Bust from DC to Philly; Sct’d PM Snow Showers Likely; Watching February 16th – 20th Closely!

I’m under the impression that even the members of our local media desperately wants a snow storm, not for hype or ratings but because their kids are dying for just one day where they can go out on sleds and build a snowman. The warm air won out even across Philadelphia where Winter Storm Warnings were issued for up to 5″+ of snow and are likely to be shaved to advisories (still sleeting in Philly as of 6:30 this morning)… even in downtown Philly I don’t think 4″ looks all that reasonable. What a bummer.  So we aren’t the only ones in the Northeast Megalopolis that are in a snow drought. Too many people always say “It never snows in DC”. Well it does snow in DC (hint: last January)… we just don’t typically get a crippling snow storm every single winter (for that you have to move to Canada or live near the Great Lakes). 

Watch the models flop back and forth with snowfall for this system between DC and Philadelphia:

  • The GFS trend image below is simply showing the same forecast for snow amounts by 7am this morning during the past 10 or so runs (spanning back February 6th through 8th)


The Canadian model below also teased us here in the DC Area to only bump much further north in later runs (same scenario for the 95 corridor in Philadelphia… some hopes up there are dashed this morning as well). Kudos to the National Weather Service in Sterling… you folks didn’t buy into it. Praise and admiration is well deserved for you! 

GEM model below is the (Canadian forecast model) showing it’s outputs between February 2 and 8th for snowfall amounts by 7AM this morning:


The European forecast model also performed relatively well in yesterday’s run but was a little late to the game in forecasting snow too far south.


Cold Air Advection will be in full force this afternoon with temperatures continuing to fall (our high was at midnight today):

  • As an upper level disturbance moves overhead this afternoon and with cold air in place, scattered snow showers will break out with some snow squalls also possible. Any of these can drop a quick dusting to a half -inch of snow on untreated roadways.


  • You can see the “Streamers” in the image below (showing 1pm to 6pm this afternoon) coming off of the Great Lakes moving across parts of the area, this HRRR updates hourly so don’t focus too much on location… there is a 50/50 chance in any given location of seeing a snow shower today with some locations picking up a burst of snow. 


Latest HRRR accumulation for entire Northeast:

  • What’s pathetic is that the highest accumulations from this entire event in the DC Area will come from the snow showers this afternoon! I’m hoping our road crews (who are probably either livid or laughing this morning) will be prepared to drop salt in locations that receive a period of moderate to heavy snow later this afternoon as a dusting anywhere on our major roads will cause havoc for the PM rush hour. 


Looking Ahead:

  • After a bitterly cold Friday a gorgeous weekend is in store with partly sunny skies and a rapid warming trend.


  • The next potential time to be watching/hoping for a southern tracking storm is February 15th through President’s Day weekend.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the piece of energy over Texas and how it interacts with a trough backing into the Mid-Atlantic as blocking sets up over Greenland and the North Atlantic (-NAO). 



Here’s the latest GFS control run (the image above is the ensemble 500mb chart) showing surface precipitation and surface low pressure February 16th through 18th:

  • Notice the sharp trough building into the Ohio Valley and the “L” (Low pressure) system that forms over upstate South Carolina.  Will this surface low over SC hit the NC coast and then “bomb out” or rapidly deepen providing a decent snow for the Mid-Atlantic? Too soon to tell, but something to watch. 


Stay Warm out there today, bundle up and be careful driving this afternoon/evening with the scattered snow showers/squalls that are forecasted to develop. 


5 thoughts on “Bust from DC to Philly; Sct’d PM Snow Showers Likely; Watching February 16th – 20th Closely!

  1. I think winter and any chances of snow have abandoned the DC Metro area this year and it just sucks for us snow lovers

  2. It does not appear likely the Mid-Atlantic will have a significant snowstorm this year. The weather forecast looks good for this week and next week!!

  3. This is getting frustrating! NY is getting over 6 inches of snow as of now and here it is dry as bones in downtown DC.
    Not once was there a proper whiteout. And storm systems always teasing past DC makes it even more frustrating.
    Warm air can wait for spring. Let it snow!

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