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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Forecast: Plentiful clouds before storminess

By Camden Walker

Fri night rain/freezing rain; a few flakes Sat and next week?

posted at 5:00 a.m., updated at 9:00 a.m.

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


Some sun & largely worry-free. Low 40s possible with precipitation holding off until overnight. Acceptable!?
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly cloudy. Near 40. | Tonight: Wintry mix to light freezing rain (N&W) or rain (S&E). Low-to-mid 30s. | Tomorrow: Light rain early, a few p.m. flakes? Mid-30s to around 40. | Sunday: Milder & sunny. Mid-to-upper 40s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


It's nice enough today & nice enough Sunday. But we have some weather in between! Tonight, well after evening rush is over, we could see a few sleet pellets and freezing rain that should change to rain -- slowest north and west of town. As the rain ends tomorrow, a few more flakes could enter into the picture, but not guaranteed. The same north & west areas (Loudoun, Frederick, northwestern MoCo, Hagerstown) that could experience a slight glaze from overnight ice tonight, also have a better chance at seeing Saturday afternoon flakes. Sunday sunshine looks sweet, but possible wintry weather next week?

Snow Potential Index: 3 (→) - Fri night wintry mix is non snowy - light rain, some sleet and freezing rain. Sat p.m. flakes? More next week?

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

Clouds: Latest mid-Atlantic infrared satellite loop, courtesy Unisys. Click here to expand. Refresh page to update. See more maps on our Weather Wall

Today (Friday): It's lookin' pretty decent today! It'll be dry but fairly cloudy. Any sunshine is increasingly blocked by thickening afternoon clouds. Temperatures near and past 40 still feel relatively mild. Precipitation should hold off until well after dark, so that should keep you worry-free for your last workday of the week! Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Light precipitation after 9 or 10 p.m. moves in south of town, probably closer to midnight north. There may be some cold spots north and west of D.C. that would be cold enough for some freezing rain glaze (maybe a few hundredths of an inch). Sleet is possible at the start too. But most of the region should see most of the precipitation in the form of rain. Low temperatures are marginal for any freezing, in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Another winter weather threat next week? Really? Keep reading...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Looks wet, especially early. There's about an 80-90% chance of precipitation though a good portion of the day may end up dry. High temperatures could hover in the colder mid-30s in those typical spots north & west of D.C., but most of us should make near or around the 40 degree. Upper air conditions could be cold and turbulent enough to mix in light snow as the storm pulls away, but don't panic -- maybe a coating on a few grassy surfaces. Behind this semi-wintry system, winds may pick up and chill you somewhat. Bundle up for late afternoon, if venturing out. Confidence: Low

Tomorrow night: Stars may be difficult to see through the somewhat substantial, persistent cloud cover. Upper 20s to lower 30s for low temperatures seem reasonable and near average for this time of year, but the wind chill should be noticeable. Just keep that in mind. Confidence: Medium-High

Super Bowl Sunday: Looking much better -- sunshine and fairly mild air for once! High temperatures in the mid-to-upper 40s might even coax you outdoors. Maybe plan a walk at least, prior to the Super Bowl festivities? Ok, I suppose grilling will be easier in these temperatures too. So have at it! Confidence: Medium-High


On Sunday night we still celebrate the absence of Arctic air, but really upper 20s to lower 30s for low temperatures are to be expected this time of year. I will take it! Only a few clouds around, making it mostly clear overall. Confidence: Medium

Monday Clouds may filter the sun, but it's not a bad day if you can savor indirect sunlight. High temperatures could approach the balmy upper 40s to lower 50s! There are some indications a wave of upper-level energy may swing by Monday night, potentially dropping some snow well out ahead of the larger system looming later in the week. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tuesday, like all recent Tuesdays, offers a (mainly late day) teasing chance of rain, snow, and maybe other forms of wintry precipitation as the next storm system gathers to the southwest. But as it appears now, high temperatures could still rise up near 40 precluding much -- if not all -- of any wintry precipitation from accumulating. Or it could be all rain. Many possible scenarios remain. Confidence: Low

By Camden Walker  | February 4, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Cold, clouds increase Friday
Next: Snowmageddon: One year later...


Morning Camden! Minor correction because I'm nitpicky that way -- it's Loudoun rather than Loudon :-)

Posted by: natsncats | February 4, 2011 5:14 AM | Report abuse

And what a county Loudoun is!

