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Funky DC weather

By Lee Carlaw On Wednesday, December 12, 2007 At 5:09 PM
Most of the precipitation with this winter storm (at least before Sunday morning) will fall in the form of sleet or freezing rain. Areas in extreme Northwestern Maryland have the best chances of seeing accumulating snow, but even there, warm surface temperatures may turn things over to rain briefly during the afternoon.

As for the District and Baltimore, this now looks like a primarily rain event. We may see a few flakes or sleet pellets before the storm ends tomorrow afternoon as cold air filters down from the northwest.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 3AM to Noon for areas north and west of the District including Montgomery, Loudon and Howard Counties. The National Weather Service anticipates icy conditions tomorrow morning.
Icy situation tomorrow morning:
Models over the past few days have trended cooler with a developing low pressure system in the southern United States. Temperatures are expected to cool into the low to mid 30s north and west of the District. As the upper levels warm above freezing, sleet and freezing rain are slated to develop around the aforementioned areas sometime tomorrow morning.

I don't really see this storm being much of a wintry event for the immediate metro regions, but northern sections of Montgomery and Loudon counties and points north and west could be in for a slippery ride tomorrow. Anywhere from a trace to one tenth of an inch of ice accumulation is expected before everything turns over the rain by midday.

After this storm exits the region tomorrow evening, our full attention turns to a potential large coastal storm.

To Snow or not to Snow:
Numerical model runs on Tuesday afternoon turned most Washington snow-lovers euphoric. The normally trustworthy GFS pumped out an eye-popping 18-24"+ of snow for most I-95 cities on Saturday through Sunday. Recent runs, however, have brought the storm farther inland, and instead of a monster pure snow event, forecasts snow changing over to plain rain.

But, there are some very promising signs that things are about to change. The newest computer model runs hint at the possibility that the low scoots a bit farther east, bringing a prolonged period of snow back into the equation. It's still too early, and I'm too uncertain, to make any calls at this point, but the potential for a large winter storm is still a very real possibility.

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