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Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 03/05/2013

PM Update: Biggest snowstorm in over 2 years closes in; winter storm warning for D.C.

* Winter storm warning along and west of I-95, including the District. Winter weather advisories east of the District through very early Thursday morning *

Snowquester. It’s been a long time coming, but confidence is growing that significant accumulating snow will fall over much of the D.C. metro region between late tonight and Wednesday evening. This afternoon’s models consistently show large quantities of precipitaton pasting the metro region, and mostly in the form of snow, except near the Bay and in the southern Maryland.

Programming note: We will live blog the models and incoming precipitation starting around 8:30 or 9 p.m. tonight

Precipitation may begin as rain or a mix this evening, but should transition to snow as the night wears on. Snow, heavy at times, is likely Wednesday, although some rain and/or sleet is possible mainly east of the city.

Through Tonight: Precipitation rapidly develops from south to north between 8 and 11 p.m. It may initially take the form of rain and/or sleet, but should change to snow as precipitation increases in intensity. It will not take long for the precipitation (in various forms) to become moderate-to-heavy. Temperatures will fall rather quickly through the 40s and into the low-and-mid 30s. Heavy snow (and mixed precipitation mainly east of the city) is a good bet in the pre-dawn hours, with 1-3 inches possible by morning around the city, and perhaps 3-6 inches in the western suburbs. Winds, out of the east and northeast, will kick up at around 10-15 mph late at night.

Link: How storm is likely to affect D.C. area’s roads

Wednesday: Snow is likely, and may be heavy at times. Thundersnow is possible with the heaviest snow likely in the western suburbs. Rain and sleet may mix with snow, especially east of the District, but should become all snow as the day wears on. High temperatures will range from the low 30s in the western suburbs to the mid-30s east of town. Winds will increase and eventually become more out of the north at around 15-20 mph, with higher gusts.

Wednesday evening: Snow gradually tapers off between 6 p.m. and midnight (it may linger a bit beyond that east of the city). Little additional accumulation is expected with temperatures holding around 30-34 (west-east).


Total snow accumulation forecast
See Matt Rogers’ forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.

Snowquester talking points:

* Please see our comprehensive post from earlier that details the storm timeline and impacts and answers frequently asked questions. It also contains SchoolCast and FedCast, our outlooks for operating status for schools and the Federal government: High-impact, heavy snowstorm to hammer Washington area tonight and Wednesday

* Charge your portable devices and phones now. Areas that receive at least 6 inches of snow may lose power. This will be a heavy, wet snow.

* Use caution shoveling snow tomorrow due to its heavy nature. Do not overexert yourself, and seek assistance if needed.

* We still expect the heaviest snow from west central Virginia to western Maryland, with a possible bullseye in northwest Virginia not far from Winchester. Crippling accumulations of over one foot are likely in this region.

* The sticky nature of the snow will be great for photography. Get your cameras ready.

* Snow amounts will vary tremendously across even the immediate D.C. metro region. Don’t be surprised, for example, if you live in Alexandria when your friends in Vienna or Reston say they have twice as much as you.

* Don’t be surprised if you experience thundersnow and/or very heavy snowfall rates.

Link: Why Wednesday may feature intense snowfall rates and thundersnow

* At the VA/MD/DE beaches, moderate coastal flooding is possible with tides 2-4 feet above normal at times Wednesday into Thursday. Winds will gust to 50-60 mph and beach erosion is likely. Coastal flood warnings are in effect for this area. Refer to National Weather Service statements for details.

* In Chicago, this storm has produced the most snow since the Groundhog Day blizzard in early February, 2011. At 4 p.m. central time, 6 inches had accumulated at O’Hare International.

* It’s likely Washington, D.C. will equal or better, in this one storm, its snowfall output from the past two winters combined of 3.5 inches.

* How much snow do you think will fall? For fun, enter your prediction for Dulles and Reagan National Airport in the comment area below.

By  |  05:43 PM ET, 03/05/2013

Categories:  Forecasts

 
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