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

Forecast: Salvageable Saturday, soggy Sunday

By Ian Livingston

Main rain swath holds off 'til late night

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


A lot of clouds on tap, but temps are mild and it's mostly (or completely) dry during the day.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Variable clouds. Shower? Upper 50s to low 60s. | Tonight: Cloudy, increasing chance of rain. Near 50. | Tomorrow: Periods of rain. Mid-50s to near 60. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


If you're eager to spend some time outdoors, this weekend will accommodate you half of the time. Despite the clouds, today should be OK for any garden prepping, sightseeing, or even aimless wandering. The system scheduled to bring us rain tonight into tomorrow is driven by a slow-moving cold front still well west. That slow movement helps save today and brings a solid soaking tomorrow. We still need the rain, as National Airport is currently 1.91" behind normal just since Jan. 1, and dry to drought conditions are present across the area.

Snow Potential Index: 0 (→) - Now accepting bribes from snow lovers to raise the SPI.

The SPI is a daily assessment of snow accumulation potential 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 (Saturday): Clouds rule the day, but hopefully they'll allow some sun through at times. Regardless, a fresh breeze from the south helps pump in warmer air. Highs should reach the upper 50s to lower 60s. That wind will be noticeable at times, especially in the afternoon, with gusts past 25 mph. There could be a random shower, however most spots should stay dry. Confidence: High

Tonight: The cold front and associated wave of low pressure responsible for the rain are in no major hurry, so we probably hold off the real rain risk 'til after midnight, but a stray shower is possible before that. By sunrise, the threat of rain is pretty high as lows only dip down near 50. A south wind continues around 5-10 mph. Confidence: High

Is it really going to rain a lot on Sunday? Inquire within.

Tomorrow (Sunday): Periods of rain, sometimes moderate to heavy, are a good bet as the cold front and low pressure system move toward and through the region. There may be pauses here and there, but it should be fairly wet most of the day. Highs range from the mid-50s to near 60 as south winds sustained around 10 mph continue much of the day. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Decent odds of rain persist into evening before everything transitions to our east and northeast overnight. When all is said and done, many spots may end up with near or past 1" of rain, particularly north and west of D.C. Lows range from the 30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium


On Monday, we see a return of the sun. A few clouds may float by here and there into the afternoon, but sunshine increases. We'll also deal with a breeze from the north in the storm's wake. That March sun is getting quite strong though, so highs should have no trouble nearing 50. Confidence: Medium

Tuesday is a textbook early March day around here after a pretty chilly start (below freezing in the 'burbs to near freezing downtown). Other than that? Mostly sunny skies and highs rising toward the mid-50s. Confidence: Medium-High

By Ian Livingston  | March 5, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Weather image of the day: Last snow pile of 2011?
Next: Forecast: Sunday soaker, then seasonable


i'll barter my first-born in exchange for a decent shot at one last snow storm ... heck, I'll go ahead and throw in all the kiddies and their paraphenelia if you can make it 6 inches or more!

Posted by: luvhh | March 5, 2011 5:21 AM | Report abuse

i'll barter my first-born in exchange for a decent shot at one last snow storm ... heck, I'll go ahead and throw in all the kiddies and their paraphenelia if you can make it 6 inches or more!

Posted by: luvhh | March 5, 2011 5:21 AM | Report abuse

I will endlessly defend the "misguided" forecasting all next winter of CWG'er who raises the SPI. Think of it: a storm fizzles out and only gives a dusting when you're predicting 24 inches, I've got your back in the comment section.

Posted by: ArlTeacherSnowman | March 5, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

hi ian,
is there some website that lists all the snow events (including flurries and "trace" amounts etc...) for dc in a given season?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 5, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Flying home Wed. from Barcelona via Munich, lots of snow in the Alps. Maine, southern NH, central Mass, western CT: all lakes and rivers frozen & the ground snow covered (from 38,000 ft. up, it's difficult to gauge snow depth). Then I land at IAD and it's in the 60s.

