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Posted at 6:05 PM ET, 02/ 5/2011

Update on upcoming wintry weather chances

By Dan Stillman

Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

6:05 p.m. Update: A parting shot of precipitation, before we dry out later this evening, is approaching the western suburbs and contains a mix of rain, sleet and snow. This precipitation may try to diminish as it closes in on the metro area. But if it doesn't, the National Weather Service cautions:

THESE SHOWERS CONTAIN A BRIEF PERIOD OF SLEET WHICH WILL ARRIVE SUDDENLY AND COVER THE GROUND IN ABOUT 10 TO 15 MINUTES. BEHIND THE INITIAL LINE...THE SLEET AND RAIN WILL MIX WITH WET SNOW...WHICH WILL LAST BETWEEN 30 AND 60 MINUTES.

TEMPERATURES REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING...SO ANY SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION WILL MELT ONCE THE PRECIPITATION ENDS. UNTIL THEN...UP TO A HALF INCH OF ACCUMULATION MAY BE POSSIBLE.

THE SLEET WILL REACH THE BLUE RIDGE BETWEEN 6PM AND 6:20 PM...AND THEN TO WESTMINSTER ... GAITHERSBURG ... LEESBURG ... WARRENTON ... AND CULPEPER BETWEEN 6:30 AND 6:45 PM.

From 3:15 pm...

It's been a raw, dreary and drizzly day out there, but with nothing in the way of frozen precipitation. Might that change? Well, we're tracking three opportunities for wintry weather over the next several days. None are close to a sure thing as of yet, though a potential storm in the Wednesday-Friday period holds the most promise for snow lovers.

The first chance barely qualifies as one, as there's just a slight chance that today's light rain ends as a few evening snowflakes as cold air rushes in behind low pressure departing to our northeast. Even if we were to see any snow, accumulation would be unlikely since evening temperatures probably stay above freezing.

Keep reading for details on snow chances during the coming work week. And see Ian Livingston's full forecast through midweek.

The second chance is a little more interesting. A vigorous upper-level disturbance could send a band of snow toward or into the area Monday night. However, any snow may or may not diminish or dry up as it approaches. Also, if snow does make it into or across the metro area, temperatures may just be getting down toward or near freezing as it comes through, after Monday afternoon highs as high as around 50 - so any snow may have trouble accumulating. Max accumulation, if everything came together just right? Probably no more than a dusting to half-inch or so.


Accumulated precipitation forecast for the 24 hours ending 1 a.m. Friday, from NCEP's GFS forecast model.

The third chance - a potential storm riding up the East Coast - is the most intriguing of the bunch, but wouldn't arrive until Thursday, give or take a day. And so far, models have varied widely from run to run, showing tracks that would produce anything from a significant snowstorm (this morning's European model), to a storm with snow changing to rain, to a storm too far out to sea to do much of anything around here (this morning's GFS model). So at this point, there's very little we can say other than there's some chance of snow and/or rain between Wednesday and Friday.

By Dan Stillman  | February 5, 2011; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Updates  
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Next: Forecast: Brightening skies for the big game

Comments

Thanks for the update. I think you mean "stay" above freezing.

Posted by: batsandgates | February 5, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

From the NWS Forecast Discussion:

"ANOTHER
STORM SYSTEM MAY IMPACT THE REGION WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY.
TRACK AND STRENGTH OF THIS SYSTEM REMAIN UNCERTAIN THIS FAR
OUT...BUT WITH COLDER AIR IN PLACE ANY PRECIPITATION WOULD LIKELY BE
IN THE FORM OF SNOW. WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS SITUATION OVER
THE NEXT FEW DAYS."

It sounds like no one is ready to go out on a limb just yet. This looks like yet another "wait and see" storm. My expectations are very low at this point. It would be a miracle if the Euro verifies.

CWG: I would like you to go out on a limb. If you had to pick right now between the Euro and GFS, which of the two outcomes do you think is more likely?

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 5, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@bobmiller2-- It's WAAAAYYY too early to even go out on a limb re: late week storm next week. We have the best and brightest mets on this site, and Dan/Jason clearly stated in the earlier posting today that any prognostication as to what may happen should wait until at least Monday.

