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In Washington area, hoped-for snow disappoints

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For a moment in the past few days, it looked like a small snowstorm expected for Saturday might bring a winter wonderland, just in time for the new year. But it turned out to be a winter wet instead.

Saturday’s storm, which began in the early morning hours and continued through about noon, brought less snow and more rain than expected, with snow totals less than an inch in most places throughout the region.

Accumulation was higher in spots far to the west and north of the region, such as Cumberland and Frostburg in Maryland and Martinsburg, W.Va.

“It was slightly less than forecast — up to 1 inch in the colder suburbs, and at most a coating on the grass close to town — but no one expected anything but a very minor event,” said Jason Samenow of The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. The precipitation was expected to clear out of the area by Saturday night, with Sunday bringing sun and gusty breezes and highs in the mid-30s to near 40.

Samenow said that a “snow hole,” described as a relatively dry spot between the storm’s initial low pressure passing to the northwest and a secondary low-pressure system to the south, caused totals to be even lower than initially forecast. The sleety day capped a year that was the warmest on record for the Washington area.

Across the area, residents tweeted pictures of fat flakes falling from the sky and a picturesque but fleeting dusting of white on evergreen trees. With children out of school and light weekend traffic, it seemed like a good day to stay inside and watch college football bowl games of dubious import (the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl!) and obsess about the coming Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys showdown.

There were few traffic problems reported but for a few minor fender-benders, authorities said.

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