WASHINGTON -- The nation's capital has a slight chance of seeing some snow this weekend -- some light snow. Maybe.
WTOP set the stage for the pre-season freak out:
Or not. It all depends on a European weather model that suggests the white stuff will soon be making its presence known locally, especially in D.C.'s western suburbs.
Mention the word "snow" in the Washington area, and you risk setting off a panicked stampede to the nearest supermarket for milk, bread and toilet paper.
We're about to run that risk.
A weather system that's brought early-season snow to Colorado is moving east -- a "parade of moisture," as Fox5's Sue Palka described it during her Wednesday evening weather forecast. With colder temperatures moving in from the north and west, and a storm moving up the East Coast, some light snow could impact the D.C. area this weekend.
What's the verdict from the area's most thorough meteorological collective, the Capital Weather Gang? There are many "ingredients" to be factored, including whether the storm moving up the East Coast tracks offshore or closer to the city. Predicts Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow:
WJLA meteorologist Chris Nallie told WTOP on Wednesday: "Do I think we could see a wet snowflake or two mixed in? Sure. But do I think those chances are relatively low? You bet."
Based on the current information, I lean towards some light rain Saturday morning which may mix briefly with light snow in Loudoun and Frederick counties.
Granted, under the most feeble of weather predictions, D.C. can be, well, feeble. As Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney reminds readers, the nation's capital is ill-prepared for emergency coordination, when a "cascade of bad decisions and lousy communication" last January "turned three to five inches of snow into commutes home of eight to 12 hours." While various state, federal and local jurisdictions have pledged to better coordinate in emergency situations like inclement weather, there are still two big obstacles:
In the meantime, perhaps it's good that the possible snow threat is coming for the weekend and not during a weekday rush hour.
First, all the local governments jealously continue to insist on making decisions themselves and on their own timetables.
Second, even if they agree quickly on the best course of action, there's no single person or office responsible for advising the public what it's supposed to do.