen. I've been thinking about subscribing to AccuWx pro so I can see the Euro precip info.

Anyway, the Euro at 96 hrs shows a storm going out to sea and completely avoiding us.

Like you said, it is still pretty far out and many things could change between now and then. Come on Canadian!!!!

If the GFS would just up the precip amounts and come aboard with the Canadian, I'd be a pretty happy camper :)

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 17, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Winter Weather Advisory for Bethesda, MD
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON EST TUESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON EST TUESDAY.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN. FREEZING RAIN WILL HAVE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACT.

* ACCUMULATIONS...ONE INCH OR LESS OF SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION. ONE TO TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION.

* TIMING...A MIX OF SNOW AND SLEET WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING BETWEEN 10 PM AND MIDNIGHT. SNOW AND SLEET IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND 3 AM...AND WILL CONTINUE OVERNIGHT AND EARLY TUESDAY MORNING. FREEZING RAIN WILL THEN CHANGE TO RAIN LATE TUESDAY MORNING.

* TEMPERATURES...UPPER 20S TONIGHT AND EARLY TUESDAY MORNING. HIGHS TUESDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UPPER 30S.

* WINDS...NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH TONIGHT. BECOMING NORTHWEST 10 TO 15 MPH TUESDAY.

Also, Accuweather is calling for a big storm friday, saying a dusting to a "swath of snow" for our area,

Posted by: redskins-95 | January 17, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

ALERT: Sterling has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the area.

Posted by: Yellowboy | January 17, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thank you CWG. The zones and timeline are fantastic. We live in Fauquier but travel to surrounding counties almost daily for work and this really helps. You guys are awesome.

Posted by: mudbucket | January 17, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Another zone fan here. A very complete forecast. Love CWG!

Posted by: tigger12 | January 17, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Why are we discussing models 96+hours out on this post? If the CWG post is referencing a forecast 96+ hours out, then by all means discuss it. I'm usually a passive reader of CWG but it can be annoying reading comments about models which CWG have repeatedly said have no immediate basis in reality. I'm all for the enthusiasm, but let's discuss what's relevant for now. Annnyyyways....

CWG, great job with the "zones". It would be interesting to do a post-mortem after the storm to compare the zone forecasting map versus the more generalized forecasts other area forecasters are using to see what panned out.

Posted by: dcg35 | January 17, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Long-time listener, first-time caller... CWG, just a little pat on the back and thanks for doing what you do. Not only informative, but feeds many of us who clearly have a hobby! (myself included)

Posted by: DJMDJM | January 17, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DJMDJM - feel free to comment any time or let us know if you have a question. Always happy to help - but thanks.. appreciate the positive feedback. Let us know if we can improve anything, too.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't post on this site often, but I'd like to send some constructive, but hopefully not too harsh criticism, to the handful of what I'll call, "chronic posters", in particular, and very specifically, to "bobmiller2".

I've noticed quite a few people have taken quick little cheap shots at "bobmiller2", over the past week or so. "Bob", while you certainly have every right to post on this site as often as you'd like--given that you keep your comments within the stated guidelines--what you should also understand is that this is a public forum that other people goto to obtain and digest reliable information. Your high volume of posts really is starting to erode the quality and enjoyment of the site for OTHER readers and posters. Your points are often off-topic, rambling, and borderline incoherent. For example, it’s simply not relevant to talk about a 364 hour snow forecast on a blog post about climate change in the DC area. Or to persistently tell everyone every thought/hope/and dream you have for the future of the world.

One suggestion I have is for you to limit yourself to one post per thread. Perhaps jot down your thoughts on a notepad, collect them, and then consolidate them into one post that readers can either skip or peruse, once they see your name attached.

Given other recent posts I've seen, I'm clearly not the only person who is growing tired of your act. I'm sure you're a perfectly nice fellow and I hope you continue posting. Please just cut down the volume of posts and stick to the topics being discussed. I think this will improve the enjoyment and usefulness of the site for everyone, maybe even you.

