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Late-Night Changes in Snow, Baseball

Dan Stillman @ 1:35 AM

If you're anything like me and three of your favorite things are Washington, snow and baseball, then early last evening there wasn't much to be excited about. Snow chances in the immediate future looked slim, and the D.C. Council had voted down a critical stadium lease deal for the Nationals.

Then, late last night, things suddenly started to look up. A slightly increased chance of weekend snowflakes appeared in one of the primary computer forecast models, while baseball may have been saved by eleventh-hour wheeling and dealing at City Hall. As usual, let's start with the forecast:

Forecast First

Today: Partly cloudy with a high approaching 40.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy and cold with a low in the low 20s. Tomorrow: Partly to mostly sunny. High in the mid-to-upper 30s. Tomorrow Night: Clear and cold. Lows in the low 20s downtown, but down into the mid teens in the suburbs. Friday: A bit warmer with highs in the low-to-mid 40s.

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Saturday, Feb. 11
Probability: 25%
Potential Impact:
Commentary: On Monday, Jason mentioned the possibility of a low either coming up the coast or sliding harmlessly out to sea this weekend. As is typical, that potential storm has disappeared from and now reappeared in at least one model. While the odds are still low that we'll see anything significant come of this, the potential is still there.

NatCast Hangs in the Balance

The D.C. Council killed the proposed stadium deal for the Washington Nationals last night, jeopardizing the long-term chances of baseball staying in the District, and then revived and passed the deal very early this morning, just after midnight. Now it's Major League Baseball's turn to respond.

Is NatCast --'s special forecast for all Nationals home games -- here to stay? Or will it soon be a relic of the past? Maybe we should put the question to a vote by the city council.

Summer Still Sacred

While winter and spring may be frustrating to think about for snow and baseball lovers, at least there's good news with respect to summer. The superintendent of D.C. Public Schools has smartly decided to not recommend that the upcoming school year start on Aug. 14 as he originally proposed. Turns out he's realized that thousands of students and parents don't want their summer fun interrupted by what would have been the earliest start date in the region.

Unfortunately an Aug. 21 start date is still a possiblity -- still too early in my book. The D.C. Board of Education is expected to decide for sure next week.

The Many Faces of NOAA

So you think the actions of local governments like the D.C. Council are hard to follow? The federal government has its own set of complexities.

As Steve mentioned in his post yesterday afternoon, the White House has released its proposed 2007 federal budget, which includes $3.68 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency of the National Weather Service.

Sound like a lot of money for weather forecasting? Not really. It's actually a 4.3 percent cut from the previous year. And not all the money goes directly toward weather forecasting. While it is probably the best known, the National Weather Service is only one of several organizations under NOAA, the others being:
  • National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • National Ocean Service
  • Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
  • Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
Oh, and did I mention all the centers within the National Weather Service:
  • Tropical Prediction Center
  • National Hurricane Center
  • Storm Prediction Center
  • National Centers for Environmental Prediction
  • Hydrometeorological Prediction Center
  • Climate Prediction Center
  • and more than a dozen others
And finally, don't forget that NOAA itself is just one agency within the Department of Commerce ... Confused yet? My head is definitely spinning.

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