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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/26/2011

Forecast: Decent weekend before rain risks

By Ian Livingston

Near 70 on Monday with storm threat late

posted at 5:00 a.m., updated at 11:00 a.m.

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


Near average temps w/ a good amount of sun. Oh yeah, waaaay less wind than Friday!
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Clouds with some sun. Near 50. | Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low-to-mid 30s. | Tomorrow: Increasing clouds. Shower late? Mid-to-upper 50s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


The last storm's rainfall was somewhat spotty and not that much overall (i.e., 0.33" at both National and Dulles). While we could use more rain, I'm personally digging the idea of a mostly dry weekend! Today feels downright serene when compared to the wind we just faced as highs rise near 50. Then it's higher 50s tomorrow before a shower threat arrives late. As we wrap up February, we could be looking at more readings near 70 degrees and maybe even another thunderstorm threat. The changeable pattern continues... Welcome to spring?

Snow Potential Index: 0 (↓) - As we head toward Mar., nothing on the horizon. Will the SPI rise again this season?

The SPI is a daily assessment of snow accumulation potential 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 (Saturday): Periods of sunshine are possible, though some clouds -- hopefully mainly high level -- pass by during day. The wind of yesterday is just a memory (unless you're cleaning up from it) with much lighter breezes around 5-10 mph from the west and south. Highs reach near 50. Confidence: High

Tonight: Some more clouds scoot across the sky, but as with during the day, with any luck they'll be mostly high and thin. Any wind is quite light as lows fall to the low-and-mid 30s most spots, maybe only upper 30s downtown. Confidence: High

How about Sunday? Another risk of showers and thunderstorms on the horizon?

Tomorrow (Sunday): There might be some sunny breaks around during the first part of the day, but the overall story is one of increasing cloudiness as moisture begins to pool ahead of a storm gathering well to the west. A mild flow of air, from the south and southwest, helps temperatures rise into the mid-50s to near 60. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The risk of showers grows as the evening progresses and there's a decent shot of seeing a handful pass over the area during the night. Any rain that falls should be relatively light as lows reach the mid-40s to near 50. Mild winds from the south continue. Confidence: Medium-High


On Monday, another strong storm is set to pass to our northwest and it should have a hefty punch of warmth ahead of it. Skies likely break during the day, helping temperatures rise to near 70 or even above. By afternoon or evening, we'll be watching a cold front pushing east through the mountains that threatens to drop some scattered downpours at the very least. If the timing is right, we could be looking at another early-season severe weather risk. Confidence: Medium

Monday night may still feature a rain risk through around midnight, depending on the speed of the front. Once it passes, we're probably staring down some more gusty winds -- I'll keep my fingers crossed they don't reach levels of recent (we've had enough right?). Lows range from the upper 30s to mid-40s. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday features high pressure quickly building in behind the "cold" front and there's really not much chilly air behind it, just more seasonal air following a warm day. Under mostly sunny skies, we're probably talking highs near 50 or into the mid-50s. Winds should turn lighter as the day wears on. Confidence: Medium

By Ian Livingston  | February 26, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Warm-up leads to Mon. severe threat


It's awfully strange to let the dog out this morning without the wind trying to take the door off.

The Spring roller coaster seems to be open for business. All aboard! Next stops: warm, cold, rain, snow, wind... who knows?

Posted by: dprats21 | February 26, 2011 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Despite the storms, we're still behind in the rainfall. Might almost be better to call it a "promise" of rain rather than a "threat." The trees here are certainly threatened by the wind, but the garden bed isn't threatened by a good soaking! :-)

Posted by: question42 | February 26, 2011 6:30 AM | Report abuse

march 6:

that's 10" of snow! (equivalent to an inch of rain for your garden, if you prefer your moisture in that format.) the 2m temps show juuuust barely above freezing at ground level.

i'm not sure what that means for accumulations. not sure if the snow itself would/could bring temps down, or if it would stick if it fell fast enough or what.

if those images were for 24 hrs away instead of 204, would you be forecasting snow that would have trouble sticking at first - especially on the pavement etc...?

that 2 meter temperature stuff got me thinking about WHEN during the day the snow falls. and then i noticed that the model does not acknowledge/reflect any kind of diurnal cycle. i don't know about 5000 ft in the air, but i know for a fact temps down here at 2 meters fluctuate not-insignificantly from day to night. why doesn't that show up in the models? (or does it and i'm not picking up on it?)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 26, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse


the other problem is that that storm would start off as a quarter to a half an inch of RAIN.

Unfortunately, I think that would really hold down accumulations. But hey, there's still lots of time for that to change ;-)!

I would be interested to hear CWG's take on this...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 26, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Looks like PA Phil had the right idea!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | February 26, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Walter, the 2m temp you show at 204 hours is at the end of the period that means during most of the period, the temps are quite a bit higher than that. At 192 hrs, the temps is almost plus 10 and the rain is just starting. ( If the forecast was at 36 hrs instead of 204, I still wouldn't be very bullish.

Posted by: wjunker | February 26, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was supposed to be sunny! I haven't seen one minute of sunshine since dawn. Is this overcast ever going to break?

Posted by: HenryFPotter | February 26, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

HenryFPotter, we indicated some clouds but it's been a little cloudier than thought. They're rather thin and high and seem to be thinning more based on satellite so with any luck there will be some breaks this afternoon.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 26, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Where can I find the precip total for DCA so far this year? thanks in advance

Posted by: weatherdude | February 26, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The sun is trying hard to break through thin cloudcover over Centreville.
Come on sunshine!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 26, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Monday looks to be an interesting day, especially for warm weather lovers (like me). The temp forecast depends on where you check. CWG says "near 70 or even above it". News Channel 8 - or is it TBD or is it ABC 7 (all 3 logos were on the screen at the time) - say a high of 76 (!). says 66, Weatherbug says "near 70", channel 4 says 67, channel 9 says 67, channel 5 says 67. So not sure if we'll see 70 or not. WJLA/8/TBD is the outlier, thinking we may flirt with 80!

