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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 02/21/2011

Icy/snowy night ahead: Timeline, snow accumulation map, impacts, & FAQs

By Jason Samenow

Winter weather advisory tonight except far south

2:45 pm update: Winter storm warnings have been extended southward into Loudoun, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, where the National Weather Service is now predicting 4-8" of snow. We will have another update shortly...

Cold air is steadily seeping into the region today, setting the stage for accumulating ice and snow tonight. A winter weather advisory is in effect for most of the metro region. The highest snow amounts, 3-6" or so, will occur north and northwest of the beltway. Toward Frederick and Carroll county, amounts of more than 5" are possible, prompting a winter storm warning. Two or three inches are most likely in the immediate metro region. South and east of Prince William and northern Fauquier counties, amounts drop off with generally 1 or 2" or less. No advisories are posted for that area.

The combination of the frozen precipitation and temperatures falling deep into the 20s likely means very slick road conditions and closings/delays Tuesday morning.

ACCUMULATION MAP AND TIMELINE

5 PM to 8 PM MON
Light sleet north (N) and light rain south (S) develop, mixing with snow (N) and sleet (S). Temps 34-38, falling.
8 PM to 11 PM MON
Sleet to snow (N) and sleet (S). Temps 30-34, falling.
11 PM to 2 AM TUES
Snow (N) and sleet to snow (S). Temps 26-30, falling.
2 AM to 5 AM TUES
Snow. Temps 22-26.
5 AM to 8 AM TUES
Snow ends W to E. Temps 20-25.

IMPACT FORECASTS

SchoolCast (for Tues.)
FedCast (for Tues.) capitol-black.jpgcapitol-black.jpgcapitol-gray.jpg

STORM FAQ

Where is the precipitation now?

Follow the progress of the storm on national radar, regional radar and satellite.

How confident are you in your forecast?We have medium to high confidence there will be disruptive, accumulating ice and snow tonight, but just medium confidence in amounts. This is because there will probably be significant variability in amounts from north to south. Slight shifts in the band of the heaviest precipitation as well as the timing of the arrival of cold air and hence the changeover from rain to sleet to snow could easily change how much snow and ice different areas receive.

Keep reading for more storm FAQs. Just found us? We're here 24/7/365 -- rain, snow or shine. Visit us at washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

When/where will the heaviest frozen precipitation fall? The heaviest precipitation probably falls between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. overnight. Moderate precipitation is a strong possibility everywhere in this timeframe, with some bands of heavy precipitation, particularly in the northern suburbs. Travel conditions will quickly deteriorate during this time.

Will the frozen precipitation stick? With recent warmth (three days at 70+ last week), the precipitation won't stick immediately; however, several factors should allow precipitation to accumulate once it gets going: 1) Sleet will precede snow. Sleet, due to its high water content, melts more slowly than snow. And once you have a coating of sleet, it provides a cold surface for the snow to accumulate on once it begins. 2) The precipitation is falling at night. It's easier for frozen precipitation to accumulate at night than during the day due to the lack of sun. 3) The precipitation will fall moderately to even heavily at times. Heavy precipitation rates can overcome a warm ground. 4) Temperatures will be falling below freezing. After about 10 p.m. tonight, most spots will be at or below freezing and will then fall well into the 20s. That's plenty cold enough to freeze the relatively warm ground.

What does Wes Junker, CWG's winter weather expert, think? The models have trended colder and suggest that snow will be falling over Baltimore by 10PM and sleet over Washington. The changeover from sleet to snow will shift from north to south with D.C. probably changing over between 11 p.m. and midnight. This colder, wetter look have caused us to bump up our accumulation forecast. The NAM model now gives the D.C. area inside the beltway 2 to 4 inches of snow after an extended period of sleet. However, it gives Baltimore over 0.62" as snow suggesting amounts across Howard County and points north could be in the 4-6 inch range. The GFS also is suggesting sleet to snow in our area with several inches of accumulation being possible. Snowfall amounts of 2-4 inches look like a reasonable guess for D.C. area inside the beltway with the heaviest amounts falling to on the north side. The forecast gets tougher the farther south you go from the city as the band of heaviest precipitation will probably be located from D.C. northward and the cold air will be later arriving so places like southern Calvert County, St Mary's, and southern Charles may get fringed with accumulations of an inch or two. The rush hour tomorrow looks like it will be a tough one as temperatures fall into the 20s by the end of the storm.