I think for them to even mention the chance of a system impacting us that far out is enough. If it were Monday afternoon instead of Saturday, I'd give you that limb and help them on to it. But not today.

Sorry, I usually try to hold my comments when I don't agree with folks but this was just too much. I love snow as much as the next person (but not as much as you).

I think we need to be a bit more realistic in our expectations.

Yours in hopeful sledding and snowman building fun,
southbridgemom

Posted by: southbridgemom | February 5, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2

The EURO will verify. The whole country is going to get the artic air and anything that falls will be in the form of snow. I also think that it will be a light powdery snow which will make accumulations significant. It's going to be a great snow for the ski resorts. I'm calling for 15 inches in DC with 17-20 inches from Montgomery county to the west. The days following the storm will be very cold so anything that melts will refreeze day after day after day after day after day after day after day.

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 5, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

can there be banding with this next storm system wednesday- thursday night. And how much for the fairfax area with this next big storm

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 5, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@weatherfreak1994

It is WAY too early to be calling amounts and whether there will be banding. Right now the question is will it hit or will it be OTS.

Posted by: cubscapsfan | February 5, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

what are the moldes indicating at this point of time

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 5, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

what are the models indicating at this point of time

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 5, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I mostly agree with everything you say, a very thoughtful forecast given the deck we have been dealt.

I'm hoping for a little more snow from that powerful upper system on Monday, but the surface does not want to cooperate. Maybe for once, something could go better than we think.

The Euro solution looked like a potential major storm on Thursday if the heaviest doesn't go south of us. The event is far from certain, but something interesting to watch.

Posted by: frontieradjust | February 5, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I mostly agree with everything you say, a very thoughtful forecast given the deck we have been dealt.

I'm hoping for a little more snow from that powerful upper system on Monday, but the surface does not want to cooperate. Maybe for once, something could go better than we think.

The Euro solution looked like a potential major storm on Thursday if the heaviest doesn't go south of us. The event is far from certain, but something interesting to watch.

Posted by: frontieradjust | February 5, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

southbridgemom,

Thanks for that message. You're right, we shouldn't focus on specifics at this point. I'm going to try not to think about this storm too much until Monday.

I just hope I can borrow my neighbors' snowblower again. Shoveling our long driveway is hard on my back.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy any snow we do get :)

Bob

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 5, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

MOTHER NATURE BRING ON THE FURY!!!

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 5, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

I have two seemingly unrelated thoughts to this forecast. Is CWG going to do an analysis for how well the Farmer's Alamanac prognosticated the month of February as CWG did with the periodical and the month of January? With this, Joe Bastardi is saying a major flip is coming to the winter pattern after Valentines day. This afternoon, in my front yard in Frederick, MD, there must have been 30 robins rooting for seeds in the exposed grass. Are they not supposed to be a harbinger of Spring? Could Bastardi and "The Groundhog" be correct? Thoughts.

Posted by: retroace | February 5, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

So, it's really not possible to screen out posts from specific individuals on this blog? Guess not, huh?

Posted by: angelicat | February 5, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

It might be fun to speculate about a snowstorm mid-late next week - let alone hype a "major major flip coming to the winter pattern after Valentines day" by Joey Fearless - but be assured no one, absolutely no one, knows for real what next week or the balance of the winter season will bring.

Anyone's guess - whether based on model spinning, gut feelings, wishful thinking, the horoscope, palm reading, etc. - is as good as anyone else's. If one of the guesses hits the mark, chock it up to luck of the draw and nothing else.

The fact is that - whether in be from the NWS, CWG, Preciseweather's Joey Fearless, etc., etc) - the seasonal outlooks to date for this winter are looking pretty far off the mark (as most seasonal predictions usually are, especially when it comes to specifics). That's just the way it is and will remain so for quite some time (possibly forever) given the inherent nature of the beast.

Having said this, I'm not one to give up on wishful thinking and fantasizing on the possibilities of a snowmaggedon like storm - except, of course like all CWG members, when the real world requires complete objectivity.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Heavy rain shower followed by gusty winds here in Warren county. No flakes yet. Considering we had no precip whatsoever until now, it was a bit of a surprise.

