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Wild Winds to Usher in Winter Chill
Light snow possible midweek

Jason Samenow @ 9:00 AM

*Wind Advisory* in effect through 1am tonight. Risk of power outages.

Winds today will gust as high as 50mph today behind a powerful cold front. Please be careful as loose debris and tree limbs may be hazardous. The incoming blast of colder air will set the stage for some light snow or flurries tomorrow night and Wednesday.


Forecast Confidence: HighDecreasing clouds, very windy and turning cold. As low pressure deepens off the coast of New England, its large circulation will direct very strong westerly winds across the region. Sustained winds of 25-30mph are likely, with gusts to 40-50mph. Temperatures will be chilly, especially factoring in the wind. Midday highs will reach the mid to upper 40s, but drop in the afternoon. Wind chills will fall from the 30s in the afternoon to the 20s by mid-evening. Overnight, skies will clear but winds will only slacken a little. Lows will drop to 25-30, but wind chills will reach the teens in some of the colder suburbs by dawn.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighMostly sunny and brisk. Light snow late at night? The morning will be especially chilly -- so bundle up when heading out. Temperatures will start the day subfreezing with wind chills near 20. The afternoon will be breezy but nothing like today, with 15-20mph winds diminishing to 10mph by evening. Sunshine will help boost temperatures into the low to mid 40s. Overnight, clouds increase with a 30% chance of light snow after midnight. Lows will be in the mid to upper 20s.


Forecast Confidence: HighChance of light snow or flurries. A clipper system will pass through the area, bringing occasional light snow showers or flurries. See the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball for more on the accumulation potential. Cloudy skies will likely hold high temperatures in the mid 30s.

A Look Ahead

  • Sunshine returns Thursday, with chilly highs near 40.
  • On Friday, a low pressure system is likely to move through the region from the southwest, bringing a chance of mixed precipitation in the morning, likely changing to rain in the afternoon, with highs near 40.
  • Saturday and Sunday should see partly sunny skies and moderating temperatures with highs Saturday in the mid 40s warming to the low 50s Sunday. Overnight lows should generally be in the mid 30s.

"Waiting for Snow"

Waiting for snow
The first of the year
I just can't believe
That it almost is here
Like cousins and Christmas
And places to go
Nothing takes longer
Than waiting for snow
Judging by snow hounds that visit this site and the snow freaks that produce it, this brilliant song by John McCutcheon should be our official anthem. (Special thanks to Steve Tracton, new Chair of the DC Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, for referring me to this instant classic.) Here's one more verse to get everyone fired up for the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball...
The longer I'm waiting
The longer it takes
'Til I stick out my tongue
To catch the first flakes
Wash your face in the snow
You'll be pretty all year
Look out the window
It's finally here

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Tuesday night through Wednesday night
Probability: 35%
Potential Impact:
Commentary: An Alberta Clipper is going to roll through the area Wednesday. Generally, these storms are moisture-starved and don't produce much accumulating snow after they cross the mountains (which sucks some of the life out of them). However, some light accumulations can occur along and just north of the track of the clipper and right now the DC area will be in that zone if current computer guidance is correct.

The most likely scenario is a bit of light snow pre-dawn Wednesday, possibly enough to dust the ground and make for a slippery rush hour given subfreezing temperatures. During the day Wednesday, occasional snow showers and flurries are possible - maybe whitening the ground at times, but probably not accumulating substantially with temperatures rising above freezing. Any snow activity should taper off Wednesday evening.

Alternative scenarios include:
  • Just a few flurries (if that) with no accumulation -- especially if the clipper tracks further north than currently depicted
  • An inch or so if some bands of heavier snow develop over the area not currently simulated by computer models.
Look forward to more details in tomorrow's post.

Photo in above graphic courtesy Kevin Ambrose.

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