Posted by: danog224 | January 17, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Glad to read the Zone Forecast idea is a hit. Jason deserves the credit! And, yes let's wait to get through the mess tonight and tomorrow before looking ahead to what is still a storm with no guarantee of effecting us. Remains to be discussed, and watched yes, but not just yet. Confidence in Friday onward (forecasting) is very low.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I've been sitting on my deck since 3 am and I can tell you this- it's cold. Update- if the 33z Guatemalan verifies we may see snow or no snow on Friday. Very interesting. Come on Guatemalan model!!!!

Posted by: Bobmiller3 | January 17, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Like the zonal forecast as well - Jason and all of CWG, your dedication and innovation continues to impress. I really appreciate it.

Posted by: novajeffc | January 17, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Echoing the appreciation for the breakdown in forecast information.

During last week's "storm," I recommended this site to the Front Office staff in the PW school where I teach. They had the highest praise for you all after reading the reports.

Keep up the great work and be warm!

Posted by: aquarnnr | January 17, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

All: In case you haven't noticed, there is someone on here using the name "Bobmiller3" and he/she is making unecessary sarcastic remarks and I just want you to be aware that Bobmiller3 is different than BobMiller2 (me).

Thanks,
BobMiller2

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 17, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@danog - +1 I'm getting tired of the "wishcasting" as well, and it takes away from the value of the content. Until there is a mute button, self-restraint will have to do.

Posted by: BraveNewHalfSmoke | January 17, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

@danog224

Have you seen the gfs 360 hours out?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 17, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@BobMiller3

Being an imposter is a violation of posting rules. Future comments impersonating Bob will be deleted. Bob has stated that he has gotten the message about overposting and staying on topic. Thanks.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

whoever bobmiller3 is...its hilarious.

I really like the zones thanks cwg

Posted by: fortheglory | January 17, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

LOL @BobMiller3. Thought the @BobMiller2 personal blog stuff ended yesterday

Posted by: LoudounSouth | January 17, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work CWG, the zone forecasting is smart and it's very helpful. Here's hoping we get a big storm soon, I need another few days off :)

Posted by: britinva | January 17, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Likewise, I think the zone approach is particularly helpful in the context of a "mixed bag" storm, which in my mind, is probably the most difficult type of storm to predict given the DC area's location. The line always seems to come close to the city during active winters down here, not dissimilar from the tendency in warmer winters for the precip line to often follow the Mass Pike.

I'm also going to side with those that would rather see an all-rain or all-snow event, especially in light of PEPCO's performance over the past year.

At least South Florida beckons on Wednesday (sometimes, business meetings are a very good thing!)

--Jamie Y (aka Weather Checker)

Posted by: JamieYPotomac | January 17, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

If BobMiller or BobMiller1 start posting, would BobMiller2 be banned as an impostor? Anybody know those guys?

Posted by: BraveNewHalfSmoke | January 17, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

18Z NAM shows a more interesting (and larger) event for this weekend than the GFS. If nothing else, it's been an interesting winter, one that just keeps missing us in terms of snow.

Also, BobMiller3 is not an imposter, it's just funny.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

A friend turned my on to the CWG blog and it is now my turn to source for accurate weather reporting in the DC metro area. I especially found today's post helpful with the zones and the FedCast (the first time I had seen that) -- although the only way for me to get out of work is a full shutdown of the federal government. What a great way to easily see what's happening in my area and how it will affect me. Thanks CWG!

Posted by: jbrickey | January 17, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

CWG,how does your school cast work? The 1 and a half apples make sense if you live in Bethesda. But if you live in Damascus, where we're going to get hit hard by ice and freezing rain, we should have more apples. Thus, your apples should be based on the hardest hit towns because as you know, if Damascus get hit hard, and Bethesda gets none, the County is still obligated to CLOSE SCHOOLS (more apples).

Can you have apples for different counties? Considering DCPS NEVER Closes? (former DCPS teacher here).


Here is my prediction: Montgomery County Public Schools closes schools tomorrow becuase of the uncertainty of this storm.

Love CWG, pumps me up to read weather!!

Posted by: RJ16 | January 17, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Warrenton seems to be in either Zone 2 or Zone 3... I'm not sure from looking at it.

Thoughts?

Posted by: LadyMac | January 17, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan5 - Awesomeness! I think the dude's sarcasm filter is COMPLETELY offline.