As the Post notes this morning, it grew 84% in the last decade!

Posted by: jaybird926 | February 4, 2011 6:27 AM | Report abuse

To all snowlovers, I've got better news for you today! It's Friday!! Enjoy your day! :)

Posted by: RedCherokee | February 4, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the GFS and the Euro it appears the bugger event is slated for Wed night/ Thurs, not Tuesday night/ Wed.

Posted by: bbirnbau | February 4, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

come on Wed night/Thursday produce some significant snow 4-6. That should rile up the anti snow crowd on a Friday LOL>

Posted by: VAresident2 | February 4, 2011 7:21 AM | Report abuse

We want to hear about the Wed, Thursday storm. Rain storms are not fun to talk about.

Posted by: dannythe357 | February 4, 2011 7:34 AM | Report abuse

i understand some weather will happen btwn now and wednesday night....

jason, wes,
am i correct to say the 0z GFS gave us pretty much the perfect track for snow (10-12") for that wed/thur storm? any further west and snowfanity mixes in. any further east and qpf drops. the 6z moved slighly east and seems to put us at 8".

8" is still pretty good. so, i'd still be happy to "order now" to "lock in" that solution. does the CWG website have a link to where i can place that order?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

walter in fallschurch

while your at it put an order in for me too

Posted by: VAresident2 | February 4, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Both the 00Z and 06Z gfs give us a pretty good track for snow bu the European model has a snow to rain track that would give us more rain than snow. The ensembles have a couple of member that keep the storm off the coast.

Posted by: wjunker | February 4, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Chicago's 20.2" qualifies as its third largest snowfall ever? That would only rank fifth at Dulles, and they've only been keeping records for 50 years! (It would be second for National.) Why should Washington have storms that are on a par with Chicago's?

Posted by: lhaller | February 4, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

How does Baltimore look for Saturday? Any chance of ice on the roads between here and there at any point?

Posted by: cassander | February 4, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

My take on the middle-of-the-week storm next week...

Wait 'til Monday. We'll have a better idea of what it's doing then. :)

Posted by: MKoehl | February 4, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse


You're too funny. But the prognosticators and pontifications will emit nonetheless. This is what we live for.

But if I had to be brutally honest, I think the European is leading the way with this one. No blocking, typical La Nina track. However, if we can get a Euro-esque track that blends with the GFS we might be in business in terms of a nice heavy wet snow. This actually looks a lot like the 93 storm (nothing close in terms of strength) in terms of its track. If it can create its own cold, with a track right over us or just S/E we might be ok.

But I'm still pessimistic. Go GFS.

Posted by: bbirnbau | February 4, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Is the Tue/Wed or Wed/Thur event the "big daddy" one discussed yesterday? What are the chances it slows down/speeds up in termsof arrival? Seems like all the storms this year have arrived a day or two later than originally anticipated based on the models. I'm worried b/c I have some flying out of BWI to do next Saturday. If all you snowlovers keep wishing for a clear Saturday (post storm) I'll send some good midweek snow wishes your way. Maybe I'll even convert.

Oh, and I have a good name for all the model watching/snow wishing, etc. Hopefully its not too risque for this board. If it is I apologize. Its "snowporn".

Posted by: Efren3 | February 4, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm with MKoehl.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | February 4, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse


After reading snow fantasists' repeated postings here over the last two winters, I would characterize it as "snonanism."

Posted by: dcreader6 | February 4, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Why do we keep referring to the "typical" La Nina pattern? With the exception of the last storm, no storm has been "typical" and though we haven't been hit that hard, the South and New England will vouch for the fact that there have been a lot of storms. I think that we can ignore the typical pattern this winter. As to why Dulles has had bigger storms than Chicago, it is because we get hit by the huge coastal systems that don't generally impact areas that we generally think of as snowier. I lived in Rochester, NY for over 15 years and each of the storms here last winter was bigger than anything I'd seen there. They get a lot of snow but not the huge snows associated with a strong Noreaster.

Posted by: givemeabreak6 | February 4, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

lhaller, the reason this area can get snowstorms on a par with Chicago is we are closer to a moisture source. We not only can get moisture from the Gulf of Mexico but also from the Atlantic Ocean when we have a really wrapped up storm like we had last February.

