* Winter Weather Advisory from 2 to 9 p.m. today | Schools to dismiss early ahead of expected snow | Snow could snarl PM commute | The Weekend and Beyond: Snow, Metro work and more*

For some great reader snow photos, see the bottom of this post...

6:00 p.m. update: This live blog has concluded. For our forecast for the weekend, following this link: PM Update: Snow moves away, a cold, but calm weekend awaits

5:40 p.m.update: Snow is rapidly tapering off in the D.C. area - as quickly as it began - though steadier snows continue in southern Maryland. Videos: The Scene over Rock Creek Park | Snow in Ocean City, Md.

5:25 p.m. update: One final burst of moderate snow is moving through the District and Fairfax county (where it will end shortly) and extends into southern Maryland (where it will continue for another hour so). Areas receiving steady moderate snow will experience slick conditions especially on side roads with temperatures so cold and daylight fading.

Behind these areas of moderate snow to the north and west, mainly just patchy very light snow lingers and skies are even brightening. This activity will taper off and move east over the next hour or so.

4:55 p.m. update: Snow continues and untreated roads, especially, are deteriorating according to reports. The worst conditions have been reported in Maryland, especially northern Montgomery and Frederick counties where the steadiest snow has fallen.

At present, we have steady snow throughout the region, temperatures near 20 (well below freezing) and it’s the peak of the P.M. rush. Despite people leaving work/school early, Dr. Gridlock reports: “Multiple area roadways look slow, crowded now, w/ similar traffic volume to peak of rush hour plus slower travel due to snow.”

4:25 p.m. update: When does this all end? Well the back edge has already advanced into the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. That would suggest things rapidly wind down here in the D.C. area between 6 and 7 p.m. In the mean time, expect more of the same-- mainly light, powdery snow with some occasional moderate bursts. Temperatures are very cold during this snowfall - in the upper teens and low 20s!

Comment below with any snow reports from where you live, thanks so much.

Friday snow potential forecast, second call. Initially posted at 11 p.m. 1/24.

Overview:Areas of light to occasionally moderate snow are likely, starting around mid-afternoon in the region, lasting through the P.M. commute. Snow will taper off rapidly between 6 and 8 p.m.

The snow will move through rather quickly, but will coincide with the afternoon and evening commute. Slick travel and reduced visibilities are possible. This is not a crippling storm but our advice is to allow extra time and/or leave work/school early.

Snow amounts should vary between about 0.5 to 2 inches of powdery snow throughout the region.

Sunny, but cold weather returns for the weekend. See Camden Walker’s forecast for additional details.

Earlier updates:

4:00 p.m. update: Some light snow is moving back into northern Virginia and should continue for a couple hours. So most spots should at least get a dusting to half an inch. In Maryland, north of the District, many spots have already received half an inch and should be able to manage an inch or so from this event as snow continues.

Major problems on roads haven’t been reported. However, with darkness settling in over the next hour, slick spots will become more likely so use caution.

Regional radar at 3:30 p.m. Get latest image here.

3:40 p.m. update: Although most of the steadier snow has fallen in Maryland so far and Virginia has received less snow (in some places, it has even stopped), radar to the west shows more snow coming in.

So this event isn’t over. Yes, some of the snow to the west may decrease as it passes over the mountains, but some more light snow is a decent bet as the afternoon transitions to evening.

3:15 p.m. update: Although light to moderate snow is falling along I-95 and I-270 in Maryland, some good news from the Maryland State Highway Administration via Twitter: “Looking at dozens of traffic cams on I-270 and I-95. Traffic moving well on both roads. Early rush hour but no snow cover.” Link: Md. Traffic Cams

3:05 p.m. update: Moderate snow bands have set up just north of the District. If you’re traveling north along I-95 or I-270 towards Baltimore and Frederick, allow extra time as visibility will be reduced to 1 mile or less at times and snow may cause slick spots even though roads are treated..

Radar screenshot as of 2:30 p.m.

2:45 p.m. update: It’s becoming clear that a pronounced dry slot is likely to result in significantly less snow for locations southwest of the District. We suggested that in our snowfall forecast map (see below), and it’s playing out on radar as seen on this capture from around 2:30 p.m. (to the right).

The bottom line is that if you live southwest of Fairfax county, you may see very little snow - maybe a dusting or so. But D.C.’s northern suburbs should get at least an inch.

2:20 p.m. update: Wow - was that fast. In about 30-40 minutes, we went from the closest snow being in Charlottesville and Front Royal to most of the D.C. area seeing light flakes falling.

Basically, it just took the atmosphere a little while to get moistened up. Once it did, it was like hitting a switch.

Snow should continue for the next several hours. From the looks of radar, the heaviest and steadiest activity may occur north of the District...not to say D.C. won’t have some moderate bursts. Locations south and especially southwest west of town may experience lighter, more intermittent activity.

2:00 p.m update: In the last half hour snow has rapidly advanced into D.C.’s western suburbs with snow now falling much of Loudoun, Fauquier, and western and central Fairfax counties. Light snow should move into the entire metro region over the next hour or so.

While the snow is generally light, brief bursts of moderate snow that could lower visibilities to around 1 mile or less are possible at times. Please take it easy on roads.