When will travel be most difficult? North of the beltway, travel may start to deteriorate due to declining visibilities and slippery roads after 8 or 9 p.m. Around the beltway, conditions probably go downhill after 10 p.m., and closer to midnight south of town. As temperatures fall and frozen precipitation accumulates, roads probably worsen as the night wears on.

What about Tuesday morning's rush hour? Snow should largely be winding down, if not over, for most of Tuesday morning's commute. Major roads and interstates will probably be treated and passable but we suspect untreated side/neighborhood roads will be very slick. Also, sidewalks will be slick and likely snow and sleet covered.

What about precipitation type? This is a complicated question. The way it looks now, there may not be much, if any, rain in the colder areas to the north and northwest. Those spots likely start as sleet and transition to snow by 10-11 p.m. Around town and especially south, there may be a little rain, before changing to sleet. The timing of the sleet to snow transition is tricky because of a warm layer aloft which may favor a several hour period of sleet before the precip mixes with and changes to snow within an hour or so of midnight...(or even a little later in the southern suburbs). The likelihood of sleet combined with somewhat lighter precipitation rates and warmer temperatures from the District and points south are the reasons we expect lighter snow totals in those regions.

What are schools going to do? Do your homework, but we think there's a good (better than 50/50) chance many school systems close, especially in the northern suburbs due to the accumulation of sleet and snow and cold temperatures. It's possible that some counties to the south like Stafford and Prince William just have delays because conditions are not as bad there - although those are the same systems which closed for generally less than 1" a couple weeks ago. D.C. schools will likely remain open.

What will the Federal government do? There's a slight chance of a delayed opening and good chance of the unscheduled leave option. We do not expect conditions to be bad enough for it to close.

I have a flight tonight or tomorrow morning, what should I do? Since the worst of the storm should occur during times of low flight volume and this isn't a crippling storm, we don't anticipate a ton of cancellations. However, there may be some delays both late tonight and early tomorrow morning. It probably doesn't make sense to change flights but this is a personal decision.

When will conditions improve? Snow should end between 5 and 10 a.m. Tuesday morning - most likely in the early half of that window. So if you can get out of your neighborhood, commuting in the morning may be slow but doable on treated roads.

Could the storm fizzle out? The biggest bust or "fizzle out" potential is just south of town where temperatures will be mildest and more sleet than snow cold fall. But even there, temperatures should drop below freezing and slick spots are likely. Also, there's some chance the storm loses some if its steam as it heads east and the precipitation crosses the mountains - so it wouldn't be a shock if totals ended up on the low side of estimates even north of town.

Could the storm bring more ice/snow expected? Yes. Since yesterday, the models have trended colder with the storm and a bit farther south with the heaviest precipitation. An additional shift to the south could be place most of the metro region in the 3-6" of snow category, not just the northern suburbs.

Who will get the most snow? At the moment, it appears like the northern suburbs - especially in places like Frederick county, northern Montgomery county, Howard county and farther north. Some spots in the hills north and west of Baltimore could see 4-8" of snow, or even a little more.

By Jason Samenow  | February 21, 2011; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Latest, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Sleet & snow tonight, temps to plunge
Next: Evening mix turns to snow overnight

Comments

If you'd rather not go to work/school tomorrow morning (or want a little diversion on the way to said activities), why not chuck some snowballs around in Dupont? Could be your last chance of the winter... https://www.facebook.com/DCSFA

Posted by: mlipin | February 21, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Doing my best snow dance. Let it snow!

