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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 02/23/2011

PM Update: Quiet before growing rain risk Thurs

By Ian Livingston

Temperature averages are now near 50 across the area, so today's highs in the low-and-mid 40s were a bit below normal. However, tons of sun and minimal wind have helped it feel pretty decent out there. The weather stays quiet through the night, with just a few increasing clouds before more arrive tomorrow along with a rain threat late.

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.

Through Tonight: We transition from mostly clear skies early toward partly cloudy skies late. Lows should make it to the mid-or-upper 20s in the suburbs to around freezing downtown. Winds are light from the south.

Tomorrow (Thursday): It should be mostly cloudy or cloudy on the whole, but I'm hopeful we'll see a few morning breaks. Before the rain risk, highs rise to near 50 across the area. Rain approaches during the afternoon -- it seems probable that some makes it into the area by evening. The threat of rain then continues into the night, and it could be occasionally heavy. Winds are mostly light from the south but they increase during the day and could be gusty at times.

See Dan Stillman's forecast through the weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

NWS Budget Cuts: In the still struggling economy, reducing the budget deficit has become a major priority and most are feeling the pinch. Budget cuts affecting NOAA (the parent org. of the NWS) were approved by the House last week and could amount to about 10% of their overall budget and perhaps as high as 30% of the NWS budget. Specifics of the plan are somewhat murky, but cuts could include personnel as well as office closings and research. In these scenarios, some are concerned that cuts may cost lives.

By Ian Livingston  | February 23, 2011; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Showers later today, strong winds Fri.


I think I remember Jason saying that the GFS sometimes overdoes precip on the back side of systems... does the NAM tend have the same problem?

Posted by: spgass1 | February 23, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey spgass1 - Overall, NAM is often better than GFS with placement and amount of frontal precip. GFS will tend to show broader areas of significant precip, while NAM will more accurately show areas of less v. more precip along and ahead of a front (its resolution is a bit better, so I doubt it would have as many issues with backside precip)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 23, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse


i decided to come back to comment because i love you guys so much. when is our next chance for snow? early march?

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 23, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

What you're seeing there on the NAM is the upper level energy passing through. See the radar sim on the previous panel. If we get clearing behind the earlier line of activity we could get some convective showers (maybe a storm) as it goes by.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 23, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty cool what a "good track" of an upper level low can do for an area. Case in point is our last good snow/sleet/rain/thundersnow event. That was all upper level low. There was also a snow storm (Don't remember exactly when, but not too long ago year-wise) where the surface low gave one side of the DC area a good snow storm but the other side of the DC area was left wanting. Then the upper level low (which seems to follow the surface low in most cases) came barreling through and dumped on the side of DC that didn't get much from the surface low. Now I always look at the setup of the upper level systems when looking at potential storms for our area.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | February 23, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

pjdunn, In the winter particularly you can almost get a better picture of guidance focusing on the 500mb pattern more than the surface depictions on models. The Jan 26 event did take a pretty classic path at upper levels -- from the South, through NC then right to our southeast off the coast. Of course last yr had some great ones as well (Feb5-6)! The 500mb "look" was certainly lacking with the last event that underperformed in the immediate area -- it passed to our north. There are times you can get snow without it going south of us but our odds are much better with the south option.

March 09 was mainly upper level energy, though I'm not sure if that's what you refer to. I think in all cases upper level energy would follow the surface.. maybe there is some weird case where it does not. But a surface low/s is/are naturally tilted (usually to the northwest) as you go upawrd in the atmosphere.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 23, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

With the strong warm-advection and the approaching system from the southwest, what do you guys at CWG think of the possibilities for convection and thunderstorms tomorrow night (K-Index, Lifted-Index, CAPE, etc...)? NWS has a quite high probability of severe weather in the lower Mississippi Valley (fairly common, of course, for that region in late February) and Accuweather distinctly mentions the likelihood of that moving into the Mid-Atlantic states. It doesn't look like we're going to have the cold-air-damming (and dropping down from Pennsylvania) that we had a couple of nights ago, keeping the warm-air down in Central Virginia.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | February 23, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Today is February 24th. Our chances of seeing [measurable] snowfall are diminishing with each passing day. Meteorological spring is 5 days away.

It was Walter, I believe, who made a good point this morning, though. There is a vast assortment of warm-weather activities in which we snow-lovers can participate until next winter to keep our minds off snow; tennis, golf, swimming, traveling, BBQs, etc., etc.

So, since I don't see much of anything (snow) on the models, I'll start cheering for warmth and sunny weather. It doesn't help to just sit around and pout, does it? Perhaps I'll go for a round of golf tomorrow...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 23, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for the NAM/upper level low info...

Re: the budget cuts... was NWS impacted during the govt shutdown in the '90s?

Bob, I'm not ready to give up on snow yet... ...not until around the beginning of May...

Posted by: spgass1 | February 23, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I am wondering when is the official start of severe weather(thunderstorms)

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 23, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Next week on Monday I think this is going to be a severe thunderstorm outbreak that's eat I'm guessing

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 23, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

What srry my iPod touch spelled this wrong srry bout that

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 23, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse


June seems to be the big month locally for severe gradually ramps up in April and May. And we often get big storms in July and August (probably more than we do in April and May). I think we could get some good gusts Friday, but Monday may provide better potential - more upper level dynamics.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 23, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

So, since I don't see much of anything (snow) on the models, I'll start cheering for warmth and sunny weather. It doesn't help to just sit around and pout, does it? Perhaps I'll go for a round of golf tomorrow...

Do you have a job?

Posted by: Axel2 | February 24, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

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