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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/11/2011

Forecast: Warming toward milder weekend

By Camden Walker

50s possible Sunday and beyond; overnights chilly

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


Sunny with thaw-starting temps around 40, perhaps "warmer" south of the city. Woohoo!
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny. 39-45. | Tonight: Partly cloudy. Mid-20s to near 30. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, breezy. Mid-40s to near 50. | Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy. 52-59. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Time to shake off some of that Seasonal Affective Disorder by soaking in some sun. We have a decent chance at mostly uninterrupted sunshine through Tuesday as continuous wintry precipitation threats call a cease fire. Temperatures slowly warm from the 40s today to 50s by Sunday as the Arctic dome of high pressure slowly modifies into a milder air mass. Though overnight low temperatures are still be a bit nippy, mild air rides on the heels of southwesterly breezes during the days, so you might need to hang on to your hats after today.

Snow Potential Index: 0 (→) - Still nothing on the horizon. We'll keep a watchful eye though.

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 (Friday): Simply sunny with just a light breeze from the south between 5-10 mph. High temperatures may struggle to get to 40 in a couple spots, but south of town could see mid-40s. Solar noon is right around 12:22 p.m. and UV has been approaching moderate ranges recently, even with a few high clouds this past week. Go dose-up on some rays at lunchtime with Mother Nature's help. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: After the sun sets, temperatures drop fairly quickly. By just before sunrise, normally colder spots outside of the Beltway could find themselves in the lower 20s, while downtown may hover near the 30 degree mark. Temperatures may vary widely throughout the region, depending on just how many clouds drift by overnight, creating local "blanket" effects. This Arctic air is nicely modifying milder. Confidence: Medium

Sunshine will continue without threat of wintry precipitation? Keep reading...

Tomorrow (Saturday): Only a few periodic clouds -- very few -- may interrupt our sunshine. Breezes from the west should pick up (15 mph with gusts to near 25 mph) but this time they also help kick our temperatures into the mid-40s, if not a couple near 50 degree readings south of D.C. Will you enjoy our slowly increasing, but surely chill-relieving temperatures? Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: A few more clouds overhead than during the day, perhaps, but still no precipitation to speak of. It's chilly with lows in the mid-20s (to lower 30s, downtown) but, hey, at least it is a tad less cold than Friday night. Right? Also, breezes should settle down after the diurnal (daytime) heating from the sun dissipates after sunset. Confidence: High

Sunday: The trend is our friend! It's pretty darn sunny with even milder temperatures on tap. Highs should range from the low-50s all the way up to near 60 for sunny spots well south of town. Still, a somewhat brisk breeze is possible, primarily out of the southwest. Confidence: Medium-High


On Sunday night we don't cool as far, with some locales actually staying above the freezing mark. How about that! Low temperatures range from the low-to-mid 30s under mostly cloudy skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Monday (Valentine's Day) should be sweet, weather-wise. Skies continue predominately sunny with high temperatures again, like Sunday, ranging from the low-to-mid 50s, if not higher. Anyone brave enough to dine al fresco? Just note a possible breeze, out of the west, may persist. Confidence: Medium-High

Tuesday, unlike recent Tuesdays, may actually have little to no threat of precipitation! This assumes no small atmospheric disturbance sneaks in. As of now, though, high temperatures look to be a little bit cooler than previous days as a temporary wind shift draws air that supports highs in the 40s to near 50 into the area. Confidence: Medium

By Camden Walker  | February 11, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Last sledding run of the season?
Next: 40 below zero: One coincidence & two oddities



Posted by: snowlover31 | February 11, 2011 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Think spring, and rising brook trout in the mountain streams...

Posted by: NorthFork1 | February 11, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Think spring, and rising brook trout in the mountain streams...

Posted by: NorthFork1 | February 11, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

91 days to beach season...

Posted by: wiredog | February 11, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

well, just got back from snow-hunting in GFS county, just north of la-la land. we've got a 1" snow storm coming btwn 264-312 hrs. (there's also a 3-5"+ storm from 372-384 hrs, but we all know you can't trust anything after 348 hrs on the models...)

anyway, my wife and i are taking our daughter and a friend to the lady gaga concert at the verizon center in about 324 hrs. do you think "inchpocalypse" will affect our travel plans?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 11, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

@walter-in-fallschurch: My experience snow-hunting in GFS country, north of 200 hours, is that no matter how hard you track 'em, they always get away. For a change, you can always try a snow-hunting trip to Euro-land. With some of the East Coast storms it has shown for us this season, it's become its own amazing fantasy land.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Running without resembling the Michelin Man is going to be (and feel) wonderful!!!

Posted by: Akabang | February 11, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I LOVE THIS FORECAST!! Maybe there is something to that little furry groundhog??

Posted by: SSpring1021 | February 11, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Akabang - Agree it might be less of a pain--and quicker to dress each morning!--without all the scarves, gloves, hats.