@mclaram1 - Amen. I hardly think @BobMiller2 should be throwing the terms "lame" and "stupid" around about other folks, let alone other meteorologists (no matter what their motives are).

@dcg35 - Again, AMEN. Nothing like derailing the current discussion by looking out 96+ hours into Model Fantasyland...

@danog24 - WOW, you said it even better than I did yesterday, my friend. God bless you for your on-point forthrightness.

@BraveNewHalfSmoke - Now THAT might be worth the old college try...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 17, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

CWG - Many have said it, but I'll also chime in that the forecasting by zones was a particularly nice idea, as it narrows the vast DC metro region down and gives folks the weather info most appropriate to where they live. Please continue the zone forecasting. Tailor the zones and zone boundaries according to the specific storm, etc. All in all - a stroke of genius of an idea. -- Zone 2 resident

Posted by: creativekev | January 17, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Because of the ice factor, I'm hoping this one starts moving out to sea. I love snow...but I can't STAND ice storms!

Posted by: parksndc | January 17, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The one thing about the zones is that there really are such variations even within those zones. We have snowfall and in Old Town Alexandria you can barely see the stuff, while up the hill in Braddock Heights there's an inch or two on the ground. And that goes double for Fairfax County--what's going on in Annandale vs. Centreville for example.

As for bobmiller2, I wish he'd take the wishcasting over to the weenies at Accuweather's forums. We get enough nonsense of that kind on the TV channels--that's why I stick to this site and to lurking on the Americanwx forum--and I wouldn't recommend bobmiller2 try posting THERE!

Posted by: concepcion611 | January 17, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Kudos on the zone idea. It keeps me grounded about the possibility for no school so I'm not totally grumpy when I wake up in the morning to no delay or cancelation!

Posted by: soccergla | January 17, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@concepcion611 - Excellent point on the AmericanWx Forums. I've learned SO much about reading and interpreting the models over on that site. (I believe CWG's Wes Junker has worked that site and its predecessor EasternWx Forums for many years.) And like you, I also simply LURK there - to wade in with with the AmWx long-timers with an uninformed (read that, WEENIE) opinion or observation there is akin to lowering a cow into the velociraptor paddock...

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 17, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@RJ16

The SchoolCast, by necessity, has to generalize. You're right that DC rarely closes or delays, so it applies less to DC than other systems in the given zones. DC - except for a really big storm - is typically one apple.

@concepcion611

You raise a good point. There will tend to be some variability even within zones.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@LadyMac

Warrenton is zone 2, but on the border of Zone 3 just to the north. I'd expect some iciness there.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the zones they are helpfull out here. We usually go by Hagerstown to get some idea of what to expect, please keep up the great work.

Posted by: Thurmont1 | January 17, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

you guys sure fullfilled my request in an earlier post where i asked if you could show the green, pink and white snow maps with timeline, etc. The zone you guys have done works well! Thx again for that.

Still hoping you guys can answer my question of if this storm will be a plowing and salting event in Zone 1? Or will most of the mix/snow be washed away by the morning commute?

Posted by: KRUZ | January 17, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why anyone would go anywhere else for info on the weather. When I quote CWG I always amaze everyone with my accuracy.

Is there a Pulitzer for weather coverage?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 17, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Bobmiller2 or any other bobmiller out there continue to post. love hearing about these long range models, very interesting to me. If one has a problem very easy to not read your post.

Selfishly hoping for a delay or no school tomorrow and lets go canadian model.

Posted by: VAresident2 | January 17, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for 5:00PM update. Reads nasty for us Zone 2 residents.
Tomorrow morning keep in mind that most dangerous action might simply be getting out the door to your vehicle. Main roads will be likely be treated but not your driveway & sidewalks.
What's the CWG confidence level on this now? Any chance of a bust; precip doesn't start falling until after midnight & by then it's all rain?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 17, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@CWG Also like the zone forecasting, but have a feeling the cold air is going to hold on quite a bit longer in many areas of zone 2 due to wet bulb temps (can you guys discuss wet bulb temps a bit for everyone?). Here in southern Carroll County, the temp is currently 28, which would be a wet bulb temp of around 24 (if my math is right). Most forecasts I've seen have freezing rain changing to rain between 9AM and Noon here and in Howard County. Curious why you guys think it may occur as early as 3AM?