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 26, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse


I'm just as big a snowhound as you, but I'm afraid we've seen our last. I suspect March 6 will be all rain, and a lot of it. I'm now on the "let's have a mild summer" wagon now...

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 26, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

weatherdude, you can find everything through 2010 here. For 2011 you'll need to go here and select the "Preliminary Monthly Climate Data (CF6)" radio button on "Product", then select the airport you want, then select "Most Recent" for this month or "Archived" plus an older month and hit "go".

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 26, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone around here know how the NWS would be affected in the event of a government shutdown?

Posted by: megamuphen | February 26, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

rwalker66, guidance as of last night (when this was written) was in the low-to-mid 60s. Now it's creeping up to the mid-and-upper 60s. If we get stuck in the clouds it could hold temps back a bit but 70+ seems quite likely given the low track and fetch of air. For now, here, 70 is just a baseline. If I had to guess I'd say mid-70s is more likely than mid-60s.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 26, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

TBAlexandria, we'll be quite hard pressed to get any snow in March with a +NAO (no high near Greenland). Right now we have a +NAO but there are indications is falls to neutral or negative in about a week. That's no better than an educated guess though. The sample of Mod/Strong Ninas is small (14 seasons), but there is some indication of a bit of a spike in snow days around mid-March. I'd usually be closing the book on winter about now but I think there is still some hope for snow falling at least, especially north and west of the city.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 26, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm with question42. As long as we're down on rain and rain is not forecast Tuesday night, it should be promise of rain. ;-D

Posted by: kperl | February 26, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

What time of Monday do we see the severe weather

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 26, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

TV mets are talking as if severe weather Monday is a near-certainty.

The most likely time seems to be 3 pm to 8 pm...I have an afternoon errand to Ballston.

Actual threat may depend on instability-promoting clear weather earlier in the day...we are supposed to be in a well-defined warm sector.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 26, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

An errand Monday, Bombo? Gee, they must have cancelled the dance.

I agree that, all else equal, the less the cloud cover in the warm sector, the better the chances for convection, unless an inversion sets up....and then, of course, sometimes the afternnon heating punches the boundary-layer up through the inversion.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 26, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

weatherfreak1994, you asked,
"What time of Monday do we see the severe weather?"

in the afternoon or evening.
bombo47jea, you said,
"The most likely time seems to be 3 pm to 8 pm...I have an afternoon errand to Ballston."

at least it's not happening on a tuesday; that would interfere with your dances!
megamuphen, you asked,
"Does anyone around here know how the NWS would be affected in the event of a government shutdown?"

i was wondering the exact same thing. I searched all over the internet and couldn't find any info. it would be a shame not to have the NWS.
weatherdude, you asked,
"Where can I find the precip total for DCA so far this year?"

This website should have all the info you need:

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 26, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

SPC talking about strong winds again on Monday. *Sigh.*

SPC AC 260827

0227 AM CST SAT FEB 26 2011

VALID 281200Z - 011200Z


[I cut out part here]


Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 26, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"Two High-priority Climate Missions Dropped from NASA’s Budget Plans"

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 26, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Just saw channel 7's 6pm news and Steve Rudin is calling for a high of 74 on Monday, but he said it could be even warmer than that!

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 26, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

the way the daffs and crocus and early Magnoilias are developing, Id say nature rates this as "Early spring" You might see flakes of snow, but anything sticking? I do not think so

Posted by: pvogel88 | February 26, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The Weather Channel says that almost the whole state of Virginia, D.C, and most of Mryland could see tornadoes, hail, and damaging straight line winds. I like to make videos of severe weather so we will just see what happens

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | February 26, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

The Weather Channel says that almost the whole state of Virginia, D.C, and most of Mryland could see tornadoes, hail, and damaging straight line winds. I like to make videos of severe weather so we will just see what happens

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | February 26, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the reply. any thoughts about the diurnal cycle not showing up on models?

or, just go here. you don't have to enter anything or check any boxes etc...

you can change out the "DCA" part of that link with "IAD" (dulles) or any other three-letter station name to get the corresponding data.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 26, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more that we don't need more high winds, but why is the chance of rain a "risk" that "threatens," especially when we're below average? Something I notice with weather forecasters on the radio and TV -- no matter how much needed or how benign, the prospect of rainfall is often referred to as a "risk."

Posted by: SnowLovr | February 26, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more that we don't need more high winds, but we do need rain -- yet as so often happens on radio and TV forecasts, you refer to the prospect of rain as a "risk" that "threatens." There's an ABC forecaster sometimes heard on WTOP who always refers to the chance of rain as a "risk" -- even during a severe drought a few years ago when flowers, shrubs, and trees were drying up and dying.

Posted by: SnowLovr | February 26, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

You @andrewjohnsonlevine said severe weather on Monday. Alright! Finally. I like severe thunderstorm, but where I live I have only seen a funnel cloud in falls church Va. If u have a facebook please add me so we can talk about weather. :)

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 26, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Re Monday temps: 00Z GFS has @10C (50F) 850mb(@5K ft)temp at 18Z (1 p.m.) Mon. With a strong WSW flow the atmosphere should be well mixed so with anything near a dry adiabatic low level lapse rate adding @25F to the 850mb temp a surface temp of 75F should be quite doable, assuming any convection holds off until after 18Z.

Posted by: buzzburek | February 27, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse

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