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D.C. area forecast: Cold, with a bit of Sunday snow? Wednesday night storm update

4:20 p.m. update: A heavy band of snow is pushing through the metro region, producing a quick coating and even some slick spots. The snow band is narrow and shouldn’t last more than about an hour. Behind it, just scattered snow showers and flurries are expected with little additional accumulation.

2:40 p.m. update: A few patchy flurries are around the immediate D.C. area, but steadier snows are to the northwest from around Martinsburg to Hagerstown and especially into Pennsylvania. This activity is pushing east meaning the steadiest snow late this afternoon and evening will probably tend to be from western Loudoun County into northern Maryland (Frederick, Carroll and Baltimore counties) where a dusting to a quick inch could fall. In the immediate D.C. area, we still expect more scattered activity with perhaps a brief dusting (per forecast below). Temperatures are generally above freezing inside the Beltway (mid-30s) with near freezing temperatures north and west.

Moving beyond today, obviously lots of interest in the forecast for Wednesday into Thursday. It’s a battle of the models with the European advertising a major winter storm, with the GFS showing the storm just clipping us before going out to sea. The Canadian model is a compromise solution.

Models snapshots

1) European model: Major winter storm

Significant storm. The European model shows heavy precipitation over the D.C. region overnight Wednesday into Thursday, but D.C. is near the line between snow and sleet. (

2. GFS model: Glancing blow

Glancing blow. GFS model at 7 a.m. Thursday morning shows just some light snow having fallen over the D.C. area (

3. Canadian model: Compromise between GFS and European

Compromise. Canadian model shows light to moderate snow over the D.C. region Wednesday night into Thursday (

We slightly favor the European stormier scenario (as it has been consistent) but – even with that – pinning down specifics is difficult as the region will probably be close to the line between more of a snow event or more of a mixed precipitation event (snow to sleet to rain). As usual, colder north and west suburbs will probably have the best chance of more snow. CWG’s Wes Junker will provide a detailed update tomorrow. – Jason, CWG

Today’s Daily Digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

Snow showers or flurries may add life to an otherwise gray and wintry chill that won’t seem to go away.

Express Forecast

Today: Mostly cloudy, chance of snow showers. Highs: Mid-to-upper 30s.

Tonight: Chance of snow showers. Lows: 20s.

Tomorrow: Partly sunny and cold. Highs: Mid-30s.


Flurries and snow showers are about all we can manage in this active but progressive pattern, which tends to shove storms off the coast before they get a chance to get cranked up. That trend continues today into this evening as a weak disturbance moves by, maybe just strong enough to turn things briefly white. Another dose of arctic air arrives thereafter, keeping highs well below normal through midweek, when we may or may not see a more significant storm head our way.

Radar & lightning: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Sunday): A decent chance of snow showers or flurries, perhaps mixed with raindrops, highlights an otherwise cloudy and cool day. Any accumulation should be minimal, but a dusting to half-inch or so is possible if some heavier snow showers develop during the mid-afternoon into evening. Most accumulation would be on grass and sidewalks, but a heavier burst could briefly whiten side streets and elevated surfaces. Highs only reach the mid-to-upper 30s with winds from the east-southeast near 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: As low pressure passes by during the evening, we continue to see the possibility of enough snow showers to whiten the ground, maybe up to a half-inch or so if anything heavy develops. As usual, areas north and west of the District have the best chance at seeing stickage. Any snow showers end by around midnight, followed by partial clearing and lows in the 20s, as a chilly breeze blows from the northwest. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through midweek…

Tomorrow (Monday): Partly sunny skies don’t do much for our temperatures with another chilly one in store. Afternoon highs are held in check in the mid-30s, and winds are near 10 mph from the northwest. Confidence: High

Tomorrow night: Our persistent winter chill continues as temperatures steadily sink during the evening and overnight. Skies are partly to mostly starry, with crisp lows falling into the teens to low 20s. Confidence: High


Snow Potential Index

A daily assessment of the potential for at least ~1″ of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.

5 (→) Any snow showers today likely fall short of an inch. Midweek storm chance a mystery for now

We’re looking at mostly a repeat performance for Tuesday, though even a few degrees colder than Monday. If high pressure can hold off clouds from a developing storm passing to our south, then partly to mostly sunny skies should prevail as highs stall near 30 to the low 30s. Can’t rule out an afternoon or evening flurry. Tuesday night, temperatures tumble to the teens area-wide. Confidence: Medium

Wednesday should see at least partly sunny skies as highs stay on the cold side of normal, maxing out in the 30s. Models differ as to whether a coastal storm will take shape to our south and send the potential for snow our way later in the day into Wednesday night and/or Thursday. We’ll watch it. Confidence: Low

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Ian Livingston · February 8, 2014

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