Thanks for the analysis...as always.

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 17, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

What is the forecast for RFK stadium? I need to make sure I spread some salt so I don't sprain myself.

Posted by: BenOlsensAnkle | January 17, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Both NAM and GFS (18Z runs) look interesting for Friday.

Posted by: bdeco | January 17, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Jason,

Any chance we can get the live minute by minute "modelcasting" tonight? Would be interesting to see what they say about the switch from frozen precipitation to plain rain.

Great write up today. Thanks!

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 17, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Those of us who are in the eastern suburbs really appreciate the zones. Often we do get different accumulations than DC proper. Thanks, CWG. I really like this blog and have to say I'm a bit disappointed to see so much mean spirit directed at other posters. I don't like every poster's comments either, but I just scroll through those. They're easy enough to identify.

Posted by: SubRosa2 | January 17, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@ bdeco "Both NAM and GFS (18Z runs) look interesting for Friday."

If you like those two models for Friday, check out the Canadian. O' Canada...that would be a monster storm Friday...if the cold air would hold!

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 17, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

jason, CWG,
i see this thing is supposed to start out as snow and change to sleet overnight, then to rain etc...which would wash away all the snow. that would be quite a waste of snow, imo...

any chance of it staying as snow the whole time in southeastern zone 2 (falls church)?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 17, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The exponential growth of anti-poster comments on this blog is making the CWG site more annoying than useful - take it elsewhere! All of y'all's middle-school snarkiness is far more annoying than any one poster's inane but weather related comments. If you want to keep attacking posters, please, use your energy on the individucasters - the ones who want hyper-specific forecasts and advice so that they can plan their trips.

Here's a quick reference guide for all the nit-picking newbies:
"Nowcasting," or giving the temperature/other details about the weather in one's front yard has long been practiced on this CWG site.

"Wishcasting," or hoping for snow or other major weather events (like breaking heat records), is another long-tolerated and well documented practice on this CWG site.

What is my wishcast for tonight?? That KRUZ won't have to work tonight but will have to prep the plow for next weekend!!

Posted by: kolya02 | January 17, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

^ +1 The dogs want some snow to play in, it's about time to give them what they want (they get everything else they want anyway).

Posted by: deeeeeep18 | January 17, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jason & CWG.

Fauquier County closes schools at the drop of a hat, so I won't be surprised to see that we're school-less tomorrow - even though we're in Zone 2.

Thanks.

Posted by: LadyMac | January 17, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

LadyMac - I know exactly what you mean regarding Fauquier Co Schools. And with the latest model run trending colder (colder surface temps may stick around later into tomorrow morning), I am thinking it a much better than 50% chance that they close schools there.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@CWG any comment on dlo's wet bulb comment? Will it stay colder longer? Thanks!

Posted by: Camacho_for_President | January 17, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wjunker | January 17, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

No school for Howard County tomorrow!!!!!

Oh wait... I just graduated college.

Growing up sucks. Is it sadistic to hope for a fully frozen event tonight?

Posted by: bbirnbau | January 17, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

re: will it stay colder longer?

Per the 5:00 p.m. update at the top of the post, we think there's a chance it stays colder longer at the surface, which increases ice risk for morning commute (esp w of I-95).

@walter

Having said that, no chance this stays all snow because of warm air moving in aloft. Still think the changeover from snow to ice happens pretty quickly in Falls Church (zone 2).

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree about @bob miller2. He does not seem to have curtailed his comments as asked and I am much less likely to visit this site if I have to wade thru 10 of his posts twice daily. If I were his parents, I would be concerned that all this computer time is taking him away from his schoolwork...

Posted by: weatherdude | January 17, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Camden
you posted you wouldn't be surprised if they closed schools here. I know that is no prediction, just a comment.
But to where does "here" refer?