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | February 21, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Looking like a four day weekend!

Posted by: snoisgud | February 21, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Want snow in Feb? Book an international flight and it's sure to snow that day. Fortunately, IAD's runways should be cleared by late tomorrow afternoon.

Just please, no more snow 'til early March. I don't want to watch a DC snowpalooza on TV when I'm not in town.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 21, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

all we need is 2 or 3 inches and most schools will close tomorrow.

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 21, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So excited to see these rising snowfall amounts! I, for one, have not been completely snow-satisfied yet this year!

Posted by: HokieTerp | February 21, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Re: my 12:35 p.m. comment above,
DC snowpalooza = DC snowplowloser.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 21, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

mlipin - is it me or is the Dupont Snowball item becoming regular... with every batch of flakes that fall? I guess it has really become popular after last winter...

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Snowluver, based on what we've seen, all we need to do is say "snow" and most schools will close.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Okay, first of all, I don't remember giving permission for winter to come back. I have been enjoying the 70 degree days.

Second, I really need the court open tomorrow for an emergency petition.

So can we hold off on the bad weather until next year, kthnx.

Posted by: epjd | February 21, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks yet again CWG - You are THE go-to team for weather forecasts and nowcasts in the DC Metro region, so hopefully WAPO has recognized this and fattened your wallets accordingly!

Posted by: kolya02 | February 21, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Old Man Winter is making his appearance...
I have a later work start time on Tues. so I'll can take my time driving into DC.

Posted by: eabgarnet | February 21, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

epjd - I hope your court is south of town. Could be a close call tomorrow morning. Sorry for timing with your petition.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

More snow? I'm seriously going to cry. I can't take this anymore :(

Posted by: getjiggly2 | February 21, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@Camden - well spotted! not with every batch, however... we need at least few inches' worth! and that only happens a couple of times a winter in dc, for better or worse... if it happened more often, even i would tire of this business :P

Posted by: mlipin | February 21, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Temp down 1.8 degrees (36.0 - 34.2) in last 75 minutes in No. Frederick Co. MD. as 1200 ft. elev. If it starts as snow how much do we get up here?

Posted by: dustygroundhog | February 21, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

CWG: Really thorough post, love the way you're trying to anticipate all the usual questions. Here's one not addressed: in my not always accurate memory, I remember that a "Winter Storm Warning" used to mean more than 4" of show. When did this change to more than 5"? If it did change, why?

Posted by: petworthlad | February 21, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I can take a couple of inches more of snow, but that it! Bring spring back.

Posted by: ADmom | February 21, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

the timing btwn temp and precip is perfect for accumulation: precip falls overnight when temp are naturally low. and the track is right over dc. imagine that. ny and boston get nothing...

jerry,
hopefully the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain - not the plane. i'd agree to holding the next big snow 'til after you get back. how 'bout this one on march 1? i'm calling it "the lion".

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/12/images/gfs_p12_192m.gif

looks to be about 20" were it all snow. it would nudge us up above "average" for the year too... need to do something about the temps, but there's time for that.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 21, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Just a day or two ago I was thinking it would be 60 or better and dry today. But I took advantage of the lull in the rain to change the oil anyway. Now there seems to be a tiny bit of blue sky showing up or maybe just blue-gray clouds.

Posted by: eric654 | February 21, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@petworthlad

I think NWS upped the criteria for a winter storm warning to 5"+ two years ago...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear CWG:

Why do all storms happen on Tuesdays this season?

Thanks.

Posted by: NYY1 | February 21, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@getjiggly

Hang in there. This storm will barely take us to a foot for the entire season.

Be strong. Hug your children. Read the news from the Middle East. It will make surviving another 2 inches of snow seem like nothing. (Which it is).

