The Washington Post

Winter weather in hiding through mid-January: any hope for snow?

The temperature difference from normal late next Wednesday at an altitude of about 5,000 feet indicates it will probably be quite mild in the Washington, D.C. area, with highs in the 50s. From the European model ensemble mean simulation. (

A forecast for a warming trend next week makes the snow outlook bleak through mid-January, at least.

Related: Long range: Warmer than normal temperatures returning, snow chances low

One Capital Weather Gang commenter - snowmomma - aptly expressed the current state of mind of snow lovers yesterday:

I can hardly stand it! When it is cold enough to snow, we have sunshine and it’s super dry. When there is any significant moisture, we get a thaw.

DisclaimerThis is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

Will winter come roaring back and dump snow on the region later this month?

Some meteorologists are hyping a possible “sudden stratospheric warming event” underway which could re-arrange atmospheric flow patterns in the next couple of weeks. Long range models suggest much colder air will spill into the U.S. by mid-to-late January which could set the stage for snow. But the exact placement and intensity of any cold air - not to mention whether storms will complement it - cannot be predicted with accuracy this far in advance.

I’d view any forecasts for extreme cold and snow more than a week or two into the future with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Snow lovers can hang their hat on the fact most of the region’s snowfall - historically - has occurred between mid-January and the end of February. CWG’s Ian Livingston found that years with 1 inch or less snow through December still managed to average 80 to 90 percent of “normal”snowfall for January through the close of the winter.

CWG’s winter weather expert Wes Junker will take a detailed look at the evolving pattern early next week.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.

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