Posted by: tryingtochill | January 17, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Great day of striper fishing at 301 Bridge, caught 36, 14 were between 25-34 lbs, buddy got 24, 7 between 22-31 lbs. CWG, I request u keep the wind away 4 the next 2 months.
Looks like the usual mid winter storm 4 our area, mostly rain. This is the type of precip. we usually get from our winter storms. Some people seem 2 think that every storm will be snow, but most of the time it isn't. Time 2 stop living in last yrs winter.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 17, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

VaTechBob - That's a lot of fish.
Do you notice any relationship at all between fish feeding activities & incoming storms?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | January 17, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Just saw first snowflakes in Leesburg.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Jason-CapitalWeatherGang Can you explain wet bulb temps and how to calculate so that everyone reading understands?

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 17, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

can someone keep me updated on weather conditions in montgomery county please? my school goes by moco and i live in alexandria...thanks

Posted by: fortheglory | January 17, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Here Here Koyla02

Weatherdude lighten up on bobmiller2. there are a lot worse things out there than someone watching models and commenting.

Posted by: VAresident2 | January 17, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hear Hear Koyla02

Weatherdude lighten up on bobmiller2. there are a lot worse things out there than someone watching models and commenting.

Posted by: VAresident2 | January 17, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

@poorteacher

Thanks for the nice note. No modelcasting tonight, but Dan is going to be providing "nowcast" updates on what's happening as precip develops-- which it's starting to in spots.

@DLO1975

Here's a great link on calculating wet bulb temperature: http://theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/170/ (wet bulb temp represents the temp the air will fall to after "full" evaporative cooling has occurred, more here: http://www.tpub.com/content/aerographer/14269/css/14269_53.htm ). Wet bulbs this evening probably in the upper 20s.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Moderate sleet mixed with some snow here in downtown, Thomas Circle!

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | January 17, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

VT Bob- congrats. Any of the mets know if there is any truth to a low pressure system making the fish more active or why that might be? I've always heard that was the case. Thanks.

Posted by: Bobmiller3 | January 17, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@Jason-CapitalWeatherGang Thanks. Based on that, the wet bulb temp here in Eldersburg, MD would be about 23 degrees (based on a current temp of 27). It will take some time to errode that kind of starting temp!

Posted by: DLO1975 | January 17, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

You all need to put a sock in it. Especially you, weatherdude and ToBeBlunt. Clearly your endless complaints and criticism is annoying some folks. If you two want to call each other and talk about it over the phone, then fine, but please don't do it here.

Thanks!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | January 17, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Very light -- I'll call it freezing drizzle falling just south of Old Town Alexandria. Not hitting frozen but freezing on the roof of my parked car. Emphasize it's extremely light.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | January 17, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else seeing frozen precip?

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | January 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Looks the the radar is trying to fill in in central virginia up through NOVA- the sooner this starts, and the lower we can get ground temperatures to start off at (See wet bulb conversation) the tougher it's going to be to get rid of the low level cold tomorrow morning.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Firedragon, generally fish bite better b4 a front, especially cold fronts, with stripers at 301 the colder the weather the better the fishing. The warm water tends 2 bring the fish into the discharge, not so sure if the fronts effect them there, as much as the warmer water.
To follow up on my preivous post about rain being the primary prec. in the winter, the av. tot. prec. Dec-Feb is 8.88" at Reagan of which 15-16" being snow. Allowing for about 1" of prec. = 10" of as snow, that means that 82% of the prec. is rain & 18% is snow. So in general, only 1 in 5 storms r snow storms.
That's why we shouldn't get so excited about every storm being a snow storm. Most of the time their mostly rain or freezing rain events. This really a tough area 4 snow lovers.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 17, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

300 sq ft-

Still just some very light snow/flurries in Leesburg, been going on for about an hour now. Nothing on the ground yet.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Been snowing for a short while in Columbia, no mixing yet.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey people, instead of picking on commenters who actually post about the weather, why don't you LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW and see what's going on outside.

So what if you have to scroll through long comments - what, is your mouse finger going to get sore?

Get over it, get outside, and enjoy the storm.

