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DC, dusting city, living up to name: light snow chance Friday and Saturday nights

Overnight, scattered rain showers changed over to snow showers. Of areas receiving snow, by and large, a dusting was the most common report. Accumulations ranged from none to an inch or so in high elevations to the west and southwest of the metro area. A ribbon of light snow this morning also put down a coating on grassy areas in southern Maryland.

We have some more dusting opportunities in the pipeline – Friday night and Saturday night…

First, some pictures of the spotty snow from overnight and this morning:




Interestingly, the western suburbs of Richmond – around Midlothian – picked up a surprise 1-2 inches of snow:


About the Friday and Saturday night snow chances: a clipper parade

Showing striking similarity to last night’s event, two more weak disturbances may lay down a dusting or so Friday night and again Saturday night. Both of these disturbances are diving south from Canada along the jet stream and are classic clipper systems. They’re moisture-starved but can produce some snow in a narrow band. Dusting amounts are typical, but locally higher amounts of 1-2 inches are always possible with these systems.

Animation of disturbances (vorticity) – at an altitude of 18,000 feet – passing through the region between this morning and Sunday morning, via the GFS model (

Friday night’s clipper

  • Timing: 10 p.m to 5 a.m. Saturday morning
  • Temps: Falling to near freeze
  • Precipitation types: Likely snow, possibly starting as rain or rain/snow mix along and east of I-95
  • Areas favored for most snow: North and west of Beltway, especially Frederick and Loudoun counties
  • Chance of at least a dusting: 30 percent east of I-95, 50 percent west of I-95, 40 percent near I-95
  • Chance of at least one inch: About 10-20 percent for most of area, except 20-30 percent from Leesburg and Frederick to the north and west

GFS model shows light precipitation having falling between 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Freezing line, in purple, is just east of D.C. at 4 a.m. (

Saturday night’s clipper

  • Timing: 11 p.m to 7 a.m. Sunday morning
  • Temps: 28-32
  • Precipitation type: Snow
  • Areas favored for most snow: Equal chances for snow across area, perhaps a slight edge to colder north and west suburbs (given that’s typically the case)
  • Chance of at least a dusting: 50 percent
  • Chance of at least one inch: About 20 percent

GFS model shows light precipitation having falling between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Freezing line, in purple, is well east of D.C. at 7 a.m. Sunday (

Caveat: Slight changes in these clipper tracks can have important implications for whether snow falls, how much and where.  Keep an eye on our forecast updates for the latest.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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Jason Samenow · January 16, 2014

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