Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Chilly Con Sensus: Snow Included?


Clear, cold. Despite sunny skies and diminishing winds, temperatures barely reached the mid 30s in the Washington metro area today. After morning lows of 23° at National and 22° at Dulles, highs were 34° and 33°. A weak area of low pressure developing along the Southeast coast bears watching for late tomorrow and tomorrow night.


Cold, light winds. Under mostly clear skies, light winds, and low humidity, temperatures will drop again tonight, but some clouds toward morning will probably limit the lows to around 25° in the city and near 20° in the 'burbs.


Increasing clouds, light precipitation developing. Clouds will increase tomorrow afternoon, and there is a 30% chance of light rain by evening, especially south and east of the immediate metro area. Highs will be near 40°. Light rain could mix with some wet snow tomorrow evening with minimal if any accumulation. Precipitation will end overnight with lows mainly in the low 30s.

For the outlook through the rest of the week, scroll on down to Dan's post below.

Our Consensus View

Yes, we know the NWS was briefly calling for a 1-2" accumulation (they have since backed off). They are dedicated, highly experienced professionals and have our complete respect, but that forecast was made before the afternoon model runs were complete. Based on the latest available data, the forecast given here is the consensus view of the team. We will continue to monitor the situation and update if conditions require. Your views, as always, are welcome in the comments section using the link at the bottom of this post.

By the way, here is a good example of the value of consensus forecasting: Jason's Monday forecast of today's high was 31°. Mr. Update, despite the benefit of a shorter lead time, said 37° as of yesterday. Do a little arithmetic and compare the average of these 2 forecasts with the actual highs listed above.

How Many Meteorologists Does It Take to Change the Weather?

You may have heard in the media about the unusually nasty winter weather in central and southern Texas. What you may not have heard is the reason for this. No, it's not Global Warming. It's not even a vast left-wing media conspiracy to contaminate the precious bodily fluids of the American people. In fact, this week is the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in San Antonio. This means that probably the largest concentration of meteorologists anywhere in the world has convened for a number of concurrent conferences and symposia.

Monday's meeting newsletter detailed some of the travel challenges faced by the attendees. A major winter storm also hit San Antonio during the AMS meeting in 1982, and the temperature dropped to 14°.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.