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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Forecast: Drying out, a little chilly

By Jason Samenow

High temps mainly 50-60 this week

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


It's nice to see the sun, but it's a bit brisk.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Breezy and cool, with sunshine. 46-51. | Tonight: Clear and cold. 26-33. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. 48-53. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


After yesterday's deluge and surprise late night snowflakes, we get a few days to dry out. The negative in the week ahead weather is no stand-out day with both sunshine and warmth. The sunny days tend to be chilly. We get more rain to eat away at the winter's precipitation deficit late Wednesday and Thursday.

Snow Potential Index: 0 (→) - Means no potential for ACCUMULATING snow in next week in DC. (Last night's non-sticking flakes barely missed the criteria, but it sure was close)

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 (Monday): Watch out for any slick spots early in the morning, especially in the colder north and west suburbs. Behind Sunday's powerful front, it's a windy but bright day. The March sun pushes high temperatures from the mid-40s in the northern suburbs to near 50 south of town. Breezes from the north at 10-20 mph with some higher gusts give the air a wintry feel. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Winds diminish some and skies are clear. As such, it's a cold night. Lows range from near 25 in the colder suburbs to the low 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through next weekend...

Tomorrow (Tuesday): It's similar to Monday, but a little bit more pleasant thanks to somewhat lighter winds. Nonetheless, despite plentiful sunshine, cold high pressure to the north doesn't let max temps exceed the upper 40s (north) to low 50s (south). Winds are from the north at around 10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: It feels like winter for yet another night. Lows range from mid-20s in the colder suburbs to the low 30s downtown. Winds are light. Confidence: Medium-High


High pressure to the north Wednesday keeps it relatively cool as clouds start to increase ahead of the next storm system. Highs are in the 40s to near 50. Wednesday night, a warm front tries to push through bringing the likelihood of showers. There may be enough cold air in the some of the cold spots for a little wintry mix, but most spots are probably looking at plain rain. Lows are in the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium

Flow from the south should help temperatures on Thursday reach into the 50s, but showers are likely and even a thunderstorm (especially to the southeast). Thursday night, we see partial clearing and windy and colder conditions, with lows in the 30s. Confidence: Medium

Friday through Sunday are, for the most part, at least partly sunny and March-like. Highs are generally in the upper 40s to mid-50s. On Saturday, a weak disturbance passing to our north could produce a period of showers - but otherwise, it's more often dry than not. Overnight lows are in the 30s. Confidence: Medium

By Jason Samenow  | March 7, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Sunday soaker, then seasonable
Next: For the record: Sunday's rain and snow


I know our frost-free date isn't until May 15, but each and every year I feel like around April 15 I'm almost in the clear (usually there is one more hard freeze to chastise my lack of patience). Any feel for whether the groundhog may have gotten it right?

Posted by: BadMommy1 | March 7, 2011 5:50 AM | Report abuse


You wrote “eat away at the winter’s precip deficit…”

Are we really that much behind? Since Jan 1 at DCA we have gotten 5.76 with an average of 6.52.


Posted by: jaybird926 | March 7, 2011 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Jason, how much rain are we expecting Wednesday-Thursday? We received about 2" yesterday, so I sure hope it's less.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | March 7, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

if spgass sends in a picture of his 5"(!!!) of snow, i nominate it, sight unseen, for "weather picture of the day".

btw, my capwx pages are not completing the loading process. i refresshed last night's thread about 15 minutes ago, and it's STILL loading... this page too. seems to be happening w/all wash post pages.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 7, 2011 6:51 AM | Report abuse

3.62" in manassas park from 4am sunday morning until 10pm lastnight. WAYYYY underpredicted out here south and west.

Posted by: j0nx | March 7, 2011 6:54 AM | Report abuse

I received 1.75" yesterday in the TP/SS at 7.5" for the year. Don't think this area is in a drought either.

Posted by: weatherdude | March 7, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

So, I discovered something I didn't know last night. My home in Ashburn is outside the "SPI coverage" area.

Is my understanding correct that the SPI essentially only covers inside the beltway? If not, what area does it cover?


Passed several salt trucks on eastern Loudoun roads early this morning. Didn't encounter any iciness myself but I guess there were some.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 7, 2011 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Grass & the back of my car were covered with snow this morning!

Posted by: wadejg | March 7, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

never mind re slow loading. instead of absurdly slow, pages are loading normally slow now.


why do you think you're not covered by the SPI?

did you get accumulation? what does "accumulation" mean? if one snowflake lands on top of another, is that "accumulation"? if you got accumulation, do you think that it was just a bit of back-end snow that didn't affect anything, or maybe just a mistake by CWG? sometimes weather just doesn't do what it's "supposed to" do. was your commute affected by snow? if jason says the SPI covers a 60 mile radius (over 11,000 sq mi), someone from 61 miles out will say, "i consider myself to be in the washington area". so, what does "area" mean?

to paraphrase: you can please some of the people all of the time, and you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 7, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Official rain total was 2.66 for New Baltimore/Broad Run. We had snow from 8 to midnight, about 1/4 inch accumulation on cars and deck; a dusting on the ground. Just 15-20 miles west, Markham got a few inches. Wasn't expecting snow, but wasn't really surprised, either!

