The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Wind-driven snow, falling temperatures as storm hits its stride

Basic information

  • How much snow are we forecasting? 4-7″ for immediate metro area (closer to 4″ downtown), 6-10″ for northern suburbs (Frederick, northern Montgomery, Loudoun and Howard counties), 2-4″ for southern suburbs (Prince William, southern Fauquier, Charles, Stafford, St. Mary’s counties)
  • When will it be the worst? Through 8 p.m. or so this evening, when strong winds and very cold temperatures accompany snow; possible hazardous travel
  • When will it end? 8-11 p.m., from west to east, but strong winds and frigid temperatures follow storm. Subzero wind chills are likely late tonight and Wednesday morning.

8:50 p.m. update: We’re closing updates in this post. See this new post for the latest: Snow to wind down, temperatures to plummet; wind chill advisory

8:10 p.m. update: It’s still snow steadily out there, especially along and east of I-95, with lighter snow to the west.  We’ll see a gradual reduction in coverage and intensity of snow from west to east over the next few hours.  But snow may not totally cut off until between 11 p.m. and midnight along and east of I-95.  It’s getting very cold out there, with temperatures in the high teens to low 20s (17 at Dulles, and 22 at Reagan National).  Wind chills are in the single digits (3 at Dulles, 7 at Reagan National).

7:40 p.m. update: It’s still snowing moderately across the region. Even as the snow shows signs of letting up a little, it’s likely to continue falling for another couple hours around the D.C. metro region. I promised SchoolCast and FedCast… so here goes:


3.5 apples: Most school systems will close or have closed already due to today’s snow and tomorrow’s frigid cold. It’s possible (25 percent chance) D.C., Alexandria and/or Arlington schools might try to open, but I’d imagine they’d delay a couple hours at least.


3 domes: I think OPM will open government, but with unscheduled leave and telework options; a delayed arrival isn’t out of the question

7:15 p.m. update: This last band – while making for snow-covered roads – is nice to watch from the comfort of your home if you have a spotlight. Some recent pics:

6:50 p.m. update: The storm’s grand finale may put us over the top! In other words, this final band coming through should put down enough snow to give most spots in the immediate D.C. area at least 4 or 5 inches of snow, verifying our prediction. Of course, this storm will remain a bust for southern areas (no getting around that) even though this band will give you some snow too.

6:40 p.m. update: Snow totals at the airports through around 6 p.m.: Reagan National 2.9″, Dulles 5.8″, BWI 4″

6:25 p.m. update: As this latest (and possibly) last moderate to heavy band of snow comes through, roads will again become slick and snow-covered. Temperatures range from the high teens (19 at Dulles) to mid-20s (25 at Reagan National) at 6 p.m., with winds gusting to 20-25 mph. A wintry night for sure….

6:05 p.m. update:

The heavy band west of town (per the 5:40 p.m. update) has expanded to the east and south and is moving into the immediate metro area. So a little more accumulating snow should fall for another hour or so.

5:40 p.m. update:

While snow has diminished in intensity around the immediate metro region, one perhaps final band of heavy snow is hitting northern Loudoun, western Montgomery and eastern Frederick counties. This may tack on another inch in these areas, which are already some of today’s big snowfall winners.

5:15 p.m. update: Here’s a video I shot around 4 p.m. I said at the time up to 2-3 inches of more snow, but probably 1-2 inches more at this point (forgive my squinting, looking at camera with snow in your face harder than it looks):

With two inches of the snow on the ground in the District already, Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow says another 2-3 inches could be on the way in D.C. before this storm is over. (Video: Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)

5:10 p.m. update: How much more snow will we get? Best bet is another 1-2 inches across the region, maybe a bit more to the northeast and likely less to the southwest. Radar continues to show snow over the area, but it’s mostly light. Having said that, with these cold temps (low-to-mid 20s), the snow will be of a powdery consistency, so it will accumulate faster than a heavy, wet snow. We’re still looking for snow to end between 8 and 11 p.m. from southwest to northeast. I’d estimate probably around 10 p.m. in the immediate metro area.

4:40 p.m. update: Here’s a compilation of snowfall totals from readers…

  • D.C.: 2-3″
  • Virginia: Falls Church 3″, Annandale 4″, Arlington 3″, Leesburg 5-8″, Reston 4″, Vienna 3″, Lovettsville 6″, Purcellville 6.5″
  • Maryland: Germantown 5″, Bethesda 2-3″, Olney 3″, Potomac 7″, Annapolis 3″, Odenton 4″, Mt. Airy 5.5″, Silver Spring 3.5″, Rockville 5″, Laurel 4″, Frederick 7-8″

Generally speaking, the immediate metro area has received 2-4″, with northern Montgomery, Loudoun and Frederick counties in the 4-8″ range.

4:15 p.m. update: Reagan National Airport, as of 4 p.m, had picked up 2.1 inches, officially ending the longest 2 inch snowstorm drought on record – dating back almost three years to January 26, 2011.

3:40 p.m. update: Snow continues falling steadily in the immediate metro area and northern suburbs. And for the southern suburbs north of Fredericksburg, radar has filled in a bit over the last half hour.

For the next couple of hours what you see now is what you’ll get, and we should add another 1-2″ of snow on top of what has already fallen (generally 2-3″ in the immediate metro region, 3-6″ in the northern suburbs, and closer to 1-2″ in the southern suburbs).

3:05 p.m. update: The next several hours are prime time for this storm as snow mounts, winds crank (gusts over 30 mph are possible), and temperatures fall towards 20. Reports are that roads are deteriorating and even those that are treated may become slick as daylight fades. If you don’t have to be on the roads, best to stay in.

Presently, the heaviest snow is just west of I-95 between the District and Baltimore. South of I-66, the snow is generally lighter, but even there roads may become challenging as evening approaches. Note we have reduced our accumulation forecast for areas south of Fairfax County to 2-4″.

GALLERY: The worst storms, etc. to hit Washington in the past decade

From Snowmageddon to Frankenstorm: Does Mother Nature hate Washington?

National Park Service employees David Looney and Ira Lonon dig out the Lincoln Memorial. In 24 hours, several feet of snow drifted over the base of the landmark. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

From Snowmageddon to Frankenstorm: Does Mother Nature hate Washington?

National Park Service employees David Looney and Ira Lonon dig out the Lincoln Memorial. In 24 hours, several feet of snow drifted over the base of the landmark. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)