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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Forecast: 70s today could challenge record

By Camden Walker

Cold front tonight "reality check"s us back nearer avg

updated at 7:50 a.m. and 9:35 a.m.

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

 

Absolutely spectacular Friday in the 70s prior to (some of you, grr) having a long weekend!
 
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Partly sunny, breezy. 70-76. | Tonight: Partly cloudy, breezy. 40s. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, windy. Low-to-mid 50s. | Sunday: Increasing clouds. 48-54. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

National Airport's record high of 76F could be in play! At least you've got one last chance to shake off your Seasonal Affective Disorder before our 70s and sunshine turns into northwesterly winds tonight as an incoming cold front aims to usher in chillier air. Saturday and Sunday should still be OK, with some sun and temperatures in the 50s -- big winds could reduce your enjoyment a bit. It's the end of our long weekend on Monday into Tuesday that brings the next chance of potential storminess. Rain, snow, or shine? That's a good question...

Snow Potential Index: 3 (↑) - Some increase in snow chances for Tuesday time-frame, but it's tricky to nail down specifics.

 
The SPI is a daily assessment of the potential for accumulating snow for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter
 

Today (Friday): After cloudy skies this morning, sun should gradually emerge with enjoyable 70s for high temperatures today. Also, a sometimes gusty breeze from the southwest in the 5-15 mph range. I don't blame you if you take a long lunch or even the whole day off. Pretty amazing! And don't worry too much about increasing afternoon high clouds that could filter the sun. What I don't like is my allergies already hurting my eyes -- anyone else with early onset? Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: In comes the cold front during the first half of the night. It won't have much in the way of clouds or moisture with it, except for outside smallest chance of a sprinkle. West winds from 10-15 mph begin turning toward the northwesterly direction and may gust up to 25 mph. Low temperatures, while they may feel very chilly, should stay in the milder upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium

Can we salvage the weekend before potential flakes next week? Keep reading...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Only a few periodic clouds between us and the sun. Breezes from the northwest really pick up into the 15-30 mph range with gusts to 40-50 mph. Really though, our temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s are still a touch above average for this time of year -- it is the wind that makes us bundle up a bit. It's so dry out there, watch out for dust in the eyes and small debris blowing around. The very dry air coupled with the strong winds expected have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Fire Weather Watch - meaning the risk of fires is potentially high. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Skies remain mostly clear as winds slowly die down. Temperatures fall toward wintry levels again though -- into the mid-or-upper 20s outside the Beltway, with lower 30s downtown. I really need some of that pollen frozen, Mother Nature, please... Confidence: Medium

Sunday: Partly sunny with lighter winds, but also afternoon clouds really increasing. Still looks precipitation free for the most part. Temperatures rise to around 50, perhaps even mid-50s, despite the clouds battling with our sunshine. Not a bad day to be outdoors. Confidence: Low-Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

Sunday night begins more serious clouding-up. Sprinkles have a 20% chance of falling during evening hours. But more earnest, overcast skies may yield several rain showers (30-40% chance) by sunrise. Temperatures are fairly chilly in the upper 30s to near 40. Confidence: Low-Medium

Monday (President's Day) remains tricky but right now I lean toward the idea it could be a bit damp, cloudy, and chilly. High temperatures could range widely from the mid 40s to mid 50s (perhaps even warmer, if a struggling warm front manages to make its way past DC), yet chances stand now for cool breezes out of the north which further reduces comfort levels. Rain showers (40-50% chance) could intermittently fall during our mostly cloudy day. Confidence: Low

After midnight and heading into Tuesday any rain lingering around may threaten to transition to snow as a second low pressure develops to the west and moves our direction. Where it passes is crucial for snow v. rain prospects and how much of either falls. There's about a 40-50% chance of precipitation, probably focused on the first half of the day. Cold air looms just north, so the risk for snow is real even if it has been warm lately. Highs are probably in the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Low

By Camden Walker  | February 18, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Comments

In Fairfax it is currently 55 degrees at 5:22am. I love it! Oh, and the 70's too that will be showing up later. I predict a minimum of 75 degrees today, since a 20 degree warm up is normal between the overnight "low" and daytime high. Records will definitely be falling today.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Providing this low overcast burns off, that is.

Did we get sprinkles overnight? The streets were damp when I got up.

