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Posted at 01:30 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Heavy rain/sleet rapidly changing to snow

4:00 p.m.: The transition to snow continues to spread east and flakes are beginning to fly in the city. Places that have already switched over to the west, southwest and northwest are already seeing quick accumulation. If it's not snowing in your neck of the woods, it's on its way.

3:40 p.m.: Rain has mostly transitioned to snow in places like Leesburg, Reston, Sterling and Centreville, Va. The sleet/snow line is continuing to transition east fairly quickly. There are reports of near white out conditions in heavy snow over western Loudoun County. In D.C. and points east the transition from rain to sleet is still occuring. There may be a little more sleet than anticipated, but the snow changeover appears more or less on schedule for those not seeing it yet.

1:30 p.m.: In light of the high snowfall rates expected, we have increased our snowfall prediction of 3-6" around D.C. (and just to the southeast) to 4-8". North and west of D.C. we're upping the 4-8" forecast to 5-10". Locally heavier amounts cannot be ruled out in a few areas.

The next couple of hours will be very dynamic and may vary significantly around the region before everyone changes to snow. Please comment with reports from where you live.

3:15 p.m.: Things are quickly turning wild. Heavy snow has been reported to the west in Winchester, Va. and to the southwest in Gainesville and Culpeper, Va. Much of the immediate metro area is still seeing the onset of heavy rain (east) and sleet (west) -- all ultimately transitioning to snow. Places near and west of Dulles are likely starting to see that transition now and a report of thundersnow has come in on Twitter from nearby there. As the atmosphere cools further, there may be some flips back and forth before it turns to all snow. Lots of reports of thunder are also coming in both here on CWG and elsewhere.

2:30 p.m.: Brief heavy rain changing to heavy sleet and ultimately heavy snow is now entering the area. It may be accompanied by some thunder. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a discussion covering the heavy snow (1-2"+ per hour) that will impact the area this afternoon and evening. Snow is now being reported in the band northeast of Charlottesville, so it appears the changeover should be rather quick especailly west of town.

1:30 p.m.: Reports from the southwest and radar indicate the main area of precipitation is rapidly approaching. In Charlottesville, the precipitation began as rain and is changing to sleet. Thunder has been reported in the vicinity of both Charlottesville and Fredericksburg.

As the initial band of precipitation comes in between around 2 and 3:15 p.m. (southwest to northeast), some areas (from the beltway region and south and east) may initially see heavy rain. Thunder is possible and even hail (not sleet). Then - in the period of a couple hours - rain will transition to mostly sleet and then snow. North and west of the beltway, precipitation may be mostly sleet and/or snow and will more rapidly transition to all snow.

By and  |  01:30 PM ET, 01/26/2011

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