WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - February forecasts in the Washington, D.C. region are well known for being erratic. But it’s hard to believe that temperatures touching 60 degrees on Friday could possibly be replaced by snow on Saturday. Crazy as it seems -- the latest weather model data suggests that may indeed be the case!
It all starts with a cold frontal passage Friday afternoon. While temperatures should briefly make a run at the lower 60s in some of our neighborhoods, clouds look to limit the sunshine until temperatures start to drop into the evening as the frontal boundary moves through. Saturday’s high temperature will likely come not long after the midnight hour with the return of colder air causing temperatures to continue to drop through the early morning hours. The exact temperature around sunrise is still up for debate because it will depend on how far south Friday’s cold front makes it.
That front is key for the storm on Saturday because it will be the "atmospheric train tracks" that the small storm system will ride along on Saturday morning. The most consistent weather model for this event, so far, has been the European model which has held the idea of a snow event over various model runs for the past 24-hours now.
Generally speaking, the European model is showing a general one to three inches with some pockets of three to five inches around our region. Glance at the map and you’ll notice how "tight" of a snow field this is. This is not a "big" storm system. It is a smaller one, and the main concern with smaller systems like this is that any shift in the track at all could lead to significant changes in snow totals. If the front from Friday does not make it far enough south, then the higher totals likely push north of the D.C. region. Similarly, if the front goes too far south, the higher totals will go there too.
To put it simply, the European model currently has us in the "sweet spot" for snow here in the District, but we could just as easily not be by the time Saturday comes. That being said, there is still the possibility that we see nothing at all. You’ll want to stick with the FOX 5 Weather Team for this one as we fine tune the forecast in the days ahead. If it does impact our region it will be a fast mover. It will likely only impact the morning through the first half of the afternoon, with things wrapping up during the evening.
Right on the heels of Saturday, another storm system approaches the region on Sunday. This system is a little better organized than the one on Saturday, but as a result it looks like it will try to bring some milder air along with it. As a result, most of our weather modeling suggested more of a "mixed bag" around the region, with some snow and sleet to the north mixing with more rain the farther south you go. It does not look to be super impactful in terms of snow totals at this time, but whether rain or mix, the timing makes for an extended weekend that just does not look all that great for getting our and about. This could become purely a rain event, but even if that is the case it still makes for a chilly, nasty day that you will probably want to spend indoors. The good news is we should sneak in a drier but chilly day on Monday for Presidents Day.
All eyes then focus beyond the holiday weekend. Of the three storm systems we are watching, all indications are that this one will have the most moisture with it and subsequently have the biggest potential. However, a very big question remains -- that is how much cold air will be around for this storm to interact with? If there is enough that this is a pure snow event, it could indeed be a big one for our region. However, guidance has suggested cold air may be of the weaker variety and as a result, we could get more of the "wintery mess" situation of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain around instead of a pure snow event. Now, this does not mean we should take our eyes off it. We saw early this week the impact that the sleet and ice had on our area school systems. Similar impacts certainly exist during the middle of next week as well.
Of course of the three systems, this is the farthest away and therefor the most likely to see changes as we continue to roll through the end of the week. Keep it tuned to FOX 5, stay with our weather team online and on social media, and download the FOX 5 Weather App. We will absolutely continue to bring you the very latest for -- not just the weekend -- but for all of these systems over the next week.
Do enjoy the "weather break" through Friday -- the D.C. region has certainly earned it after a very cold and wet start to the week!
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