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Light snow chances Tuesday and Wednesday mornings


Let me begin by saying I’m underwhelmed by the snow potential the next two mornings.  Accumulating snow in the metro region may be hard to come by. Still, I suppose Wednesday morning’s chance of at least one inch is about 30 percent, barely meeting the criteria for posting this Snow Lover’s Crystal Ball.

First things first:  A weak disturbance zipping by to our north Tuesday morning may produce a period of light snow and/or flurries.  Locations to the north and northwest of the District have the best chance of getting a period of snow, and perhaps a coating or so.  As the time frame for any snow is from around 9 a.m. to early afternoon Tuesday, temperatures around town are probably warm enough – into the mid-30s – to mostly discount accumulation prospects.  So conversational snow, if any, for the majority of us.

Short-range Ensemble Forecast System model – which includes 21 simulations – shows the two opportunities for snow through Wednesday. When lines are flat, it’s not precipitating according to the simulations. When the lines rise, they indicate snow falling. The black line shown is the average of the different simulations. (NOAA)

The next disturbance – slightly stronger than Tuesday’s – moves into the region Wednesday.  It could produce areas of light snow between  the pre-dawn hours and around mid-morning.

As this disturbance may draw in a little more moisture from the ocean as low pressure develops to our east, it could put down an inch or so somewhere in the area. However, recent model runs have trended drier,  moving away from that idea.  Right now, a coating or so seems like the most likely outcome.  Of course, as the snow may coincide with the morning commute, it has a slight chance of causing a few delays.  Temperatures at or slightly below freezing would give the snow an opportunity to accumulate.

Below are snowfall forecasts from the European, Canadian, and GFS models.  These include the combined snow from the Tuesday and Wednesday events, although the snow predicted from Wednesday event makes up the bulk of what’s shown.  If anything, these maps may be slightly aggressive in their forecasts, because they assume most of the snow that falls will stick (and it probably won’t – Tuesday at least).

European model snow forecast for Tues. and Wed. events (

Canadian model snow forecast for Tues. and Wed. events (

GFS model snow forecast for Tues. and Wed. events (

These aren’t the kind of maps that will excite snow lovers and kids wanting a snow day, but if you’re happy with a little mood snow the next two mornings, there’s that.

Beyond Wednesday, models suggest the possibility of another weak disturbance cycling through Saturday, with perhaps some light snow.  Then, maybe, a more significant storm moves into the area in about a week – though current simulations seem to favor more of a mixed precipitation event as opposed to all snow.  And, of course, we must keep in mind that at times over the past week both Wednesday’s and Saturday’s snow events looked like promising snow producers.  Now, not so much.

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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Jason Samenow · February 24, 2014

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