From the ABC 7 Weather team

Numerous chances for wintry weather in D.C. next week

January 31, 2014 - 02:05 PM
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Don't put away the jackets, gloves and hats just yet as even though it will be mild this weekend, more wintry weather is possible next week.

First things first, if you haven't done it yet, I'm not sure you'll want to get your car washed this weekend. I know, they look terrible, and the salt is probably corroding everything under your car, but Sunday night into Monday looks messy, as does Tuesday night into Wednesday, and possibly again towards the end of next week!

Here's the set up. For once this winter (not really, but it feels this way) there is a trough over the west coast and ridging over the east coast. This will allow for milder temperatures this weekend to rise near 50 degrees each day.

500mb vorticity plot for Sunday showing disturbances over Texas and off the coast of California

A few disturbances will begin to line up along the west coast, with one settling into Texas Sunday while the other moves in behind it off the coast of California. Those are the two culprits which will bring precipitation to the region Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Sunday Night into Monday System

Even the first storm has a considerable amount of questions to it as Sunday is expected to be in the 50s, which will lead to warm surface temperatures and the potential for rain at the onset of precipitation.

There is also the question as to just how far north the precipitation will be as other guidance is hinting it may pass a little farther south. Finally, some guidance even depicts the possibility of a rain-snow mix through the area with milder hanging on a little longer.

12Z ECMWF 6hr precip and MSLP for Monday depicting system one moving through the region

As the disturbance moves into the region, colder air will begin to filter in as a cold front is expected to pass east of the region Sunday afternoon. Behind the front, cooler air will settle in, but at this time once precipitation starts, it still may be warm enough for rain. The second problem which we may need to account for are much warmer ground temperatures, meaning if snow were to fall how much would actually stick?

Probability of >1" snow from Sunday morning to Monday Morning (our best chance will be Monday morning through Monday early afternoon)

We'll keep a close eye on this system as it has the potential to be a more typical D.C. type light snow maker, with highest snow totals located northwest of D.C. and much less in the D.C. Metro and points southeast. This system bears keeping an eye on this weekend as it may lead to delays or even closings on Monday.

Tuesday Night into Wednesday System

Nope, we're not done yet..and it's only Tuesday. The next system is expected to develop in the Plains and Mississippi Valley region next Tuesday before moving through the Ohio Valley. You may be thinking to yourself, "But Alex, it's headed west of the mountains, doesn't that mean it will be too warm on the East Coast?"

12Z GFS Model depicting MSLP and 6hr precipi for next Tuesday night into Wednesday morning

That may be the case, but in this scenario that's drawn out at the moment, high pressure is expected to move over the area Monday night into Tuesday and move northeast over New York and New England late Tuesday, allowing for a nice feed of cool, dry air into the region. Unfortunately, it's looking like a nice set up for cold air damming and the potential for a wintry mix or icing situation.

At this time, it's way too early to tell exactly what to expect from this system as its energy is currently located over the Pacific Ocean. Regardless, it's ruining another car wash opportunity by putting precipitation in the middle of the week.

Late Week Blizzard?

Haha, I HAD to write that. It's funny when my friends ask me about these kind of things and I have no clue what they are talking about. Weather models and imagery just flies around the web these days, but not everyone that uses it is actually a meteorologist. I am pretty sure a lot of this came from a post a hobbyist posted to his facebook page for fun and it spiraled out of control from there.

WPC forecast surface map indicating high pressure over D.C. next Friday but low pressure developing in the Gulf near Texas

There's a chance for precipitation possibly next Friday through Sunday, but right now that's about as much as I can tell you. If you were one of my best friends I would tell you the same thing, ask them.

All I know as I would hurt my own credibility to go out on a limb and take a wild guess as to whether to expect a snowstorm next weekend. Besides, we have two other systems I need to concentrate on first!

Enjoy the mild weekend.

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