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Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 03/06/2013

Snowquester under delivers in Washington, D.C., but not done; storm downgraded

Useful links: Storm news, transportation impacts, and more: Live Blog | Compilation of Snowquester photos and Tweets: The Grid | Snow total reports from National Weather Service | How Snowquester got its name | Storm talking points | Thundersnow? | The structure of a snowflake | The past as a predictor | March snowstorm history

Overview: In the immediate Washington, D.C. metro area and points east, the snow output of has underperformed. We conceded late this morning that our forecast of 5-10 inches in this area would probably not be achieved, but indicated a few inches remain possible - let’s say 1-4 inches or so. The National Weather Service recently downgraded its forecast to around 4-6 inches from 8-10 inches.

Northwest, west and southwest of the Beltway, the storm has played out as forecast although trending towards the low end of snow totals with generally 3-6 inches so far (7 to 14 inches were forecast). Farther out, in west central and northwest Virginia, as expected, the heaviest amounts have occurred with 6-10 inches (and locally higher amounts) in parts of western Loudoun and Fauquier county.

Looking ahead, there are signs that snow is trying to make a comeback as colder air wraps into the storm. Occasionally moderate to heavy bands should impact the region into the early-to-mid evening but when precipitation intensity is lighter, more of a mix is favored inside the Beltway and east.

3:45 p.m. update: While the wintry aspects of this storm are fizzling out, by and large, strong winds have shut down the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after an accident occurred involving a tractor-trailer. Weather meteorologist Jacob Wycoff said there was a 49 mph gusts logged around the time of the accident. Winds have even gusted higher at the Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware beaches, reaching up to 50-60 mph.

2:55 p.m. update: When does it end? Current indications suggest precipitation will end from west to east between 6 and 9 p.m. or so. Per the previous update, any snow accumulation will be modest (1 to 2 inches or less) and probably west and/or north of the Beltway. Precipitation will tend to alternate between rain, snow and a mix.

2:35 p.m. update: Winter storm warnings have been dropped for the entire region and replaced by winter weather advisories. The National Weather Service now predicts just mixed rain and snow, with (additional) accumulations of 1 to 2 inches. In my view, even that may be aggressive. We can now pretty safely project D.C. will not end its 2 inch snowstorm drought.

2:00 p.m. update: I’m not convinced significant accumulating snow will occur in the District at this point, though I don’t doubt a little accumulation could still occur as colder air wraps into the storm this evening. Just to offer a counter opinion, AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno still thinks 3-6 inches could fall here - based on an interesting convergence theory. He thinks snow bands coming in from the east will combine with bands from the west to produce some good snows as the storm departs. Watch his video if you’d like some snow hope: Heavy, Wet Snow Heading Toward D.C

1:30 p.m. update: Here is the latest snowfall total map from the National Weather Service. Notice there are substantial totals west of the Beltway, pretty much in line with our forecast. Its the I-95 corridor which has gone horribly wrong, assuming there’s no late storm rally.


1:15 p.m. update: Through 1 p.m., Reagan National Airport has received all of 0.2 inches while Dulles has recorded 3.5 inches and it looks to be snowing quite heavily there.


Regional radar snapshot at 1:10 p.m.
1:10 p.m. update: The heavy snow band has drifted into Fairfax and eastern Loudoun county; meanwhile, downtown D.C. is back to a non-accumulating rain-snow mix. Heavy snow bands have been unable to sustain themselves in areas with marginal temperatures and that’s the main reason this storm fallen short of expectations. If you look at the regional radar, it shows an impressive, wound-up storm but it’s just not - thus far - delivering the cold air required for a snowstorm inside the Beltway.

12:30 p.m. update: An impressive band of snow, mixed with sleet in some locations, has moved over the immediate metro region. There have been reports of thunder in Chevy Chase, Petworth, and Takoma Park. But, for the most part, this snow is not stick inside the Beltway. This band setting up over the region, however, has some potential to last for a while and produce some light accumulations.

By  |  01:15 PM ET, 03/06/2013

Categories:  Latest, Winter Storms

 
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