When Chattanooga, TN (12.6") has more snow than IAD (12.5"), you know winter hereabouts was a low snow blow.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | March 5, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Ian - why do you say the weekend will accomodate people who want to be outdoors half the time? Do you not think you can enjoy the outdoors in the rain? Personally, I'll be going on a nice long bike ride on Sunday. Sure, it might be a little wet, but rain does not make it impossible for us outdoors lovers to enjoy nature!

Posted by: Anonymous123451 | March 5, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Here you go! *Gives 100$* Now, raise it to at least a two?

Posted by: benzachr | March 5, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I sense end season snow lover desperation. Having garden fever helps alleviate the symptoms, but I feel it too.

We had some very early rain showers in Centreville & the wind is now starting to stir up a bit. Here's hoping for some sunshine before tomorrow's drenching.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | March 5, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse


we have some sunshine peeking through the clouds now here in NE Loudoun/Sterling area. I know my garden will appreciate the rain tomorrow...daffodils, crocuses, and tulips are already popping up!


how's the weather in Barcelona?I hear it's nice there this time of year... Have a nice flight back!


I see that areas west of here are under a flood watch.

any chance that gets extended into the dc area? latest NAM spits out over an inch of rain...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | March 5, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

No money in the snow kitty for me -- I think we're done. :-(

How long before the nighttime lows bottom out consistently in the mid-40's? I'd like to hook up the garden hose and start some yard prep, but if it's going to hover near freezing, I'll wait.

Posted by: rosilandjordan | March 5, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@BobMiller, the 8 days I was in Barcelona the weather was sunny, upper 50s-low 60s in the day, cool at night. But many people were still wearing winter coats and knotted scarves. With a sea breeze coming in, I suppose the wind chill might have been in the mid-50s some days. ; ))

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | March 5, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

walter, not that I know of on a site with all snow events listed. I have a general list with a few errors in it (the dailies dont fully match the historical record shown on LWX). I've been trying to figure out how to share more of that data, will have to keep thinking on it.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 5, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous123451, you are right! Though I would still bet many look at a rainy day as an indoor day.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 5, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

BobMiller2, it *could* get extended east but guidance is more impressive on rains in that area ... pretty much everything shows 1-3" or so up to our northwest. The "problem" for us is the low wants to go right overhead basically. Usually the heaviest precip will be to the northwest of the low track. It could shift southeast but more often than not things either hold or shift a bit north/northwest into game time.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 5, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: SNOWLUVER | March 5, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

you guys hoping and pining for temps in the seventies have to realize that our average high doesn't reach 70 until april 26th - that's more than 6 weeks away. and, even though it's cloudy today, and apparently it "sucks" today, it's about 10 degrees above our average of 52 degrees. remember, it's march 5th, not may 5th.

went to ashburn today and kept an eye out for snow piles. i didn't see any. rwalker reported one yesterday (at fair oaks? pics?) and IMGoph reported one at the suitland metro station parking garage yesterday. i'd like have a "last pile" contest. i find it stunning that there are still piles considering the last snow of any consequence was well over a month ago, and it hasn't been particularly cold since then - in fact we've had, what 4 70-degree days. and even that snow on jan 26th wasn't all that big - though i guess it had a lot of water content.

you seem to have been in the bull's-eye for that storm. any snow piles out your way?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 5, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Yay for Tuesday's forecast. It's the day of our annual job fair and I was hoping it'd be nice for everyone involved. No one likes setting up/tearing down in the rain. (Shameless plug here:

Posted by: kygurl94 | March 5, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse


I actually live fairly close to Ashburn and I saw a snow pile in a shopping center parking lot yesterday. The last one near my house melted a few days ago...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | March 5, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't really matter if it would ever get back into the 70's.

Whenever the temp. is in the 70's, the wind has ALWAYS been howling at 50-70 MPH this year. So it really feels like it is the 30's

What's the point.