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 21, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Is there a good possibility of areas in NW Loudoun such as Purcellville and Lovettsville could fall more in line with the forecast for Frederick Co? Just wondering how my reverse commute may be since I work the midnight shift and will be going in around 10pm.

Posted by: Novice1 | February 21, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Should I cancel my plans for next Tuesday (March 1st) as well?

Posted by: NYY1 | February 21, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

You ever get the feeling that when the big guy upstairs sets the weather pattern, he listens to us a bit too closely, stops off at his neighborhood canteen, and then sets the weather....

In July: "It's too hot"
In Winter: "Let's see, let's giv'em 2 great days, and then 2-4 inches of snow".

In Winter: "Snowmageddon is too much"
In summer: "I'll set it at 38 degrees....Dang, is that new thermostat Centigrade or Fahrenheit... Well, give it a few minutes and I'll see"


Smile.........Gray skies up, green grass down, temperature is above the melting point of oxygen, and we've already made one mistake today.

Humans rule!

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 21, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

NYY1, that's a good question. It's probably largely coincidence, and several storms this year were scheduled for Tuesday but dragged later into the week. i.e., the big storm in Jan was a Wed evening. It does seem there is sometimes a pattern of a storm about the same time every week though.. last yr many of our storms came on the weekend or right near the weekend.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

...and all for Tuesdays henceforth until summer arrives?

Posted by: NYY1 | February 21, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

2-5? HA These temps are going WAYYYYYYYY lower. It will start as good heavy wet snow before 9, giving us 1-2 more inches. The system will also shift south, and boost us with ANOTHER 1-2 inches. And it stalls out, giving 1-3 more inches! If all of my wild, hopeful guesses are correct... 7-12! YAY

Posted by: benzachr | February 21, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@AsymptoticUnlimited

well said

Posted by: petworthlad | February 21, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Man, no-ones commenting. ANYONE ALIVE?

Posted by: benzachr | February 21, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@benzachr

Everyone is out enjoying the 65 degree President's Day weather.

Oh, wait...

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 21, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@Novice1

Can't say too much more than what the map above already shows. Other than that NW Loudoun County is far enough north that given the colder temps there, the high end of the range given is certainly in play, and can't rule out at least isolated amounts that look more like the higher band that goes through Frederick County. Either way, you're looking at a significant accumulation of snow and sleet. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

My prediction is 2 - 3" in the metro area, with 4 - 6" N & W. Will be watching this closely.

CWG, will you have another update before the storm starts?

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 21, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan. You guys are the best!!!!

Posted by: Novice1 | February 21, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Looks like latest NWS discussion mentions the possibility of expanding WS Warnings to include Loudon, Montgomery, and Howard counties.

Posted by: petworthlad | February 21, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@CWG: Speaking of upped criteria...I don't know when or why, but with blizzard watches/warnings the NWS has done just the opposite. They dropped the temp criteria of 20F. degrees or less.

Posted by: snowbird25 | February 21, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

What's the early Vegas line on the next storm hitting us around Fri or Sat? The talking tv heads are all saying it will be way too warm for anything other than rain. That's what they said about this one too.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | February 21, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Nutty question: could the winds on Saturday have been the sort of thing that could have physiological effects? I note that those are supposed are supposed to be very dry winds, and the humidity was way down on Saturday.

Posted by: ornery11 | February 21, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It is already really cold out in Herndon. No official reading, but I'd say mid-30s. I'm expecting this snow to stick more than expected.

Posted by: HokieTerp | February 21, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

TBAlexandria, the various models have been in great agreement that the Thu-Fri storm will pass to our north and west. And that keeps us on the warm side of the system- unlike tonight's story. Also, high pressure will not be in a favored spot to keep cold air around like today.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 21, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind, MCPS has theoretically used up all of its snow days.

Their contingency calendar says that another snow day will result in the school year being extended:

http://montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/calendars/

Posted by: Terps98 | February 21, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Guys - Been a while since I checked in...maybe I missed something, but, what happened to the 64 degree high temps for today? I think in Reston we're around 39/40 right now. Is it going to be colder than we thought?