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | January 17, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Hi Everyone... I got some calls over the last few weeks... it appears that CWG is not the pessimistic group of "snow-haters" that I initially thought they were. The folks that called me made me realize that wes and everyone here at CWG have an excellent track record of predicting storms pretty far in advance (when the pattern is right). So I am gonna go ahead and read and collaborate here and hope to see a good one come along... thanks for the calls- for those that reached out... sorry to CWG (really this time) and good job on the last two storms (I have been following closely)! I have to say that I was fooled by those Accuweather Bozos who CLEARLY hype storms to get more hits on their FB pages... That was fun for about two weeks. Now I really want to learn what to look for in the long range patterns so that I know what to look at when I read the models. Sincerely, jac8949

Posted by: jac8949 | January 17, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@4seamed - nice. We started with a little snow, then mix, now it's all sleet here. I think this one may just over
perform.

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | January 17, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

sleet in 22191 (Woodbridge near Potomac Mills) have to say i wouldn't mind a school delay in the morning =)

Posted by: lisajulia | January 17, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Regarding schools, someone told me recently that many union school bus drivers have it in their contract that if a winter weather advisory is up, they don't drive. Period. Too much risk of being personally sued. Can anyone confirm or deny for local counties? Answer would sure make figuring out what the schools will do easier.

Posted by: biketraveller22 | January 17, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

now salting my municipality... all ice right now, has been icing the past hour. looks like a looong night for me tonight, might be pullin an all nighter. keep us updated cwg as to when this might be switching to rain ill be checkin back on my phone.

Posted by: KRUZ | January 17, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Note- we have a new post up. Click here

@jac8949

Thanks for the note.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 17, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Snowing decently, ground covered in Leesburg.

Posted by: 4seamed | January 17, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I loved the zoned forecast and schoolcast.

I think schoolcast should have had a donut hole for dc public schools saying - not a chance dcps opens even a minute late.

And I predict that all the local systems (except dc) will be on a two hour delay at least.

Posted by: alertcitizen1 | January 17, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Feeling a little emboldened, aren't we @BobMiller2, since 2 or 3 folks actually came to your defense??

Interesting how you feel that you can tell others to suck on a sock when YOUR hyper-posting, renowned formatting sins (e.g., bolding your comments when only CWG'ers should be doing that) and sharing of other non-relevant inanities have warranted several warnings and chides from CWG powers-that-be in recent weeks. Tsk, tsk...

Say what you will - my "endless complaints and criticisms" leveled at you have been validated by many commenters several times over, yesterday and today. If you're listening and capable of learning, you will indeed dial it back a few notches, as CWG admins and other commenters have politely asked - SEVERAL times.

Posted by: ToBeBlunt | January 17, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

And oh, BTW, it's 31 outside with about a 2-to-1 ratio of moderate sleet and light snow...

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

Love Love Love the zones, Thanks much! I learn so much from this blog. I am here in sunny AZ, watching carefully since I fly back into DC tomorrow. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog!!

Posted by: soleil2000 | January 17, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

PWC schools closed. It looks like most of it is in Zone 1. Ice and accidents closed 95 down in Triangle.

Posted by: lisajulia | January 17, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm in NW Ffx., so I'm in the western half of Zone 2. This really bites in terms of the ice, and not knowing what the dodos at FCPS are going to do. I have a teacher in the family, and she's refusing to drive to work in the ice, even if school opens (I've had to go to school in this county before, even when we had inches of solid ice covering the roadways, and the cops thought it was insane!). I'm assuming there will be at least a two hour delay, though, but a cancellation is possible (If there is still ice at 9 AM (Per the forecast), then the buses can't/shouldn't be driving anyhow, and school will need to be/should be canceled). This is really dicey here, but as usual, thanks CWG for doing a great job of laying down a very concise, location specific, time-frame based forecast ;-)

Posted by: TheAnalyst | January 17, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Chantilly, Fairfax County, not doing homework. Better be a 2hr delay, or better, closing tomorrow.

Posted by: Secratative | January 18, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I love the weather gang, but I'm a newbie here. Could someone explain the symbolism for the school and gov being closed? If the symbols are highlighted - is that a prediction for closure? Or is it predicting the likelihood of them being open?

Also, I live in Springfield, and I'm not sure if I'm Zone 1 or 2. Can't really tell from the map.

I think this is the best and most interesting weather site for the area, keep up the good work.

Posted by: Elly59 | January 18, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | January 18, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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