D.C. area forecast: Some melting today as ice/rain departs; more snow Tuesday?

** Winter Storm Watch Tuesday for snow **

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11:15 a.m. update: The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the potential for heavy snow Tuesday morning. More info here: National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday

10:10 a.m. update: Dulles Airport reached 33 at 10 a.m., finally surpassing the freezing mark. We’re in a slow melting mode for now (though isolated areas are still below freezing), as temperatures reach the mid-to-upper 30s this afternoon – held back some by clouds (but for an isolated shower, rain is mostly over) The number of outages may have peaked in northern Virginia and is now at 83K, down from over 90K an hour ago. Scroll down for our forecast through the week. Our detailed update on tomorrow’s snow chance will come out between 1 and 2 p.m.

9:10 a.m. update: Good news: With precipitation moving out of the area, winter storm warnings have been lifted. But even with the (freezing) rain ending, and temperatures slowly headed towards 32 or above, the weight of the ice on tree limbs and power lines is taking its toll. The number of customers without power in northern Virginia has risen to over 90K, triple the number as of around 5 a.m.

8:15 a.m. update: Overnight ice accumulation, according to reports from the National Weather Service, was generally in the neighborhood of 0.1-0.25″. Even though most spots got the equivalent of about 0.75″ of rain, only about a quarter to a third of that amount stuck to surfaces because temperatures were not much below freezing. Also, as the rain was heavy, it tended to run-off more than adhere to surfaces.

8:00 a.m. update: Temperatures are creeping upward, but still hover near freezing in many spots west of I-95. It’s a bit foggy/damp out there, but radar shows only spotty areas of light rain/freezing rain, which should depart by 10 a.m. Dr. Gridlock reminds drivers to clear ice/snow sheets off their car windshields, roofs, hoods and trucks, so they don’t become projectiles on the road.

7:30 a.m. update: The icy glaze on trees is pretty but dangerous. Lots of reports of tree limbs snapping this morning. Be careful out there.

7:00 a.m. update: Most reports via Twitter indicate roads are not too bad (some side roads icy in colder areas west and north of D.C.), but sidewalks are hazardous in spots, especially west of the city. We’re getting reports of tree limbs snapping from the weight of ice and from melting.

Power outage numbers continue to climb, now over 44K in Va., over 10K in Md., and holding steady around 2.6K in the District.

Precipitation remains patchy, with temps still 32 or lower west of I-95, and roughly 32-35 along I-95 and to the east.

5:49 a.m. update: The steadiest precipitation has now shifted east of I-95, but patchy light rain/drizzle and light freezing rain/drizzle linger. Temperatures are still hovering near or just below freezing west of I-95 and right at or just above freezing east of I-95. Many of us will awaken to glazed trees and elevated surfaces. In some areas (mainly in our Virginia suburbs), ice build-up over night was considerable, and the number of power outages has increased (roughly 32K in Va., 8K in Md., and 2.6K in D.C.), but is not overwhelming.

As we go through the morning, we should continue to see a reduction in the coverage and intensity of precipitation and I don’t expect much additional ice build-up. Temperatures will slowly rise above freezing west of I-95, taking until mid-to-late morning in the some of the colder areas. Be extremely cautious, especially on sidewalks and untreated roads which are likely very slick.

Today’s Daily Digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 1 to 10.

1
Sloppy, cloudy, and cold. About the pits. One point for rising above freezing.

Express Forecast

Today: Morning rain/freezing rain west. Then cloudy. Highs: 35-40

Tonight: Cloudy, chance of light mix or snow towards morning. Lows: 29-33.

Tomorrow: Chance of snow. Highs: 31-35.

FORECAST IN DETAIL


Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

From one storm we go to the next.  After some lingering rain and freezing rain this morning, we catch the slightest of breathers this afternoon and tonight before another round of wintry precipitation eyes the region Tuesday morning. Wednesday through Friday is decidedly more tranquil, but chilly.  The weekend then offers a chance of more precipitation.

Today (Monday): Rain (in the city and east) and pockets of freezing rain (diminishing in coverage with time, mainly west of I-95) end by mid-morning. But clouds linger and while everyone rises above freezing, it’s not by a lot.  Melting is gradual, with highs in the mid-to-upper 30s (coldest in western areas). Winds are light from the southwest. Confidence: Medium

Temperature Map

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map. See interactive map on our Weather Wall.

Tonight: Cloudy and turning colder, as a wind from the north returns. Lows range near freezing downtown to 28-30 in the colder suburbs. Just before dawn, there’s a 30-40 percent chance of snow and sleet (highest chances southwest of town). Confidence: Medium

For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…

Tomorrow (Tuesday): A decent chance of sleet and snow, changing to snow and then ending in the mid-late afternoon. Light accumulations are possible but not a sure bet. We will have a detailed update on this latest snow possibility in a blog post early this afternoon. Highs are only in the low-to-mid 30s with winds from the north around 10 mph. Confidence: Low-Medium

Snow Potential Index

A daily assessment of the potential for at least ~1″ of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.

5: A sneaky snow risk is emerging for Tues. Much more on this later today.

Tomorrow night: Clearing skies and cold. Lows range from the high teens in the colder suburbs to the mid-20s downtown. Light winds from the west at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium

A LOOK AHEAD

We catch a break from inclement weather Wednesday through Friday, but it’s colder than average despite partly to mostly sunny days. If there’s any snow on the ground, a lot of it sticks around, with highs in the 30s and lows in the teens to low 20s (downtown). Confidence: Medium-High

Lots of question marks about the weekend as another storm system moves through the region. At this point, the most likely scenario is increasing clouds Saturday with a chilly rain developing late and continuing into early Sunday, but we can’t entirely rule out mixed precipitation or snow. Highs both day range from 35-40, with lows in the 30s. Confidence: Low

Also on Capital Weather Gang

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