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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Forecast: Return of the cold

By Matt Rogers

But more super-warmth Thursday & Friday

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


It's not a bad day, but the return to cold warrants a downgrade from yesterday.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Breezy and colder. Mid-to-upper 40s. | Tonight: Partly cloudy and cold. 22-30. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. 50s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


An ideal world would be one where Mother Nature decided it was spring, flipped the switch, and then we didn't look back. Unfortunately, our climate's idea of seasonal transition is more of a two steps forward and one step back situation. So despite yesterday's surge to 70 degrees, winter is not quite dead yet. At least today's chilly 40s are short-lived with another round of big warming by mid-to-late this week. March is only two weeks away!

Snow Potential Index: 0 → - A mostly quiet period should continue through the weekend.

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

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): A still breezy morning with temperatures at or below freezing around sunrise means that wind chills (as low as 20-25) for your morning commute are not pleasant. But at least we can count on sunny skies with winds gradually diminishing (10-15 mph). Highs in the mid-to-upper 40s are warmer than much of this winter, but can't compete with yesterday's windy warm surge. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Mostly clear skies and cold again with lows in the 20s to around 30 (in the city). Light winds. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): We start to rebuild our warmth with light winds returning from the south and temperatures moving back into the 50s throughout the area. Mostly sunny skies will assist the warming too. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Some clouds are around and overnight temperatures should remain above freezing in almost the entire area. Lows range from the low to upper 30s (warmest in the city). Confidence: Medium-High


Thursday is shaping up to be an excellent day with light winds from the southwest, mostly sunny skies, and highs in the 60s throughout the area. This could be the best day of the week if not for Friday (read ahead!). Thursday night should see partly cloudy skies with mild low-to-mid 40s around the area. Confidence: Medium

Friday aims for our best day of the week with mostly sunny skies, some breezes, and temperatures soaring into the lower 70s. The breezy conditions should not be as severe to trigger a wind advisory like yesterday, but they will still be noticeable. A cold front arrives Friday night and temperatures fall back into the 30s. Confidence: Medium

The weekend heads back to winter again with highs in the 40s to 50s on Saturday and upper 30s to low 40s on Sunday. Saturday night temperatures fall back into the chilly 20s again. Saturday's sky conditions should be mostly sunny and perhaps windy again, while Sunday could see increasing clouds with a chance for rain or snow showers by Sunday night (20-30% chance). Confidence: Low-Medium

President's Day Monday looks to remain on the cold side and there is a chance of rain or snow, but confidence is very low on the details yet as a storm takes shape out in the Midwest.

By Matt Rogers  | February 15, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Warm winds turning chilly
Next: D.C. area snow chances decreasing, not done


Sounds like an early start to DC's mud season is well under way. Love the warmer temps but could live without the mud covered dog every time we go for a walk. Hopefully the rest of the snow will melt soon and things will dry out a little.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | February 15, 2011 6:30 AM | Report abuse

So over the next 10 days or so "back to winter" or "cold" is lower-40s? If it's not snowing I'll take that.

For me cold is just above freezing or below. I don't really see 40s as "cold" per se, but I know it's all relative.

Posted by: superseiyan | February 15, 2011 6:30 AM | Report abuse

My walk to yoga last Tuesday was brutal. It's hard to be bendy when you feel like a popsicle. I hope the winds diminish enough by early evening to make the 40's feel balmier.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 15, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Superseiyan, yes, our normal temperatures are warming now that March is approaching. The normal high today in DC is 46F and by next week, it will be 50F! Of course, the problem this morning is that while the DC airport temperature is above your freezing threshold at 34F, the wind chill is an unpleasant 24F.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

State College PA keeps talking about wintry weather on Mon/Tues, but it sounds like we will be near or south of the boundary so anything from cold rain to a bit milder with showers.