Posted by: weathergrrl | March 7, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Hi I was a little surprised to wake up to snow covering grassy surfaces, cars and my deck. It's a patchy light snow covering and the roads appear fine ( a bit of slickness but good). With all the rain yesterday ( we were in a flood warning area), I just didn't expect snow! Kids were happy to see it even though they know they still have to be in school and at least in Montgomery County that's a good thing because it's a test taking week. I am headed to MN tonight and will get my last fill of lots of snow before heading back here this week!

Posted by: soleil2000 | March 7, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that I am in Montgomery Village. And I would estimate maybe a 1/2 inch to an inch snow coating ( but patchy as I mentioned before).

Posted by: soleil2000 | March 7, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

No snow in Herndon and we got 2" of rain (barely). Slick spots on Rt. 50 W towards South Riding according to mitchrapp7 who hit one. Be interested in hearing the status of our drought now. Have we caught up?

Posted by: kygurl94 | March 7, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Lots of snow covered cars out there on the road this mroning. Funny.
I never saw a flake in Centreville last night, but then with an SPI of "zero" I certainly didn't have my nose up against the window glass every minute of the evening. We sure did get a lot of rain & the local creeks are up out of their banks this morning.
Classic crazy March weather.
Please take out that ugly chunk of spam posted at 8:00AM. Thanks.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | March 7, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse


The SPI is just a general tool for indicating accumulating snow potential in the D.C. area - but it's targeted more for places inside the beltway than outside the beltway. Because the snow climatology is different for places like Ashburn, Germantown, and points north and west - we'd need to have a separate SPI to best reflect potential there in certain circumstances, yesterday being one of those instances. In most cases though, the SPI we give will work out just fine for you.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | March 7, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse


We ran deficits in November and December in addition to January and February. So we can still use more rain but we obviously ate away a big chunk yesterday.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | March 7, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

My rain gauge measured 2.70" in NE DC (Capitol hill area).

Posted by: jojo2008 | March 7, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Snow on cars, a little on the grass when I left this morning in Ffx City. Just because the SPI is at 0, doesn't mean we can't be suprised! :)

Posted by: MKoehl | March 7, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Any idea how windy it's likely to be on Friday? We're planning a trip to Chincoteague and I know from experience that sunny skies and moderate temperatures mean nothing this time of's all about the wind!

Posted by: ivr10 | March 7, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Can you put up a poll asking people if the SPI should have been zero yesterday or 1 (or more)?

Posted by: eric654 | March 7, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@ThinkSpring & others

Your question really hits on a problem of definition. That is, the SPI and our forecasts in general are for the D.C. metro area, but what qualifies as the D.C. metro area? We should probably develop an FAQ on this, but I'd loosely define the core of the D.C. metro area as the District, Fairfax, Montgomery and P.G. counties, and places within (e.g., Arlington, Alexandria). The fringe of the metro area, imo, would be southern Frederick, eastern Loudoun, northeastern Prince William, northern Charles, western Calvert, western Anne Arundel, and southern Howard counties.

With that definition in mind, our forecast yesterday mostly verified for the vast majority of the metro area. We did well on the timing of the rain and of the heaviest rain and its location - that would be the single most important part of the forecast as far as the average weather forecast consumer is concerned. We were a little low on total rainfall for western locations but not by much, and while we always want to get that right, it doesn't impact most people's lives if you get 2 inches of rain when only expecting up to around 1.5".

We flat out missed the change to snow/sleet at the end, but with virtually no accumulation in the core of the metro area except a trace on grass/cars north and west of the Beltway, it didn't really matter much in terms of impact. For most of the core metro area, the SPI of 0 verified (the SPI as displayed on the blog clearly states it is for accumulating snow; such a disclaimer isn't included in the Twitter version due to the required brevity). I would say the SPI of 0 was indeed a miss for the northern/western outer fringe of the area (e.g., eastern Loudoun, southern Frederick). But still with minimal impact - looks like the only area school district to delay was Frederick County. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 7, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@walter, I work in the Gaithersburg Airpark, live in Laytonsville & we had a nice white covering this morning. It's all melting now though.

I totally didn't expect to see white on the ground this morning either. When I got up around 5:30 to hit the loo, I fed our cats & looked outside & saw all the white & thought "Is's not a full can't be...SNOW?!?!"

I'd heard on one of the newscasts last nite that there'd be snow in Frederick, but I didn't think we'd get it down here in G'burg.

Posted by: wadejg | March 7, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@ walter

Not sure if your post was entirely directed at me, but if it was, Jason said last night in a post that Loudoun was NOT part of the SPI area.

I just assumed it was. Wasn't attacking anyone. Just looking for clarification on what area the SPI encompassed.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 7, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

ah... gaithersburg. i have relatives up there and in damascus and in ashburn. i'm forever hearing things like, "oh, you only got 3"? we got 6", etc..." from them.

yeah, i pretty much assumed the SPI covered at least out to ashburn. it's really hard for CWG, though. i mean where do you draw the line? county lines are pretty much arbitrary, at least as far as the weather is concerned - except maybe way out west where the lines may follow mountain ridges/valleys etc...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 7, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Walter, the relatives that say ""oh, you only got 3"? we got 6", etc..."" are those the same relatives that are global warming deniers? Do you see why I'm asking this question?

Posted by: eric654 | March 7, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

i dearly love those relatives, but yes, the maryland contingent would include deniers.

maybe they see their higher accumulations as evidence against global warming, rather than seeing my lower totals as evidence for it - though obviously neither interpretation is correct... (weather/climate)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 7, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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