top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

Are our snow hopes fading?

Josh Larson @ 1:30 AM

Today's weather:
A very nice day with mostly sunny skies and a light breeze. Temperatures will be some 10 degrees milder than Wednesday's high of 38 degrees and exactly where they should be for this time of year. Lows tonight will be near freezing in the city with temperatures dropping to the upper 20's in the typically cooler suburbs.

Snow threat:
The "snow hysteria" on yesterday's blogs was quite palpable; obviously many are impatient for the first snow of the season. However, I, along with others here at, remain rather skeptical about the likelihood of a major snowstorm for the DC metro area during the Sunday-Tuesday period of next week. While it is still too far away to make a confident call, models seem to be trending away from predicting such an event. The main piece of the puzzle, which we may not know for sure until it's actually happening on Sunday, though we should have a good idea by Friday and Saturday, is exactly where the secondary area of low pressure will form once the "Manitoba Mauler" area of low pressure Jason mentioned yesterday plows from the Great Lakes to the Eastern Seaboard.

For reference sake only, the GFS, which is only one of the many models we look at, (and it has often been wrong!) has trended away from a snowy scenario for the DC area: Wednesday's 06z run gave DCA .75" of liquid equivalent precip (a major snowfall); Wednesday's 12z run halved that to give DCA .375" of precip; Wednesday's 18z model basically halved that once again to give DCA .175" precip; and the 0z Thursday run that just came in prints out about .3" of precip. Why do our snow hopes appear to be fading somewhat?

It seems that the initial shortwave of energy may not dig quite as far southward as models have been suggesting in days' past; as a result, the secondary or coastal area of low pressure looks like it may stay further offshore. The most recent run of the GFS shows the surface low Monday morning too far out to sea to bring appreciable precipitation as far west as the DC Metro Area. In fact, at this point, major snowfall may be limited to coastal New England. However, it is possible that a coating to several inches of snow may fall from the primary low pressure area as it presses from the Great Lakes to the Eastern Seaboard.

I am not calling off the snow for the DC area - as many things can change between now and Sunday - but I am suggesting, like we have all along, that I remain rather skeptical of the likelihood of a major snowfall for DC during this time. If we don't get snow from this one, though, the rest of December looks colder-than-average and potentially stormy with an active southern jet stream...

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post