The weather system passing through the region tonight promises more rain than snow, with accumulation prospects weak. A second wave developing Saturday could put down a stripe of snow, but probably east of the immediate D.C. area.
Since yesterday, models have trended a bit weaker with the low pressure area developing along a cold front passing through tonight. That means less precipitation and not as much cold air will be generated for snow.
Rain showers develop late this afternoon to our southwest and in the immediate area early this evening. Temperatures will quickly fall through the 40s as rain falls. Between 9 p.m. and midnight, rain may mix with and change to snow from northwest to southeast, before ending just after midnight.
“The main forecast problem remains how quickly temperatures will cool to allow the rain to change to snow,” said Wes Junker, Capital Weather Gang’s winter weather expert. “Around the city, most of the precipitation tonight will probably fall as rain with perhaps a period of sloppy non-sticking snow.”
Junker added he was “not impressed” with tonight’s potential, but said locations north and west of the beltway, especially towards Leesburg and Frederick could manage an inch. The event may somewhat resemble Wednesday night’s “car-topper” snowfall.
Here’s our best judgment of Friday night snowfall probabilities:
For areas inside the beltway and south and east...
45 percent chance: no accumulation (mostly rain, but possible non-accumulating flakes)
45 percent chance: coating (car topper)
10 percent chance: 1 inch
For areas north and west of the beltway to around Frederick, Columbia, and Leesburg:
25 percent chance: no accumulation
55 percent chance: coating
20 percent chance: 1 inch
Saturday snow chance
There is a small chance of a second round of precipitation, probably snow, Saturday afternoon and perhaps into the evening as low pressure develops off the Carolina coast. The best chance of seeing snow is east and southeast of the District, especially east of the Chesapeake Bay. Only the GFS model simulates a little light snow in the D.C. area mainly along and just east of I-95. At this point, accumulation prospects in the metro area are a long shot.
“Most models keep the low far enough offshore to keep us dry,” said Junker. “We’ll be keeping an eye on this system over the next 24 hours in case it trends closer to the coast.”