Freezing rain advisory for D.C.’s western suburbs Sunday morning

10:32 p.m. update: Some of the latest model guidance brings the freezing rain in a bit later (after 7 or 8 a.m.) and the overall coverage may be spotty. Still, check conditions in the morning before heading out and use caution. Just a little ice can cause big problems.

Areas under freezing rain advisory shaded in purple. Blue-shaded area in western Maryland indicates a wind chill watch for Mon-Wed. (National Weather Service) Areas under freezing rain advisory shaded in purple. Blue-shaded area in western Maryland indicates a wind chill watch for Mon-Wed. (National Weather Service)

From 3:32 p.m.: When warm, moist air streaming in tonight combines with the cold air near the ground, some light freezing rain may deposit a slick film of ice across the region. Given the risk of icing, the National Weather Service has issued a freezing rain advisory from 6 a.m. to noon for D.C.’s western suburbs.

Details – from the advisory text:

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS…LESS THAN ONE TENTH INCH.

* TIMING…THE BEST CHANCE FOR FREEZING RAIN IS MID TO LATE SUNDAY MORNING. A CHANGEOVER TO PLAIN RAIN IS EXPECTED THROUGH MIDDAY SUNDAY.

* TEMPERATURES…AROUND 30 DEGREES AT ONSET…SLOWLY RISING THROUGH THE LOWER 30S THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS…A COLD GROUND AND TEMPERATURES NEAR OR BELOW FREEZING WILL ALLOW RAIN TO FREEZE ON CONTACT…PARTICULARLY ON UNTREATED ROADS.

The advisory excludes the District and eastern suburbs, but a brief period of freezing rain or drizzle cannot be ruled out in these areas early in the morning.


NAM model simulated radar shows freezing rain around D.C. at 7 a.m. The freezing line (in blue) is south of D.C., cutting across central Prince William County and southern Prince George’s County (WeatherBell.com)

Whereas subfreezing temperatures may stubbornly linger in the advisory area to the west, by mid-morning (8-10 a.m.), temperatures in the District and points east should rise safely above freezing.


Simulated radar from the NAM model at 10 a.m. By this time, the freezing line (in blue) has lifted into southern Frederick County and eastern Loudoun County. By noon (not shown), the freezing line in near the Pennsylvania border.  (WeatherBell.com)

As cold as the ground is given recent temperatures, any frozen precipitation – however light – will quickly produce a hazardous glaze on untreated surfaces. Please use extra caution Sunday morning, particularly early – whether you’re driving on the roads or walking on sidewalks.

Note: Sunday morning’s precipitation may be spotty/patchy, so freezing rain is not a guarantee and conditions may vary widely from location to location. Take a look out the window, at your thermometer, and/or check radar before heading out to gauge conditions.

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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