Posted by: HenryFPotter | February 18, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

6Z GFS shows the tuesday storm still trending south - now it may be too far south... the snow part anyway. it's a 2-part storm where the first part (rain) passes mostly north, the second part passes mostly south. classic "dc hole". it's really pretty incredible how we get mostly missed on both accounts... still gives about 2" of snow, maybe.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/06/images/gfs_pcp_102m.gif

the next storm chance has moved all the way to the weekend, begins as rain, and drops a tiny bit of snow around the 28th...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

What is that Fire Watch Alert from the NWS all about?

Posted by: upland_bill | February 18, 2011 7:27 AM | Report abuse

seeing that walter, makes sense as the cold air to the north comes in behind the 1st low, it is now pushing the second down to our south. Looks like any changeover to snow from the 1st low late mon/tues changes over further north as has been the norm much of this winter.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 18, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, my allergies are almost in full-on April mode. I had to close the windows and, believe it or not, run the AC to filter the air. So I think I will take my long lunch indoors.

Posted by: RRCarlo | February 18, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Where is that precious sunshine.. Looks like London out there.

Posted by: BELLASNOWQUEEN | February 18, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse


Sunshine and sixty
degrees makes my carbon foot
print go tippy-toes.

Posted by: dclioness1 | February 18, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

ian, yesterday, you said,
"petworthlad, the Euro consistently has the best verification scores. It's 'busts' are much more highly publicized than other models. It's been pretty good most of the winter on the whole.

where can one see "verification scores"? i'm curious as to how they do this because the models can show such different things day-to-day and even run-to-run as an event approaches. do they rate/test/verify the predictions from 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 days out?

[and, i'd sure like to see the comparable "verification scores" for j.bastardi's (and CWG's) predictions....]

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

sounds like today's number should go to 11

Posted by: hockeypunk | February 18, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Accublunder is saying maybe flurries on Tues. TWC is calling for a light mix. Another non-event. Glad I put the shovel away.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 18, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

no, camden, not just you with the allergies. i'm all, how could both kids catch a mild cold at the exact same time from two different schoo... heyyyy. and my eyes are itchy. meh. it's worth it, though!

Posted by: ashleyba | February 18, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

It really isn't truly spring until March Madness begins. Don't forget we got a decent shot of snow in March 09, so you never know.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 18, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Issued by The National Weather Service
Baltimore/Washington, MD
Fri, Feb 18, 2011, 12:00 AM EST
... FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A FIRE WEATHER WATCH... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* HUMIDITY... BETWEEN 15 AND 25 PERCENT.

* WINDS... NORTHWEST 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 50 MPH.

* FUEL MOISTURE... LESS THAN 8 PERCENT.


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST TO OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.

Posted by: rmm999 | February 18, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

CWG:
What is going on out there???? It is completely clouded over and cold. It's going to have a very hard time getting to 66, much less 76 unless these clouds go away. If today turns out to be completely clouded over with a high of only 61 I'm going to be very angry...and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. BRB turning into the Hulk.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

ashleyba - thanks, glad I'm not alone!

TBAlexandria - good memory, way to advocate we all remember climatology :)

rmm999 - the fire danger is high. I am glad NWS issued it. Man oh man we need to be careful out there (smokers be careful when discarding!)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@rmm999

Thanks. We posted the fire weather watch at the top of the blog early this morning.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I believe that while, yes, we will struggle with these clouds, we should still get to 70 degrees.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Might have to lower the 10 or take the "Nice Day" tag away.

The Nice Day Sun is awarded for days that are expected to meet the following criteria:

* At least 50% sunshine - it's completely clouded over and satellite shows more clouds moving in!
* Probability of rain less than 20% - it rained!
* High temperatures from 65-85 - could be a struggle
* Dewpoints no higher than 65 -ok
* Wind gusts generally less than 25 mph -ok

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@rwalker66

Better chance of sun emerging this afternoon. Looks mainly cloudy for the next couple hours or so. I agree with Camden, we should still make 70 and I wouldn't call 9 a.m. temps of 54-57 "cold."

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Full Moon walk tonight ... really hoping it clears up.

Posted by: thinksnow | February 18, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's cold if you were expecting low 60s already and bright sunshine with a balmy SW wind.

Posted by: HenryFPotter | February 18, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@rwalker66

*The few, widely scattered sprinkles/drizzle occurred pre 8 a.m.-- so not really relevant. *We'll make 65 without a problem. *Clouds are the bigger issue but looks like we break out of them this afternoon.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

All I know is looking out the window it does not seem like a 10 or a "nice day".