SSpring1021 - Puxatawny Phil is, at best, as skillful as climatological predictions in weather fluctuations... but I won't stand in the way of giving him some credit if you want :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It's cold out there, but not as cold as I feared based on last night's forecast.
21 in Centreville this morning, and that sun is getting stronger by the day.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 11, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

FIREDRAGON47 - yes, it appears breezes were at least partially the inhibiting factor in preventing the atmosphere from fully decoupling. Downtown, I only got down to 27F it looks like! But still, yes, chilly. I am enjoying walking to work in sunshine though--daytime sunlight getting stronger and longer!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Today on Fox 5 Tony Perkins and Tucker Barnes talked about the long range weather outlook including the warming trend. They both made predictions about snow. Perkins said that he felt that the snow was over for the year and that when cold air comes back into the region after this warming, it will zap any moister in the air. Barnes said he felt there would be one more snow event saying that the mixing of cold and warm air would produce something at the beginning of March. Does CWG have an opinion on this?

Posted by: brando3000 | February 11, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

brando3000 - Hi there, well to communicate confidence in any forecast that far out...well, it is low. Frankly I am surprised two meteorologists would go on-record making these claims since it would be pretty much a guess. The warming trend for this part of February does enter into our region during a climatological period within which we can fairly easily see snow. March gets much more difficult, but not impossible. April has very few chances, according to climatology. How about this: it is too early to completely conclude our snow chances in DC are over for the season.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

thanks. i probably would visit euro land, but those euro bastages won't let me see liquid equivalents. you gotta pay euros for that, right? i can't really tell anything about imaginary storms just based on "mb heights" or whatever.

btw, on your question last night about whether that was the last sledding run of the season: i see the bumps weren't big enough to cause you to BITE YOUR TONGUE!

camden, gang,
so, seriously, is there any scientific reason to think COLD is coming back this winter? i'm not asking about snow - just cold.

i've heard people say "late february". but is that based on anything? is there some pattern/guidance/oscillation you guys are looking at that indicates this approaching meltdown will last one week? 10 days? two weeks? or is it "open-ended" at this point? or are perkins/barnes et. al. just guessing about the cold too?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 11, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I believe they presented it as a guess, not as a legitimate forecast.

Posted by: brando3000 | February 11, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

brando3000 - ah, very good. Didn't mean to come across as so stern :) Glad they presented it as an educated guess!

walter-in-fallschurch - I can just say that from a climatology standpoint, we have too much astronomical and meteorological Winter yet left to go.. too much more ground to cover before I believe it climatologically prudent to write-off the cold. Last year we did see a great March thaw wherein I believe DCA stayed above freezing the entire month. But that was quite an aberration after a VERY anomalous winter. I do not believe we are in such a statistical outlier this winter as to say it will be warm starting March 1, may the cold R.I.P. -- Ask me again on March 1 :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

For all those snow hopefuls, here you go

Yeah right.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 11, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

TBAlexandria - wow, 11 to 13+ days away? You are right. It is a fun imagination land... ha

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse


This has been standard fare on Accuweather all winter. I have yet to see them be accurate that far out. However, I'm not putting away the shovel just yet. As a Winston Salem native, I can attest that some of the biggest snows there have been in March. In fact, the record snowfall there is still from the Mar 9, 1960 snowstorm.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 11, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

i believe that storm TBAlexandria refers to is "inchpocalypse" - the storm i hunted down in GFS la la land earlier today...

so your answer about the return of the cold is just "climatology"? there's no real identifiable "force" that brings back the cold, or pushes out the warmth?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 11, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday Accuweather was predicting 50s for the Feb. 22-23 time period. Now they're calling for 30s and snow? Well, that and $15 or so will get me a case of beer...

For snow hopefuls, however, I'll note that according to Accuweather today's record high where I live was 71 degrees, set just two years ago. On March 1 of that year we got dumped on.

Posted by: mkarns | February 11, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

TBAlexandria - very good. Understood!

Walter, I don't easily see a mechanism to report beyond the 10 day mark... I am just looking at some mean-averaged 10 day outlook forecasts from NOAA at this point, and consulting climo. Will try to do some research if possible later. I would prefer to be more thorough when answering you! But I am a bit divided this afternoon, sorry.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

What's really funny about that Feb 22-23 snow Accuweather shows is that the Alexandria forecast in the original link shows a total of 3" over the two day period. Meanwhile, up in MoCo my zip code is getting 9+".

I'll put the shovel on stand by.....

Posted by: MDDem2 | February 11, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Meh, 50 and breezy doesn't thrill me that much. But def better than 25 and breezy!

Posted by: bodypolitic | February 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

bodypolitic - agreed

MDDem2 - it is funny to imagine taking that literally, but glad you are appropriately entertained and prudent when interpreting it.

Walter, I tell you, I think I was right even in my quick answer. There is little skill to longer-range forecasts greater than two weeks out. I think Wes Junker would even back me up on this. But I feel somewhat confident to hedge toward cold NOT being over this year, yet, because of climatology. Does this makes sense, I hope? I would answer much differently once we got into March, and the climatology would not allow me to hedge cold. Without the climo, though, no skill would theoretically imply equal chances of warm or cold after a two week timeframe. Like rolling the dice.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 11, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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