One last gasp from winter?


A man takes photos of visible signs of spring as snow flutters to the ground in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
March 30

Just when it seemed that the region had trudged beyond the endless winter of 2014, the snow that has wearied the Washington area fell again Sunday.

It fell abundantly in some places.

By late Sunday afternoon, much of the region had experienced a coating, with up to two or three inches accumulating in grassy areas.

More snowfall was expected in places with higher elevations and colder temperatures — as much as three to four inches in northern Maryland, according to the The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

Forecasters said that school delays were unlikely Monday morning and that the snow was not expected to last. By Sunday evening, rain was falling in many areas.

“The storm is a little more energetic that we thought,” said Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang, adding that a pool of cold air was pulled down from high altitudes, allowing Sunday’s rain to turn into sleet and snow.

Still, the freeze would be fleeting, Samenow said. By late Monday afternoon, temperatures are expected to head up toward 60 degrees.

“That’s spring,” he said. “March and April are volatile.” By Monday, “this will just be a memory.”

The Capital Weather Gang on Friday had pronounced winter over — “winter is dead,” Samenow wrote — but on Sunday, Samenow said the weather team had allowed that a last gasp of snow could not be ruled out.

Sunday delivered more than expected, and it arrived earlier and harder than predicted and affected more of the region, he said.

A worker at a Germantown coffee shop said customers were incredulous as the flakes came down much of the afternoon. “They said they can’t believe this is happening,” she said.

Joan Morris, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the agency deployed some trucks Sunday in Loudoun County “to be on the safe side. I’m not aware there were any issues.”

Morris said the snow “just flew around. It might have snowed a little bit, but temperatures are mild.”

Lora Rakowski, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said the agency began deploying trucks early Sunday in western parts of the state, including Garrett and Allegany counties. “We activated in Garrett County and as colder temperatures have come east, we have been deploying trucks as needed,” Rakowski said. “Now, we are seeing snow in western Montgomery County, Frederick and some areas of Baltimore County.”

Snow collected on some roadways in Maryland, particularly along Interstate 70 between Frederick and Baltimore, Rakowski said.

“We saw overnight heavy rain, bringing fog. In some areas there is reduced visibility,” Rakowski said. “It is important to keep in mind that ramps, bridges and overpasses tend to be 3 to 5 degrees colder. In some areas, the surface is right at the freezing mark. That could mean potential for icy conditions.”

The snow was expected to taper off overnight, but state highway trucks were to continue treating roadways with salt. Officials advised Monday-morning commuters to use caution.

“We are concerned about a potential refreeze over night,” Rakowski said.

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Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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