From the ABC 7 Weather team

Unsettled pattern through Christmas Day for D.C., MD and VA

December 20, 2011 - 03:10 PM
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Over an inch of rain is possible over the next couple of days, but what about the all-important Christmas Day forecast?

Five-day precipitation forecast from the HPC

First we have to worry about the remnants of a giant system that caused blizzard conditions in parts of the western Plains States the past few days.

Anyone miss February 2010? Because that's what that video reminds me of. No worries you snow haters, this will not bring any of the white stuff, or even cold temperatures to the D.C. area. If anything, this system will make for a damp but warm day in our region on Wednesday, with high temperatures around 15 degrees above normal. I would say enjoy the mild temperatures while they last, but it appears they WILL last! Highs Thursday should still hang around 60 degrees as an area of high pressure briefly hangs on around the region.

Why do I say briefly? Well a more potent system (for the East Coast) will traverse the D.C. area Thursday evening into Friday night, bringing with it the potential for some heavy rain. It appears this system may surpass an inch of total rainfall from Thursday night through Friday morning in some areas.

As far as traveling is concerned, if you are heading out of town Thursday evening and night is probably not your best bet. Don't tell my sister though as she's supposed to head out around 8pm. There could be a few delays but it will just be from rain not snow.

OK, we're done with the talk about this work week. What about the weekend? White Christmas Eve? White Christmas? I'm going to go with no and no on that one. Believe me, I'd like it to but I don't think it's in the cards this year.

The GFS and ECMWF are two of the main long term models we take a look at. At this time, they are depicting scenarios which are absolutely opposite. Both are probably wrong but are too warm for snow as well. While the GFS keeps the region dry with temperatures around 50 degrees, the ECMWF brings an area of precipitation back through the region for the 3rd time in 5 days. This is another low that could easily bring another inch of rain. I would much rather the holiday be dry though I am putting more stock in the ECMWF at this time and have added a 30% POP (probability of precipitation) to the forecast on Christmas Day.

We do have to check out the high northeast of D.C. If the ECMWF is correct. If it's strong enough (1032mb or higher), there COULD be a little mix at the onset of precipitation due to cold air damming. Then it will all depend on the track of the low the rest of the day to determine the absolute outcome. Remember, this is IF the low even develops, which is why I love my job, always something interesting to watch. These all seem to be hopes and dreams at this point, as all you have to do is remind yourself of the pattern we've been in for the past month or two. One word can sum that up: warm.

As always, we'll continue to keep you updated with the latest information.

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