Snow piling up in colder suburbs, just getting going inside Beltway

Winter weather advisory Montgomery, Loudoun, northern Fauquier, Frederick, Howard, Carroll, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties tonight | Wind advisory 2 a.m. to noon Friday entire region | Wind chill advisory Frederick, Carroll, northern Baltimore, Montgomery and Loudoun counties 4 a.m. to noon Friday * | Winter storm snarling travel, delays expected to continue Friday | Latest snow amounts

7:00 p.m. update: Conditions are rapidly deteriorating throughout the metro area, with snow starting to stick on side roads even inside the Beltway in spots. In the District, most of the snow accumulation is on grassy areas though accumulation on roads may well become more common in the next couple of hours. Radar shows a solid band of snow over the area which should remain for the next hour or so. After 8 or 9 p.m., the intensity of snow may diminish some (especially in western areas), but temperatures will be getting colder- so expect iciness and use caution, especially on untreated roads and sidewalks. This is the last update in this post. I will start a new blog post with live updates around 7:15 or 7:20 p.m.

Link to new blog post – go here for latest commmentary/updates: A snowy night followed by a freezing wind (LIVE UPDATES)

6:42 p.m. update: Here are snowfall totals collected by the National Weather Service through early this evening.


Observed snow totals through late afternoon and early evening (National Weather Service)

Most of the accumulation has occurred north and west of the Beltway, but that is rapidly changing now…

6:33 p.m. update: For those living around Leesburg and points west, a report from reader Debra Crosley: “Route 7 westbound, from Leesburg to Clarke county, is shut down in multiple areas, due to road conditions and multiple accidents. Area should be avoided until VDOT can treat the roadway.”

6:30 p.m. update: With a heavier band of snow coming in and temperatures falling towards freezing, we’re starting to get more reports of accumulation, mainly on grassy areas, into the District. In terms of accumulation on roads, that continues to be more of a problem north and west of the Beltway – especially in Montgomery, Loudoun and Frederick counties. But slick roads may edge inside the Beltway over the next couple hours with continued snow and falling temps.

6:05 p.m. update: Radar shows an impressive band of snow to the southwest of the area streaking towards us. That may be able to whiten some grassy areas in locations which as of yet (inside the Beltway) haven’t seen much snow.

5:50 p.m. update: The first phase of this storm is so much like many recent snow events to affect the region. There’s snow rapidly mounting in the colder suburbs, while people in DC’s urban core are saying: “What snow?” Having said that, we are getting reports of snow starting to accumulate on grassy areas as close by as Arlington and McLean. And, temperatures are forecast to eventually (7-10 p.m. time frame) get cold enough for snow even in the city – even if it’s not much.

 

 

 

5:20 p.m update: Around the city, because temperatures are in the mid-to-upper 30s, we’re not expecting accumulation (except on some grassy areas) until after about 7 or 8 p.m. and maybe even as late as 9 or 10 p.m. when temperatures start to fall off. For the next few hours, it’s really the western and northern suburbs that are a concern.

 

4:55 p.m. update: The latest run of the GFS model is the snowiest yet and supports the increase in snowfall amounts we made earlier (to 1-3″ across the region, perhaps a bit less near downtown).


GFS model snowfall simulation (WeatherBell.com)

Meanwhile, radar shows heavy snow and mixed precipitation over the area. Many readers are reporting very large flakes.

4:40 p.m. update: Radar shows areas of moderate to heavy snow in western Fairfax, western Prince William Loudoun and Montgomery counties. With temperatures falling to near freezing and darkness approaching, some slushy spots on roads may form and visibility will be limited.

 

 

4:20 p.m. update: SchoolCast! Between the snow and the incoming wind and cold, we expect some school delays and perhaps closings Friday. Precipitation may end early enough for main roads to be treated, but side roads may be icy with temperatures dipping through the 20s after snow ends.


Alexandria, Arlington, Prince George’s, Charles, Stafford, and Prince William counties:
1.5 apples: 50/50 chance of a delay. 25 percent chance of closing.


Montgomery, Loudoun, Fauquier, Frederick, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties:
2 apples: 50/50 chance of closing. Good chance (better than 50/50 chance) of a delay.

4:00 p.m. update: As usual, our colder north and west suburbs are seeing the most snow accumulation. Meanwhile, closer to town, there’s a mix of precipitation of falling. Places that are now getting a mix should transition to snow as it gets dark, with accumulation starting on grassy areas when the snow picks up in intensity. As noted below, folks living in the colder suburbs should allow extra time for the afternoon and evening commute and look out for slick spots.

3:45 p.m. update: Winter weather advisories have been expanded by the National Weather Service to include Montgomery, Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties for 1-3 inches of snow.

3:37 p.m. update: Here’s our revised snowfall map…


Capital Weather Gang snowfall forecast issued at 3:35 p.m.

Note the local minimum around Alexandria and downtown, due to warmer temperatures near the city.

3:21 p.m. update: Here’s a look at the new NAM model and its graphical snowfall representation.


High resolution NAM snowfall forecast for D.C. metro region (WeatherBell.com)

This model forecast along with the radar presentation and temperatures on the cold side of forecasts are the rationale for our snowfall forecast increase. Our new map will be posted in a few minutes.

3:13 p.m. update: The new NAM model is in and shows more precipitation and colder temperatures. We are going to increase our snowfall forecast shortly.

2:55 p.m. update: Snow reports continue to increase around the region, but – for now – it’s light and not sticking until you get into Frederick, western Loudoun and some of the higher elevations in northern Fauquier and western Prince William counties. There are also some reports of rain mixed with snow near the District and south.

I’d be remiss not to mention the wind advisory posted for the region, indicating the potential for gusts as high as 50 mph Friday morning. Take those winds and add the cold, and in our northern and western areas (Montgomery and Loudoun counties and to the north and west), a wind chill advisory has been hoisted for sub-zero wind chills (from zero to five below except as low as 15 below at high elevations).

Temperature Map

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

 

 

2:40 p.m. update: Should folks be worrying about the afternoon and evening commute? Radar shows an area of steady snow moving towards the D.C. area. If you live in the normally colder areas like western Fairfax, Loudoun, and northern Montgomery county, you might want to give yourself some extra time and be prepared for reduced visibilities and some slick spots. Around town, for the most part, roads should remain wet with temperatures staying above freezing. 2:35 p.m. update: Accumulating snow is already occurring along the I-81 corridor around Martinsburg and Winchester, with some slick roads developing.

2:30 p.m. update: Snow is breaking out pretty much everywhere west of I-95. I’ve seen a few reports of sleet and/or rain mixed in well south of town, but the fact that precipitation is starting as snow rather than rain in most spots is greatly reducing the bust potential on the low end of snow forecasts.


Radar & lightning: Latest regional 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.

Overview: An area of snow, mixed with sleet and rain to the south, has developed in central and western Virginia into central Maryland, and will move into the immediate D.C. area this afternoon and evening. Temperatures are above freezing, but on the colder side of forecasts, which means slick spots could develop earlier than expected, especially in colder suburbs north and west of the District. Below freezing temperatures are expected in most areas early to mid-evening (by 8 or 9 p.m.).

We have increased our snowfall prediction to 1-3 inches for much of the region, although somewhat less is possible right around the city. Temperatures will rapidly fall after midnight, through the 20s. Snow should end between 1 and 4 a.m., southwest to northeast.

Link: Snow and crashing temperatures tonight: the latest

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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