Posted by: eric654 | February 15, 2011 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Eric654, yeah, there are hints on some modeling, like the Euro ensembles, that we could get enough cold in here late Sun or Mon to mix precipitation so I put the low chance in there of something. Model support for anything significant right now is sparse. And you're correct- it would be a bigger story farther north, probably.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

...and so the speculation begins... >:]

Posted by: kolya02 | February 15, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

just got back from my morning snow hunt.

the GFS is showing LOTS of precip coming through here next week: 3 storms from the 21st to the 26th. they still show lots of stupid RAIN. but...they're starting to waffle on that. last night spgass1 pointed out a frame showing snow on the 24th - that's gone back to stupid rain. but now, if you look really closely, (after tons of rain to start) this frame brings snow on the "back end" of the last storm on the 26th:

that's 2-5" of snow. if i'm coming across as desperate, it's because i am. 'tis the season for big wet SNOW! and we're getting "lovely" 50/60s puleeeze... there's plenty of time for "lovely" mild weather in late march and april and may and june... give me winter during winter, please.

CWG, wxperts,
i'm not looking for opinions on anything specific about the storms or the dates or anything like that, but, is there any large-scale, long-range guidance that brings cold back next week? anything about the jet stream or some oscillation? or are we still just counting on "climatology" (which itself is rapidly becoming too warm for snow)?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 15, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey Walter, well after being MIA for Dec-Jan, the La Niña pattern is finally in place over North America. This means that a warm Southeast ridge will prevent us from seeing as much cold weather. However, this pattern is wobbly in that the models sometimes shift the big Aleutian ridge into the Gulf of Alaska, and they sometimes edge some ridging over Greenland (-NAO). These "wobbles" allow us to see some cold air at times, which can introduce some wintry weather chances. Unfortunately, the models struggle with this pattern type, so we get a lot of mixed messages until we get closer to event chances. But I have to say that now we're in full-blown La Niña type weather, the odds of a significant event are low.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

thanks, matt. bring on those "wobbles".

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 15, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

For big winter weather potential, I'd rather have the big blocks from earlier this season, but the "wobbles" are all we have left between now and spring!

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

sure, i guess i would too. but when we had those "big blocks" we never seemed to get precipitation. was that just bad luck? or is there something about the "big blocks" that inhibit precip here? or something about the precip here that erodes the blocks?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 15, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm interested to know if NWS responds about that 78 mph gust in Leesburg Monday around 2:00 p.m. I checked the other NW exurbs stations. Martinsburg/Shepherdstown reported its highest gust of the windstorm in the same timeframe, so it's possible something went through around then. Martinsburg's gust was recorded as 55 mph.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 15, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse NAO trending Negative .. For some reason NOAA's teleconnection indices havent updated in days...

Posted by: pseaby | February 15, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Walter, overall, those blocks were lined up slightly different (and were slightly weaker) than last year when we had them. Therefore, NYC to Boston got what we got last year. Nonetheless, we did very well on the snow front for a strong La Niña winter, which is usually very snow-starved.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Pseaby, NOAA is aware of their problem re: the teleconnections and are working to fix it. Hopefully soon!

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 15, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

any coming storms are gonna have to battle the warm air to our south as they are done with winter. imo because of the south permanent warmup you are gonna need to be north of DC (per usual) to get any real snow the next couple weeks. my snow towel has been officially thrown. not just because i hate snow but also because it just seems highly unlikely at this point as most of this winter should already have pointed out to us.

as hard as its been to get snow all winter now its even harder.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 15, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I smell desperation from the snow lovers and I LOVE it!!

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 15, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

fakedude, your favorite season is not Winter, I take it?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 15, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Next week's weather most likely depends on how much Arctic air moves south of the Canadian border.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 15, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

They can keep that Arctic air up in Canada eh?

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 15, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Since a decent snow chance is basically 0, we sure could use some rain. With all the wind & low humidity recently most of the surface moisture has dried up, not good for spring growing season. With La Nina in full force dry condition will probably cont. into the immediate future.

Posted by: VaTechBob | February 15, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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