- Only two inches of snow have been measured so far this winter at Reagan National Airport. (Photo: Jay Westcott)
Update 12pm: Per 12z data, my Snow Excitement Factor has increased to a 3.5 out of 10. Precipitation looks more likely (60%), but the type of precipitation is a big question mark. It's turning into a situation where we shift the focus from whether or not we get hit to what type, when, where and how much. Model guidance has had more difficulty with P-type more than anything this winter.
The likelihood of a weekend storm affecting D.C. has increased. Though let me know what you think of this as Sunday’s forecast: cloudy & breezy with a chance of rain and/or snow and/or sleet or no precipitation at all. I wish I could get more specific, but that’s the best we can do at this point. Model guidance has come a little closer together in their solutions for the Sunday event, but the guidance is still far from agreement.
I’d love a whopper snowstorm as much as any other snow enthusiast, but I’m still not confident in a big hit of snow just yet. I’d give it a Snow Excitement Factor of 2 out of 10 for now, which is hopeful but not optimistic. Sure, the predicted interactions in the atmosphere and possible storm tracks are more similar amongst the models than before, but there is still much uncertainty, so we need to wait and see a little longer.
Some of the individual models have flip-flopped, but at least there seems to be more of a trend and convergence in solutions compared to what we had to work with yesterday. However, it’s important to note that this does not mean the models will continue to trend together. I’ve seen it many times where they come close together then quickly diverge again.
Another important factor is what I mentioned yesterday, and that’s persistence. It’s fair to say that the models have had a rough time so far this winter, so I hold little stock in them for these dynamic situations. Also, it’s tough to get the necessary phasing of the northern energy along with the southern energy in these La Nina winters, but it’s not impossible and does happen.
As usual, the exact track of the storm will play a major role on the type and amount of precipitation we receive, and the path of uncertainty and various model suggestions for the storm track are shown in the posted graphics. Should the storm system take the more southerly track, it will have less of an impact on Washington, but a more northerly track would lead to bigger impacts and possibly a solid hit of snow.
This storm hasn’t even organized yet, and we’re trying to predict the outcome in a very unpredictable winter. There have been winters where this was possible ('09-'10), but recent history has proven otherwise.