12:15 p.m. update: A look at radar across the East Coast shows a storm now rapidly developing to our southeast on its way to becoming a blizzard for parts of New England. Our “show” is close to done or still sending some mood flakes, depending on where you live.
To the west of I-95, most of the precipitation has wound down, and skies could begin to clear soon. East, it’s a little more concentrated, but temperatures are well above freezing. The developing storm may briefly slow the eastward advancement of the back edge, so conversational snow (or rain) could continue for several more hours in eastern counties and out toward the bay. Snow and rain showers are still possible anywhere for a while, but northwest winds that will become quite gusty are going to begin to dry out the atmosphere.
11:10 a.m. update: Mixed precipitation is ongoing across much of the area, but the overall trend on radar is currently one of diminishing intensity. The storm center is still to our southeast though, so we’ll need to watch for any redevelopment. For the most part, that activity should focus south and east of the city. It may help keep snow showers going into the afternoon though. At this point if you’re not in a heavy band, it’s pretty much just conversational stuff. Even in the heavier bands snow is having trouble accumulating past a dusting or so.
— Robert Pohl (@RSP_DC) February 15, 2014
10:20 a.m. update: The heaviest of the current banding is pushing east of D.C. and that’s where the most significant wintry weather should be for now. With temperatures above freezing except for a few pockets, once the banding passes melting resumes quite nicely.
How much longer do we have left with this storm? Radar and models seem to indicate it will begin to wind down over the next few hours. Here’s the short-range HRRR, showing the most consistent activity pulling away to the east in the period around and after noon. Additional scattered snow, sleet and rain showers may persist beyond that time:
9:40 a.m. update: Stronger bands right along I-95, including in D.C., have helped create heavier periods of sleet mixed with or changing to snow. Colder air continues to filter in aloft despite temperatures rising a bit across the area as we get further past sunrise. Sleet and snow could be the predominant type of precipitation in any heavier activity, and once the atmosphere cools entirely, it may even stay snow until dissipation. That is, if surface temperatures cooperate. Areas that get heavier sleet or snow may see some slick spots develop, and slushy roadways are possible, but most spots remain above freezing so it shouldn’t last long.
8:45 a.m. update: Not too much change in the rain/snow line over the past hour, though it has shifted east a little. Since temperatures mostly remain above freezing and precipitation is somewhat patchy, concerns for accumulation in the immediate area are fairly low so far. Radar and short-term modeling indicates that we’ll stay in the rain and snow at least off and on for the remainder of the morning. While the snow line may continue to push to the east, temperatures should also continue to warm slightly — at least outside the heaviest precip — keeping upside snow risks fairly low.
— Rob Shear (@robshear) February 15, 2014
— Josh Hayden (@joshuarhayden) February 15, 2014
7:40 a.m. update:Light precipitation (rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow) is over the area early this morning, with frozen stuff mostly relegated to northern Fauquier, Loudoun, northwest Montgomery and Frederick counties. Some flakes have been reported mixed in as close in as Reagan National Airport as well, but it’s well above freezing there. In areas where it’s snowing, a dusting to as much as a half inch or so has fallen. As temporarily heavier bands move into the area, this rain/snow mix will persist, with perhaps additional spots further east changing to snow or seeing snow in the heavier activity.
Temperatures are ranging from near freezing to the mid-30s most spots, with zones seeing snow closest to freezing. Some slick spots are possible in the western and northern suburbs in particular.
@capitalweather Snow picking up in intensity in central Frederick county compared to around 6:30pm. Radar indicates a pretty good band.
— Erick Williams (@ActiveWeather) February 15, 2014
@capitalweather saw some light snow in Germantown on my way out. Only sticking to cars and parking lot.
— Oscar Torres (@Oskerr) February 15, 2014
@capitalweather Manassas,Va rain.
— Todd Smith (@smittybucs) February 15, 2014
FORECAST IN DETAIL
From 5:00 a.m.: Morning snow could add a fresh coat for some of us, especially in the north and west suburbs, while flakes may struggle to stick in town and to the south and east. We’ll dry out later today and stay cold through Presidents Day, setting the stage for another chance of light snow or wintry mix Monday evening into early Tuesday. There is hope, however, if you are tired of such frosty forecasts — highs in the 50s and even near or over 60 are in play Tuesday through Friday.
Today (Saturday): Snow, or a rain/snow mix from around D.C./I-95 to the east, is likely during the morning. Any accumulation is most likely in the dusting to 2″ range in the immediate metro area. Though in the city and along/east of I-95 that may be more focused on grass and sidewalks, since temperatures there may be a couple degrees over freezing. See map below for a more detailed accumulation forecast, which includes higher amounts for Carroll, Frederick and northern Loudoun counties). Precipitation tapers around noon-2 p.m. from west to east. But then afternoon winds gust near 30-35 mph from the northwest, adding a chill to highs in the mid-30s. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: It’s quite a chilly evening as winds continue gusty from the northwest. Winds should wane a bit overnight, as temperatures take a decent plunge down to lows in the upper teens to low 20s, under partly cloudy skies. Confidence: High
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Sunday): Can’t rule out flurries or a few snow showers capable of putting down a dusting at some point. Otherwise skies are mostly cloudy and winds are lighter, near 10 mph from the northwest, with highs in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: A dusting’s-worth of snow showers remains a risk into the evening. Skies then clear out late evening into the overnight as lows make a return visit to the upper teens to low 20s. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
High pressure should hold court long enough to keep us dry through most of Presidents Day Monday. After a mostly to partly sunny morning, though, clouds likely increase in the afternoon as highs reach the mid-to-upper 30s. Then toward evening, our next system gets close enough for a 60% chance of light snow or a wintry mix into the overnight, with lows in the upper 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium
That risk of light snow or wintry mix may last into Tuesday morning. But the culprit low-pressure system should race away to the northeast by afternoon, allowing for clearing skies and highs warming to at least the mid-40s, perhaps into the low 50s. Confidence: Low-Medium