Posted by: NYY1 | March 5, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Snowluver wants... HEAT?! Woah.

Posted by: bastings | March 5, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

In Virginia, Washington, and Maryland I don't think that there will be a storm with more than an inch of snow:( I do think that CWG is wrong about the amount of rain. The national weather service AND the weather channel say that there could be heavy rain, damaging winds, and even possible tornadoes. If you happen to not have thinderstorms (most people will) you would see at least 2 inches of rain. Some of the tunderstorms could dump 2 or 3 inches of rain per hour. Yikes

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | March 5, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

When I said most people will, I meant that most people will see some thunderstorms. Just wanted to be clear.

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | March 5, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@SNOWLUVER: Be careful what you wish for, or else this summer could be just like last summer. And that would be agonizing.

Posted by: DAK4Blizzard | March 5, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about you guys, but I'd love a summer like the last. Perfect weather for working outdoors, playing basketball, going sailing, Ocean City, etc!

Posted by: bastings | March 5, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi all - Are you planning to take a small umbrella out with you tonight for evening plans? I think it is called-for. We have a few more hours before showers begin, but I think if staying out tonight-- you might want to take some rain protection with you now!

ps, Ian, love the use of "inquire within" to get folks reading after the jump :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 5, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Caribou Weather Gang are going to be busy tomorrow; anywhere from 12-20" of snow predicted for northern Maine. And we can't buy, bribe, or otherwise obtain 10" of snow for the season at DCA.

If you follow Heating Degree Days, there's actually a shortfall for the winter, even though we froze our parkas off in December-early February. The December 26, 2010 snow flop will live in infamy!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | March 5, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

andrewjohnsonlevine, we indicate heavy rain is a possibility at times. There could be some rumbles as well, which was in the forecast yesterday and perhaps mistakenly left out today. Any storms should not be severe though, I don't see any indication of widespread severe anywhere with this event. Most guidance suggests 1"+ rain is more likely north and west of the city still.

Camden, thanks. :)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 5, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

How much could fall in Stafford? Other weather sources say that the almost all of Virginia and Maryland is in the "yellow zone." The yellow zone is basicly the zone with the higher flood threat. Also any possible severe thunderstorm possibilities would be spotty. I am not against your forecast though.

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | March 5, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

So how do you bribe a weather forecaster? Maybe a cushy job in San Diego, where forecasts never go wrong. Sunny everyday and a partly cloudy forecast is as exciting as it gets.

Posted by: SanDieganLostinDC | March 5, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Strange how PA can be 2/3 covered in rain but we still have nary a drop out here in Warren county. The radar seems to have growing hole to the south and west of us. If this were a snowstorm we would be yelling bust right now. I wonder if it will be one of those cases where a batch of rain goes west and a batch east of the Blue Ridge leaving us relatively dry in the Valley.

Posted by: eric654 | March 5, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

NAM appears to show a bit of snow at the end for NW VA... any thoughts?

Posted by: spgass1 | March 5, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse


i noticed that about the radar as well, but the 00z nam is hot off the press and shows up to 2" of rain over warren county. i don't see this being a bust, but we shall see...


latest model guidance shows at least 1 - 1.5" for stafford. not a whole lot, but hey, it's better than nothing.


wow, 12 - 20" of snow?!?! that's quite a lot. i suppose, though, if you live in maine, that's fairly typical.


i just got home from dinner, I didn't take the umbrella and made it just fine. still no rain here in NE loudoun, but that could change quickly...

Posted by: BobMiller2 | March 5, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

00z NAM seems to bring a dry slot in as the cold air arrives...

Posted by: spgass1 | March 5, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

That sounds about right but I think that is what it is supossed to be in the whole Washington area. In Stafford we just got done with a weak thunderstorm but there was a lot of thunder.

Posted by: andrewjohnsonlevine | March 6, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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