Posted by: wjunker | February 4, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Bastardi! Bastardi! he is the man!!!!! He also has an
interesting name... Anyway his theory regarding next week's snow event, looks pretty promising for all snow lovers east of town.. Operation "SNOWHOPE" is back in effect!!!! It looks like us snow lovers, will
finally get a piece of the snow pie... The snow pie, that is always" NORTH and WEST" of Town.

Posted by: BELLASNOWQUEEN | February 4, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Bastardi! Bastardi! he is the man!!!!! He also has an
interesting name... Anyway his theory regarding next week's snow event, looks pretty promising for all snow lovers east of town.. Operation "SNOWHOPE" is back in effect!!!! It looks like us snow lovers, will
finally get a piece of the snow pie... The snow pie, that is always" NORTH and WEST" of Town.

Posted by: BELLASNOWQUEEN | February 4, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Is this basic pattern ever going to change? These storms (or threat of storms) every 3-5 days, both from Gulf storms and Alberta Clippers, and repeated Arctic outbreaks behind each one, is getting a litle long in the tooth. It's been the same basic pattern now, with only very brief interruptions, for almost two months now.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 4, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@walter--I'll order that solution too!

Posted by: bachaney | February 4, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

MMCarhelp - difficult to say if the pattern will persist through February. But that is indeed why it is called a pattern. Locked in for now, but the global pattern would need to see either a change in La Nina or the North Atlantic Oscillation (La Nina is colder than normal Pacific waters near the equator; NAO is measuring pressure differences in the Atlantic) - I suspect we may see a switch by March. To be determined, confidence can't be high.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

cassander - you should be okay, especially if you take I-95

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'll take two of what walter and y'all are ordering.

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 4, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

manassasmissy - how much snow do you need? A lot, I take it? :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what the models are saying, but the 15-day Accuweather forecast has a nice warmup coming, save for one day, apparently. If this verifies, the Fat Lady will certainly be cuing up to sing about the end of winter, if not actually belting out a tune...

Posted by: weatherdude | February 4, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

not sure if manassasmissy is ordering (2)8" storms or (1)16"er... but...

whoa! if i'm reading it right, thursday's storm just vanished (for dc)! it's GONE. oh, sure, the carolinas get their snow... but dc... not a flake! stupid GFS...

i will now be adopting my "we'd rather not be under the bulls eye now because it will change come storm time" rationalization.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

More is better. I think 2 8-inchers would be great, but I suppose we could settle on 1 12+inch snowfall. This might slake the snow thirst for now.

Posted by: manassasmissy | February 4, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Who's thinking small with next week's storm? 8-10"? Double it. I'm going to be in Florida so it could keep me from coming back. One extra day in the sun, followed by a weekend of snow play. Let's do this! Go to hell, GFS!

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 4, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

If and when we see Jim Cantore broadcasting from in front of the Capitol building (or in Tysons Corner, since that seems to be a favorite "snow news" spot) is when we'll know we're in for a whopper of a snowstorm.

Posted by: joshnva | February 4, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Camden.

Posted by: cassander | February 4, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish we could be more specific in our use of the word "storm." To me, 4-6 inches of snow is not a storm, unless it all comes down in a couple of hours and is accompanied by high winds (let's say consistently above 30mph or so, I'm thinking of Pepco tolerances) or ice, freezing rain, thunder, lightening. Calling every possible chance of snow a "storm" just gives me a little PTSD after my 48h power outage last week.

So the snow next week - really a storm, or just a nice pile of snow?

Posted by: anelsen2 | February 4, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

You all are funny. Yes perhaps joshnva is right that a broadcast from the Capitol or Tysons is a sign of snow expected to be moderate to major. Walter, the models are going to waffle a lot that far out, but you sound frustrated. I can understand.

anelsen2 - hard to say at this point. Check out our latest post with winter weather analysis, and witness how our information has diverged. Confidence stays low at forecasting next week's potential wintry weather.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 4, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

CWG We are scheduled to camp in Haymarket this weekend. Can we get there and back safely? (I know will probably be yukky, but want to make sure it is not icy.

Posted by: readerl | February 4, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

CWG We are scheduled to camp in Haymarket this weekend. Can we get there and back safely? (I know will probably be yukky, but want to make sure it is not icy.

Posted by: readerl | February 4, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

wow, readerl,
scheduling a camping trip for early february. that's hard-core. impressive. this in tents (and therefore intense...)? or an rv or cabin?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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