Posted by: parksndc | February 21, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

ornery11, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. The winds were related to the strong pressure gradient (the amount the pressure changes as you shift northward from where). The airmass was very dry but the dryness and low RH was probably enhanced by adiabatic compression and warming as the air moved from the mountains to the lower elevations away from the mountains. The high winds also would have causes the airmass to be well mixed which would also help bring dry air aloft down to the surface. At least that is my take on it.

Posted by: wjunker | February 21, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Squirrel just made a reservation for the balcony tonight

Posted by: 3seasons | February 21, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, PG County doesn't even build in snow days. None. So if there's no school tomorrow that means teachers will have to work until Monday the 20th of June. Not something this teacher is looking forward to.

Posted by: CYork1 | February 21, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

parksndc, yes, your temperature now is the highest it will get. Your temp should continue to fall. The cold air cam in muuch quicker than the models were forecasting. Hence the change in forecast and more bullish thoughts on snow than yesterday.

Posted by: wjunker | February 21, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wes - It's all coming together now...we did jump from 'about an inch' to 2-4 and now I completely get why. Sounds like the late evening could be a bit icy. Thanks for the update!

Posted by: parksndc | February 21, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Winter Storm Warning expanded to northern suburbs.

Posted by: Dylan0513 | February 21, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

wonder whether the district itself will eek out a WSW before all is said and done ...

Posted by: jms12 | February 21, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The winter storm warning now includes Loudoun and Montgomery counties.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 21, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

thar she blows!

http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_lite_loop.php

CWG,
is that about what you expected to see based on the cool new model runs? how's she doing?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 21, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Dylan0513, thanks, here's the nws product that shows the warmed counties. http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/

Posted by: wjunker | February 21, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The Winter Storm Warning calls for 4-8 inches in Montgomery County, but the text forecast of the NWS calls for 2-4 inches of snow.

Posted by: dcneedssnow | February 21, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So last week I whined a little about not wanting a storm on my birthday (tomorrow). But now... it looks like maybe I won't have work, so that would be EVEN BETTER! Let it snow! :)

Posted by: CuseFan07 | February 21, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Just please tell me it's not going that wet, heavy snow like we had a few weeks back. That storm knocked out my power and cost me big bucks to have the tree damage taken care of. A couple of inches of snow is fine, just not the kind that will cause damage again.

Posted by: FH59312 | February 21, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Winter sucks

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 21, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

With the utilities being less than dependable, I suggest everyone put together an emergency kit for their home, office and car. Just in case.

Ready.dc.gov

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 21, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@Walter, can you draw the lion on the March snowstorm 'til March 3, when I'm back? I don't want to camp out in the Barcelona or Munich airport while Dulles digs out. Of course, there are worse places to be stuck, I guess.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | February 21, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Temps down to 39 here in NW DC metro. Hoping for about 4 inches by morning.

Posted by: ajmupitt | February 21, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

CWG is the bomb

Posted by: prickles1009 | February 21, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@jms12

In my opinion, a WSW for DC seems very unlikely

@dcneedssnow

The NWS snow accumulation map has been updated to have much of the area in the 4 - 6" range!!!

@FH59312

I'm with ya there. Heavy, wet snow is NOT what I want. My neighborhood lost several beautiful trees in Commutageddon.

@parksndc

you said, "we did jump from 'about an inch' to 2-4"

Maybe if we're lucky, that 2 - 4 will rise yet again, this time to 6 - 10!!!

@HokieTerp

Yeah, it's colder than expected here in NE Loudoun as well. The current reading on my deck is 38.7°F. That is encouraging in that we may see MORE SNOW!!!!!!

@benzachr

Oh, the comments will come my friend. Remember commutageddon??? As soon as the precip started falling, CWG got over 1,000 comments!! People are probably at the grocery stores stocking up on bread, toilet paper, and milk right now ;-)!!!

