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Posted at 6:05 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Next Tuesday snow: True or tease?

By Jason Samenow
GFS model simulated for 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. It shows low pressure over NC/Va. border and just under half an inch liquid equivalent accumulation over the previous six hours, with temperatures cold enough for snow

Presumably due to interest in solar flares and 70 degree temperatures, there was surprisingly little chatter today about next Monday night and Tuesday's snow potential. I take it that won't be the case tomorrow and over the weekend, if the GFS model continues to simulate a snow event bearing any resemblance to its latest run (from 1 p.m.). On the other hand, the event has the potential to be a dud if the latest European model run (from 7 a.m.) is correct - which we lean toward more.

In short, the GFS model tracks low pressure from northeast Texas to southern Virginia Monday and Tuesday accompanied by an impressive swath of precipitation on the north side. At the same time, Arctic air to the northwest builds southeastward, supplying cold air more than sufficient to support snow in the metro region after a brief period of rain and/or mixed precipitation at the onset. It produces around 1.0" of melted liquid precipitation, a substantial part of which would fall as snow.

The European model tracks a less robust low from Oklahoma through the metro region with just a couple tenths of melted liquid precipitation of which only half might be snow.

Assuming the potential persists tomorrow, Wes Junker will post an analysis. Our initial inclination is the GFS is probably overdone, but odds that snow lovers get at a little more action have increased a bit.

By Jason Samenow  | February 17, 2011; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Winter Storms  
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Snow tease

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 17, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse


SNOWHOPE!!! ***************

im calling a 8 inch storm just like commuteageddon. everyone who thinks spring is here to stay, JUST WAIT til tuesday!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 17, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

There's not been a single marginal storm that's ended up as a snow-faller here. It was the single completely unambiguous storm that resulted in a crummy few inches.

Snow tease. Boo.

Posted by: vnangia | February 17, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse


SNOWHOPE!!! ***************

im calling a 8 inch storm just like commuteageddon. everyone who thinks spring is here to stay, JUST WAIT til tuesday!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 17, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

We need a poll. I vote for Tease.

Posted by: tws1372 | February 17, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Excuse the rookie question, but I know where to find the GFS and NAM models... but where do you all find the European one?

Posted by: flyersindc | February 17, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

@SNOWLUVER: OK, you get the penalty box for the "storm just like commuteageddon" line. ;)

Given this season, I'm going for anything but ice.

Posted by: joshnva | February 17, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course. It's not spring yet.
But we can pretend it is tomorrow.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 17, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse


Heres a good place to see models including the EURO(to an extent)....

Just want to add the only hope involved next mon/tues is RAIN HOPE //////////////// thats it.

There will be no accumulating snow in DC, its not going to take a rocket scientist or apparently a meteorologist to know this. Its just not gonna happen, any snow imo will be a non event.

Models have done this all season. Do not get your hopes up until you see the snow actually falling outside your window. Think about how many times this season we went through this and come go time the radar never shows the snow in DC. This WILL be the case again.

Its just my opinion but its one I feel strongly about with this storm. Its going to be in the 50s all weekend and monday. If we were going to have highs in the 30s over the weekend leading up to the storm, I may be able to believe it will snow, but theres just no way its going to happen with daytime highs in the 50s.

CWG says its possible the GFS is overdoing precip its also possible, imo probable, its under doing the temps.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 17, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"Its going to be in the 50s all weekend and monday. If we were going to have highs in the 30s over the weekend leading up to the storm, I may be able to believe it will snow."

As much as I want it to snow, I'm in agreement with KRUZ here. This is a snow tease for sure. Would love to be wrong though.

Posted by: crazer | February 17, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

When i read the first line of this article i ran to the bathroom and threw up. For me that means im happy, pray for the GFS:)

Posted by: snowlover31 | February 17, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Just want to add, I know the models see it getting cold monday night/ tuesday morning before going back into the 40s tuesday daytime. But as has been the case most of the time this winter, it will get cold AFTER all the precip moves through. How many times has this happened this season. Models may be off with the timing of the cold imo.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 17, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

everybody now, GFS! GFS! GFS! GFS! GFS! :)

the 18z GFS shows 1.0 - 1.2 inches precip over me in Loudoun county and almost ALL SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

**wakes up from dream**

oh wait...according to my calendar, it's Feb 17 and I'm getting excited about an event that's 5 days away...rats...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 17, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

fellow snow-lovers will enjoy this map (the GFS snowfall output for the tuesday event):


Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 17, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

If the 18Z GFS is even close to being right, with a wide open wave going well north of us, that 51 on Monday should be more like 71.

71 on Monday and a blizzard Monday night with temps in the 20s? Sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but that is what the silly GFS is saying!