Posted by: eric654 | February 5, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Sleet arriving on schedule in the Blue Ridge Mtns in eastern Warren Co.

Posted by: spgass1 | February 5, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Just passed through Harpers Ferry. Not a big deal except for being a total surprise.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 5, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

ABC 7 meteorologist just said that Thursday has the possibility of being a MAJOR snowstorm!!!!!!

WOOHOO!!!

everyone hype this storm!!!!

18 inches of fluffy powder!!!!!!!

WOOOO WOOOO WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 5, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Snowluver, I'm going to remember you promised us 18 inches....

Hopefully this major weather flip will occur, looks like the models show really fast warming next weekend after cold conditions.

Posted by: bastings | February 5, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I think I will start flushing ice cubes NOW!!!!

A major snowstorm south of DC for a change sounds like just what I need!!!!

Posted by: Hopin4Snow | February 5, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Was this sleet and accumulating snow a surprise to the CWG? Your earlier forecast said for tonight:

there's just a slight chance that today's light rain ends as a few evening snowflakes as cold air rushes in behind low pressure departing to our northeast. Even if we were to see any snow, accumulation would be unlikely since evening temperatures probably stay above freezing.

Now your new one says both sleet and accumulating snow.

Why did none of the precious models predict this? That's why I think it's silly that people are asking on Saturday what Thursday's weather will be. If the models can't predict the weather even 3 hours in advance how can they predict it 5 days in advance?

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 5, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

SN0WLUVER RULES!!!! TEAM SNOWLUVER!!
OPERATION "SNOW HOPE" IS BACK IN EFFECT!! BRING ON THE PRECIPITATION AND BELOW FREEZING TEMPS...YAYEE!!

Posted by: BELLASNOWQUEEN | February 5, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

We are in Monrovia (just southeast of Frederick) and we got this sleet/snow alert. I turned on the outside light, sat by the window and compared what I was seeing on the NWS radar to what was visible in the light. As far as I could see, as the light blue, green and yellow passed over, there was no precip. The alert seemed to be directed to motorists, who of course, would be unlikely to have received it...

I heard from Paw Paw, WV a little over an hour ago, that there was freezing rain - would that be the same little band?

Am I right to assume that none of the long term models can catch these little pop up events?

@rwalker66
As we all know, there's often no accuracy in a forecast 5 days out... so...

Here's to watching for THURSDAY and another midweeknosnowmageddon.

Posted by: monroviawthr | February 5, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ooops - correction - it wasn't an "alert" - it was a "Special Weather Statement".

Posted by: monroviawthr | February 5, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Booo, line fell apart right on my doorstep. bupkis.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

SNOWLUVER, BELLASNOWQUEEN, et al:

I hate to rain on your parade, but I can say with 95% certainty that we won't get 18 inches.

I'm no meteorologist, but SNOWLUVER's "prediction" just seems crazy.

Posted by: BobMiller2 | February 5, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Ooops - correction - it wasn't an "alert" - it was a "Special Weather Statement".

Posted by: monroviawthr | February 5, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

First time poster, long time lurker.

Working in the aviation field, I often use CWG for professional reasons, IE when will it be busy at work etc etc. I have found over time that CWG usually does the best at not only getting the forecast right but their in depth analysis and explanations are second to none. You guys have my gratitude for all the hard work you do.

Posted by: PCT_ATC | February 5, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@bobmiller2-- May you get the loan of the snowblower, and may you get the chance to put that puppy into overdrive. ;o)

Patiently waiting till Monday (with the excited expectation of a kid!)...

Posted by: southbridgemom | February 5, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure we'll be posting about pie-in-the-sky snowstorms for the next few days.
Always lotsa fun.
Could I just get one decent sunny afternoon out of the weekend? Need winter sunshine therapy.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 5, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

@rwalker66

Line mostly fell apart as I suspected in would. Forecast of possible accumulation above was not mine, but was from NWS as noted. Thought I'd pass it along out of an abundance of caution. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

@BobMiller2

First reason i think we will be getting 18 inches is because of the cold temperatures that will be in place. The cold temps will make a light fluffy snow which will accumulate twice as much as commutageddon. My second reason for 18 inches is palm reading. I went to a palm reader today and she told me that i will be full of joy and excitement next Thursday. Reason 3 is my favorite meteorologist Joe Bastardi. He predicted this week "THE STORM OF THE CENTURY"!!! Joe will be right about this one.