---

BTW, here are the accumulation maps from some other forecast outlets:

ABC7: http://images.tbd.com//weather/snowbandsfortueam-noon2_296.jpg

CBS9: http://wusa9.com/weather/currents/snow_potential.jpg

NWS: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/winterstorm/images/StormTotalSnow.png

FOX5: No map yet; website says 1 - 3"

NBC4: Again, no map, but website says 1 - 4"

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 21, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The nam model run at 1Pm is quite a bit drier for DC and doesn't have a changeover to snow until around 1 PM again illustrating how tough it is to make a definitive call with such a narrow band of precipitation. It's not a reason enough yet to change the forecast.

Posted by: wjunker | February 21, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@FH59312

Fingers crossed this is not a power outage kind of storm. Snow may be heavy and wet initially, but should become fluffier as temps drop.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

CWG, I have a red-eye flight leaving LA tonight and getting into Dulles tomorrow morning at 5am. Flight hasn't been delayed or cancelled yet. What are your thoughts about the Dulles area around 5am?

Posted by: dryan3 | February 21, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Bleah (sorry snowlovers)! I love snow but had my brain set to Spring since I saw a woodpecker two weeks ago. And my last flop on the ice has left my knee more than ready for winter to go.

Posted by: MartyGiles1 | February 21, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I bet this storm will catch a lot of people off guard. With all the nice days recently (and the not super freezing temps today) the last thing on people's mind is, "Hey, I wonder if it'll snow tonight!"

I'm looking forward to one last 'hurrah' for this winter! I'd be more than happy to accept a four day weekend!!

Posted by: mdith4him1 | February 21, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

This is getting fun. I think I'll pull my measuring stick out of storage. WSW FTW!

Posted by: AsymptoticUnlimited | February 21, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If it's going to do it, I want it to just DO IT already. None of this mamby pamby 2 inch/2 hour delay stuff. If I have to go to work it doesn't count. :)

Posted by: lisat991 | February 21, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@dcneedssnow

Remember, Montgomery County is a big county, and 4-8" is a big range. If you look at the NWS snow map - http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/winterstorm/ - the 6"+ totals they're predicting are once you get toward the northern part of they county, which I'd agree with. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The NWS adivsories are wack this year. If I punch in the Reston Zip, I get 3-6 inches, if you add up the "new" accumulation totals, OK, seems bullish but not too far off. Yet, the advisory is for 2-5, which is just below a warning, and also a very WIDE variance. I'm sure they'll change it about 6 or 7 times over the next 24 hours too.

Posted by: parksndc | February 21, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Wes Junker is a big snow downer. Always likes to keep things in perspective. Every time he adds insight I can only think of the Price is Right Loser sound effect. Ba-Ba-baaa-bummmmm!

Posted by: greg2010 | February 21, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh - 42 seconds for my last post to appear. Get this site fixed!!!!!

Posted by: greg2010 | February 21, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The new update is up now.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 21, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone out there in Western MD or WV?

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

So now that the NWS has issued a WSW for Anne Arundel County, are you all going to up your totals? Doesn't a WSW mean >5" of snow? As of right now AACo is in the 2-4/1-3" range. Also, do you think totals are going to get higher as the day goes on? Seems to be that way so far...

Posted by: elizabethk611 | February 21, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, oops, my post above somehow links to a different website.

CWG, you can delete that comment if you want.

I meant to post this link:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2011/02/icysnowy_night_ahead_timeline.html#more

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 21, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It is already sleeting in north Silver Spring.

Posted by: IkeT | February 21, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

CWG, do you agree with the NWS's decision to issue a Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery County? In your forecast, more than 50% of the county does not fall under the criteria of a WSW. The same goes for Anne Arundel County.

Posted by: dcneedssnow | February 21, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What would be your best estimate for Vienna/Fairfax in terms of accumulation/school closing?

