* Winter weather advisory 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. *
9:25 a.m. update: Snow continues to fall steadily, especially along and west of I-95. Most accumulation continues to be on grassy areas, but we are seeing some slushy snow build-up on sidewalks and side roads in areas. To the south of D.C., there have even been reports of some slush on major roads – like I-95 – in some of the heavier snow bands.
8:15 a.m. update: Snow has overspread much of the D.C. area, with some light accumulation beginning on grassy areas, car tops and vegetation. A few slick spots could start to develop on untreated roads over the next hour or two, especially in the colder suburbs where temperatures are below freezing. At 8 a.m., temperatures ranged from 28 at Dulles to 33 at Reagan National Airport.
7:20 a.m. update: Starting to see some reports of very light snow south of the District around Fredericksburg and Stafford. We should see some of this move north towards the Beltway over the next 90 minutes.
6:20 a.m. update: There are just a few flurries around at the moment (mainly west of town), with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s. Short-range models suggest the onset of steadier snow occurs between 7 and 10 a.m. from southwest to northeast – probably occurring between 8 and 9:30 a.m. in the immediate metro region. The National Weather Service has extended the winter weather advisory until 8 p.m. from 3 p.m., as snow may linger into the evening across the region. It has also increased its amount forecast from 1-3 inches to 2-4 inches. That adjustment seems like a good one for higher elevations and some of our colder locations (as models have increased precipitation simulations for the storm), but with much of snow falling during the day with temperatures climbing above freezing closer to the city, it’s going to be challenging to get those amounts. (During the heart of winter, this would be a 3-6″ kind of storm.)
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Winter 2013-14’s farewell tour is currently playing in our area. The recent arrival of very cold air is complemented today by flying snowflakes (sorry no “warm-up act” with this one!). The snow introduces itself this morning and becomes intermittent into the afternoon and evening. Temperatures should warm enough to keep most treated roads snow-free, but untreated side roads, grassy areas, and other colder spots could see a light accumulation. The storm exits tonight (exploding offshore), leaving behind very windy weather tomorrow morning.
Thursday begins the warming process with Friday and the weekend bringing more spring-like weather back to center stage.
Today (Tuesday): Cloudy and cold this morning with snow developing, and becoming steady by mid- to late morning. The snow becomes more scattered by late afternoon into this evening, gradually shifting east towards the Chesapeake Bay.
In terms of accumulations, we expect around 1 inch along the I-95 corridor and east. An enhanced band of 1-3 inches is possible in our western suburbs, with the highest amounts in the mountains. (Another heavier band is possible towards the Maryland/Delaware beaches.) Accumulations are favored on grassy areas, but slick spots on untreated roads are possible this morning (especially in our colder areas west of town), as temperatures may take until mid-to-late morning (or even noon in some of the coldest areas) to pass freezing.
Highs should be mainly in the middle to upper 30s during the afternoon. Breezes are light and mainly from the east. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: Scattered snow showers still possible in the evening, especially east of the city with lingering snow toward the Eastern Shore deeper into the evening hours. Lows fall into the lower 20s in the outer suburbs to the upper 20s in the city, but winds really pick up toward dawn. Winds from the north increase to 15-25 mph late with gusts as high as 35-45 mph. Confidence: Medium
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Wednesday): Becoming mostly sunny, but still cold and very windy, especially in the morning. Temperatures in the 20s-30s in the morning combined with winds from the northwest at 15-25 mph (and higher gusts to around 40 mph) mean wind chills could dip as low as the single digits and teens- forcing us to remember it really is late March! Afternoon temperatures should peak in the upper 30s to low 40s with winds slowly receding. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Mostly clear and cold with light breezes. Temperatures dive into the 20s again for one more hard freeze. Our outer western suburb see lows in the low 20s with city conditions more in the upper 20s. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Thursday still finds lingering cold high pressure over the region, but the air mass is gradually modifying thanks to the March sunshine. Temperatures should advance into the upper 40s to around 50 by the afternoon with light breezes. This is still quite a bit below normal, but the warmest day of the work week so far. Thursday night doesn’t dip as deep with lows in the warmer upper 30s to around 40 with some increase in cloud cover. Confidence: Medium-High
Friday features more springlike weather with partly sunny skies in the morning and cloudier skies with showers developing by afternoon. Temperatures should surge into the middle 60s by midday into afternoon. Mostly cloudy Friday night with more showers expected as lows only drop into the 40s to even around 50 in the city. Confidence: Medium
The weekend should see closer to normal temperatures at least, but the weather guidance is trying to figure out what to do with a cool front. We could see more showers on Saturday with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Highs should still manage to be up into the 60s again. Saturday night looks partly cloudy with lows in the 40s. I say “cool front” because there is not much “cold” air behind it as Sunday should shift to sunny skies with highs just slightly cooler in the upper 50s to around 60. Spring is in high demand right about now, so we’ll take it! Confidence: Low-medium