Posted by: frontieradjust | February 17, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse


That map looks wonderful!! Just hoping it will be fluffy and not wet...

Posted by: cubscapsfan | February 17, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Enough winter, already. Want more snow? Fly to Alaska. Pretty for a couple of hours, then a nightmare on the commute, risk of power outages, having to call arborists to deal with damaged trees, and a muddy mess when it melts.

Posted by: exerda | February 17, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Where do you all find the European Center Model (ECMWF)? (@ flyersindc)

Unlike the US Models, the ECMWF is not fully available free in the public domain. The freebies only include 24 hour intervals and precipitation fields are not included. I go the the Penn state e-wall and look to the far left under "EXTRAS" for ECMWF 00Z & 12Z runs at

If you want more (like 12 hour intervals, and precipitation plus additional parameters), you have to pay a vendor to access it for a fee. The NWS can get it without doing this. But I don't know if the CWG pays a vendor to see more.

Posted by: ronbcust | February 17, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse


100% totally agreed!!!

Nothing good comes of snow, to most people. I only cut slack for children loving snow, not adults.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 17, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Tuesday is my birthday so it is NOT allowed to snow. Hear that, mother nature?

Today was fabulous... more days like today, please. :)

Posted by: rumbly45 | February 17, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Can't you people just accept that the groundhog said we'd have an early spring? ;-)

Went flying with some friends and headed over towards the Canaan Valley, and there's still quite a bit of snow up there. It looked like both ski resorts could have been open, but on closer review, the lifts weren't moving. Wondering if we were flying over a bunch of slush, even at that altitude. Temperature at 5,000 feet was still in the 50's.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | February 17, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse


I subscribe for a monthly fee to which provides Euro access

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 17, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

This is interesting... it seems I might given up on Mon/Tues too early...

Unrelated, I took a couple photos of departing clouds this morning that looked like a mountain ridge.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 17, 2011 10:18 PM | Report abuse

71 on Monday and a blizzard Monday night with temps in the 20s? Sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but that is what the silly GFS is saying!

I love snow and I cannot even remotely handle this!

Posted by: SubRosa2 | February 17, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Jason & CWG: I hope Wes (or someone else) will explain tomorrow why you lean more toward the Euro's solution for Tuesday, especially given the Euro's dismal track record this past winter.

Posted by: petworthlad | February 17, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

00 utc GFS looks to me a little warmer at the start on Monday night, but still drops some real snow on Tuesday...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 17, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

petworthlad, the Euro consistently has the best verification scores. It's 'busts' are much more highly publicized than other models. It's been pretty good most of the winter on the whole.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 17, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

can we all please agree that if this storm happens we won't name it? (unless it's 12" or something!)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 17, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

THE BOB RYAN updated TBD at 10pm with the following:

"The next chance for any needed (we are dry) rain comes late Monday or Monday night and is likely to be some chilly rain showers. Still no sign of a "big" storm as we head toward March. Enjoy a May 16 day tomorrow. Average high May 16 is 75"

Bob Ryan

Please take heed, do not, I repeat, do not get hyped for snow mon/tues, you will be disappointed.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 17, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I think I'm onboard with no storm names...

snow sculpture suggestion: George Washington Crossing the Delaware

Posted by: spgass1 | February 17, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Sterling is not discounting the GFS:


Posted by: spgass1 | February 18, 2011 12:07 AM | Report abuse

something "presidential", huh? i'd consider it - but, i'd want a lot of snow for something like that as i like to make them life-size or larger.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 18, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

@exerda and @kruz

"Nothing good ever comes from snow"?

Did you read the posts here yesterday?We are in a drought situation. Snow=water for the trees, for the plants and for the farm crops.
And then there are reservoir levels for the water we all drink.

We need precipitation. And in the winter, that can mean snow. And it DOES have a purpose.

Posted by: concepcion611 | February 18, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@exerda -If you want 70 degree temps all year, move to the Carribean.

Just deal with it. It is winter, you know.

Born and raised in New England and love as much snow as possible. Bring on the snow!!!!

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 18, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"71 on Monday and a blizzard Monday night with temps in the 20s? Sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but that is what the silly GFS is saying!"

Silly GFS, blizzards are for wishful snow lovers.

Posted by: crazer | February 18, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

We've gotten some pretty significant snowstorms in this area around President's day...the worst was clearly the big storm of 1979. So history may be on the side of some snow. But, even if we do get some snow from this system, all of this spring-like warmth of the last several days has raised the ground and pavament temperature to the point where much of any snow that falls is not likely to stick much. To stick and overcome the warm ground, the snow would have to fall at insane rates like in the storm of a couple of weeks ago....and there's nothing in the current models to show a storm with potential 2-4" per hour intensity.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 18, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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