Keep up the good work, you guys have been nailing these systems all winter!

Posted by: jzs04 | February 21, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@wesjunker
I'm sure you meant change to snow in DC at 1AM (v1PM). I do that kind of thing a lot too when typing on the fly. Yes the NAM has backed off significantly on the 18Z run, ironically just as WFO LWX upgraded things. That's the way things are this year with forecast difficulty. lets see what the 18Z GFS does. My sense of things is that this will not be as bad as jan26-27 for two reasons: less QPF and less neg tilt of trof in more due W-E flow. This trof orientation and movement gets broken up more by the Mountains. The NAM hints at that with downslope pcpn shadow.

Posted by: ronbcust | February 21, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@dcneedssnow

We think parts of MoCo may see warning criteria snow (best chance north), but 4-8 for all of MoCo as forecast by NWS is aggressive in our opinion. That's even more true for AA.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@jason
I agree for reasons given above.

Posted by: ronbcust | February 21, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

4-8 inches? are you talking "#snOMG" in Montgomery County MARYLAND?? tell me this isn't so? Must I run to the store right now for bread and milk? I just got over the stomach flu!!

Posted by: CountytaxpayingCHNII | February 21, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@elizabethk611

We think the snow amounts given by NWS for Anne Arundel county are probably overdone.

@dryan3

As we say above (see the FAQ on flights), there may be some delays...but there's not much to do about it. Snow may be starting to lessen around Dulles at the time.

@jzs04

The info you're asking about is contained in the post above. Vienna is in the 2-4" area on our map above and SchoolCast is two and a half apples...better than 50/50 odds no school- but do your homework.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 21, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

So starting my commute from Leesburg to Pentagon City starting at the usual 5 AM tomorrow probably isn't the best idea?

The snow needs to follow a new rule: Either nothing or crushing. There is nothing worse than waking up at 4 AM and trying to figure out if it is safe to proceed on your commute. I know, its my fault for living here, I am working on moving.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | February 21, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I guess it all depends on if that patch of rain sinks south or stays up around the PA border. If it does sink south I think we will get several inches of snow.

Posted by: barbnc | February 21, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@BurtReynolds It likely is always safe to proceed on your commute - I haven't seen the numbers personally but my gut tells me driving in slush/snow is no more dangerous than driving in or after a shower in the hot humid summer weather - once those oils from the road start rising it can get pretty slick! I think all the snow-haters here find the wintry weather INCONVENIENT - claiming danger is just a hyperbolic way of feeling better about being upset over the snow.

Posted by: kolya02 | February 21, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Weather anchors are predicting large floods when the weather warms after all this snow. What does Washington plan on doing about the floods? Teens died in Walnut Creek, California, over unexpected floods this week. Now you say half of the nation's 80,000 dams are ready to fail and the government is ready to shut down over a political chicken fight to see who will cave in first? The water will cave in killing the public like the floods in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Thomas Chi
Author
PresidentSarah.Net

Posted by: ThomasChi | February 21, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, I just found it....sorry

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | February 21, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Ok that looks weird. My first post didn't go through. Nevermind :-/

Posted by: worldtraveler83 | February 21, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I live in Fredericksburg,VA and it is a mix now. What will happen here?

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | February 21, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I live in Fredericksburg,VA and it is a mix now. What will happen here?

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | February 21, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Just want to say thank you to the Capital Weather Gang and your extremely detailed and thorough forecast. I appreciate hearing the science behind your predictions. Great job!

Posted by: jenlperry | February 21, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I posted my question two times. Sorry.:(

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | February 21, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

We always have cinnamon rolls for breakfast if it's a snow day. We live in Fairfax County and my kids are dying to know if they're getting cinnamon rolls for breakfast. LOL.

Posted by: elizestrada | February 21, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

10:15 p.m. Sleet in Manassas, quite loud. Car roofs, hoods and grassy areas are white, pavement thinking about it.

Posted by: MeganO | February 21, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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