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

rwalker66,
are you really complaining that we might "only" get to 20 degrees above normal instead of a record-setting 30 above normal? it's february. substitute a few words and you could be me complaining that snoverkill "only" brought me 10" of snow on top of the 18" i'd received earlier.

when i saw the clouds this morning i knew we'd have some folks complaining about the heatwave under-performing...

(btw, i agree the "10" and "nice day" seem too much, but it's only 10:00. let's see how it plays out. camden may know something we don't about what's coming later.)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

No Walter, not complaining about that. Like you I just disagree with the 10 and "nice day". Jason says we should break out of the clouds this afternoon. So from 2pm-6pm until the sun goes down it will be a "10" and a nice day? 4 hours does not equal a day. A 10 and "Nice day" badge has always meant a beautiful nice day from the time the sun comes up until it goes down. I would give today more of a 7 or 8.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

its beautiful out here today! with or without the sun, im lovin it! perfect temps, perfect breeze.

the only thing that could make this weekend even better is for monday nights storm to keep moving more and more south of dc. id love to have a full 3 day weekend and it not be ruined by monday night / tues morning winter precip, yuck. Go south and stay south, cmon keep the trend goin.

1 storm to the north the 2nd a complete miss to the south= perfection!

Posted by: KRUZ | February 18, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

the 12z GFS is slightly better for snow than the 6z was - it's more in line with what the 0z showed: 2-5" at the end of the storm. we're almost close enough for this to show up on the NAM. it'll be interesting to see what that's projecting for the storm.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/12/images/gfs_pcp_096m.gif

rwalker66,
ok. fyi, your post at 9:26 reads like complaining that it might not get hot enough today and how that would make you angry. anyway, enjoy the warmth - cause snow's coming next week!

KRUZ,
the further those track south the colder it will be, right? i think you probably want them to miss north.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing partial sunshine downtown and western suburbs should have lots of sun. Afternoon looks great.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

walter

well the 1st low is north of us for the most part thats why itll be rain but that 2nd low has tracked south and even though snow is up to the mason dixon line if it keeps tracking south far enough we could end up being at the very northern tip of the storm which would be colder sure but if it tracks far enough south which it has been trending towards it could end up being snow showers, flurries or even nothin. the 1st storm and cold should help to push the 2nd one further and further south hopefully far enough eventually to miss us completely. theres no way the 2nd low tracks more north at this point so i gotta hope it goes way south!

Posted by: KRUZ | February 18, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

KRUZ, glad you can enjoy the day. Not bad outside!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

amazing temperature gradient across the mid-Atlantic predicted by the 12z NAM for Monday afernoon with near 70 in DC but mid 20's across northern PA: http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/namsvrfcst/images/today/2mt81.gif

that cold air comes plunging south quickly during the evening and the GFS which has the same idea during the day turns us to snow Monday night. A 70 degree day followed by snow at night is tough to do here, but it certainly seems possible.

oh, and the GFS shows highs in the 20's here Tuesday. Quite a roller coaster......

Posted by: foul_throw | February 18, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Today does seem like it will turn out quite nice, but I agree with Walter and rwalker... Today as a whole is only a 10 if we are grading on a curve.

Posted by: megamuphen | February 18, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm lucky enough to be off today. Looks like a good afternoon to do some spring cleaning to the car!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Excellent golf day, except that I'm at the office. I do like winter weather, but I am getting the golfing itch again. Having lived in Tucson for a number of years, I got used to playing golf in Jan and Feb wearing shorts and a golf shirt. Not going to happen here often.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 18, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

yeah the models have def went warmer for monday daytime into the 70s. and then 20s monday night. thats gonaa be a sight to see, lets see if the cold air makes in like the models say, im thinking its unlikely we drop below freezing as long as theres cloud cover.

either way the weather channel just showed us right on the rain / mix line with the snow up towards the mason dixon line down into bmore. i still dont see the accumulating snow scenario playing out.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 18, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Even though I'm a snow lover, it's difficult to hear about a snow chance on a day this glorious. I did not want to come back from lunch.

Posted by: veronica7 | February 18, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Satellite pic shows the cloud break was just a break and clouds are now moving back in. A big blob of them going all the way to Ohio, which means they won't clear our area until close to the sun going down. Looking out my office window here in Fairfax it's getting clouded over again and some clouds even have dark gray bottoms. So let the records show the "10" and "nice day" lasted from 12-3pm, 3 hours.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 18, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I am very satisfied my forecast verified today and we did indeed break the record high temperatures at DCA & IAD -- despite those clouds that were so worrying everyone ;) Everyone able to enjoy the day today? Plans to eat al fresco tonight?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 18, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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