It's going to be a crippling, disruptive, and paralyzing storm for all major I-95 cities from Richmond to Boston.

@BELLASNOWQUEEN

THERE IS SNOWHOPE!!! ALL SNOWLUVERS NEED TO TAKE PART IN OPERATION SNOWHOPE 2011!!!

To all you snowhaters,

Theres not gonna be any 70's in the end of february or in march. Sorry but your gonna have to wait til april for that. WINTER isnt over!!!

EVERYONE!!!

GET THE SHOVEL/SNOWBLOWER READY!!
STOCK UP ON BREAD AND MILK
AND STOCK UP ON FIREWOOD BECAUSE NEXT WEEK IS GONNA BE FULL OF WINTRY FUN!!!!


SNOW HOPE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: SNOWLUVER | February 5, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

@rwalker66

Are you kidding? We've been talking about the fact that the precip might end as mainly non-accumulating snow in the western suburbs since Thursday. And that's exactly what it did.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

@PCT_ATC

Thanks for the nice note and for visiting our blog! Glad you find it useful...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 5, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I predict sunshine and mid to high 40s on Thursday.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | February 5, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Not that the kids posting on this board will care what I think, and I fully expect to be excoriated by them, but the all caps is exceedingly annoying.

/rant

Posted by: natsncats | February 5, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

SNOWLUVER, you are too funny! LOL! :o)

Posted by: ThinkWarm | February 5, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

@brian: Gotta love it when "bupkis" is a descriptive weather word.

Posted by: biketraveller22 | February 5, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Fellow snow fiends, please calm down. These wild, insane and zany predictions of 18 inches are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and just plain crazy. So enough with the 18 stuff!

Actually, we're gonna get 24...24 inches of beautiful, silky soft snow.

That will soon turn into 18 inches of moderately heavy snow...

which will then become a foot of impenetrable ice! Still, I long to see gigantic mounds of plowed snow in parking lots and driveways. Two things indicate this storm's gonna be a whopper. One, I bought a new shovel last week. And two, the old snow is stubbornly hanging on. And everyone knows that snow draws snow.

And the puffy cloud is staying white with little balls! No fangs or fingernails!

Posted by: NewbreedSE | February 5, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Today started off cold here in the Blue Ridge Mtns... freezing fog this morning with just a minor glaze... foggy all day long... sleet amounted to a coating this evening... and now some stars are visible.

Temp range 28.9 - 34.9... currently 33.4F

Posted by: spgass1 | February 5, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

im getting really hyped about what is going to happen on Thursday. I'm saying this now U NEED TO GET PREPARED NOW IT IS GOING TO BE A CRIPPELING AND DEVISTATING STORM. please stuck up on all food and essentials u need and just please be safe out there for ur sake.
Weatherfreak1994

Posted by: weatherfreak1994 | February 5, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

The SouthAmerican NAM and the African GFS came out and we are getting nothing but rain.

Posted by: RJ16 | February 5, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

If it does indeed snow thurs/fri please tell your neighbors, friends and family to not be like any of these people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar0pPT3O6Sk

As bad as these drivers are, drivers in and around the DC metro, VA and MD are actually worse in the snow. STAY OFF THE ROADS!

Posted by: KRUZ | February 6, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

CWG - I have to make a trip down to Fredericksburg for a formal dinner on Thursday. Can you please tell me if it will snow and exactly how much so I can plan appropriately? Also - what shirt/tie pairing can I wear with my tone on tone black striped suit? I'll also need to know if it will snow next year at this time - my wife likes to plan these dinners way in advance. Oh one more thing... when poaching salmon would you recommend erring on the side of slightly underdone?

Seriously people. Let's give these guys a break and give them a chance to breathe before we start asking them what time the snow will start down to the minute. They have more important things to do - like tell me if they would take Green Bay and lay the points.

Posted by: SnowHurricane | February 6, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

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