A “clipper” that delivered: Recapping Tuesday’s boom-scenario snow storm

Event overview:

Radar & lightning: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update.

  • Impacts: Snow is accumulating and roads are SLICK. Some power outages have been reported, though they are likely not from downed tree branches. This snow is very lightweight.
  • Timing: Accumulating snow is expected to continue through the commuting hours and last until mid-to-late morning.
  • Delays and Closings: Dr. Gridlock has all of your school delay and closing information. The federal government is open.
  • Full forecast through the week: Snow on Tuesday followed by brutal cold Wednesday and Thursday

An interactive snowfall map shows snowfall totals around the region:

Update at 11:20 a.m.: Widespread snowfall totals of 3 to 4 inches have been reported across the D.C. area, particularly in the west and north suburbs, as well as the District itself. Locations in northern Fauquier and Fairfax counties peaked closer to 5 inches.

Light snow with short bursts of moderate snow could continue through the early afternoon hours.

A roundup of the snowfall totals in the D.C. region from the National Weather Service:

Update at 11:05 a.m.: Light flurries linger across the D.C. region now, with some heavier snow falling across western Maryland and far northern Virginia. Light snow with short bursts of moderate snow could continue through the early afternoon hours.

Update at 10:30 a.m.: Some of the higher snowfall totals from around the region as snow continues to wane:

Karo, Va. — 6 inches

Middleburg, Va. — 5 inches

Dulles International — 4.1 inches

Vienna, Va. — 4 inches

Aldie, Va. — 4 inches

Chantilly, Va. — 3.9 inches

Glenarden, Md. — 3.8 inches

U.S. Capitol — 3.5 inches

Gaithersburg, Md. — 3 inches

Bailey’s Crossroads, Va. — 3 inches

The White House — 2.9 inches

Update at 10:15 a.m.: The snow is really starting to wane from west to east across the region. The heaviest snow band, which brought 5 to 6 inches to locations in Virginia, has since diminished. At 10:15 a.m., the heaviest snow was falling just north of Annapolis, Md.

Given that temperatures are only expected to peak around the freezing mark this afternoon, there’s a good chance that secondary roads will still have a good coating of snow on them for the evening commute. However, road crews will likely have sufficient time to clear the major thoroughfares and interstates.

Update at 9:50 a.m.: A few updated snowfall totals:

American University — 2.5 inches

Gaithersburg, Md. — 3 inches

Takoma Park, Md. — 2.6 inches

Chevy Chase, Md. — 2.3 inches

Arlington, Va. — 2.6 inches

Barcroft, Va. — 2.4 inches

Reston, Va. — 3.1 inches

Dunn Loring, Va. — 3 inches

Middleburg, Va. — 5 inches

Aldie, Va. — 4 inches

Front Royal, Va. — 5.3 inches

Update at 9:18 a.m.: The morning commute would typically be wrapping up at this point, but many cars are still stuck on the roads in a snowy nightmare. “The storm is proving to be an over performer and that the wetter NAM proved to be the best model,” said Wes Junker. “Radar suggests that a period of moderate snow will hit the district and points north.”

Based on what has already accumulated, the D.C. metro is now looking at widespread snowfall totals of 2 to 4 inches, with the potential for 4 to 6 inches in some locations west and north of D.C. The southern D.C. suburbs will also get more snow than predicted — 1 to 2 inches in those locations.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for areas west and north of D.C., including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, northern Fauquier County, Prince William and Manassas, Va. until 1 p.m. Areas in the warning are outlined in black below. The Weather Service is expecting accumulations of 4 to 6 inches in these areas.

Lori Aratani provides an update on D.C. area airports:

Officials at Reagan National and Dulles International airports said there was minor snow accumulation at both airports, but expected a normal airline schedule on Tuesday. Snow crews at both airports were available and working to clear snow from runways and taxiways as needed. They also noted that there may be minor delays as airlines worked to de-ice aircraft for departing flights. Officials urged travelers to check with their airlines to confirm their flights.

Update at 8:47 a.m.: A band of heavier snow is pushing through the Beltway and northern suburbs now. Satellite estimates suggest that snowfall rates in these heavy bands could be 0.5 to 1 inches per hour.

The heavier, persistent snow should begin to wane by 11 a.m., though we will probably continue to see shots of snow and flurries on and off through the early afternoon, especially in the northern suburbs.

Widespread snowfall totals around 2 inches in the Beltway and northern suburbs.  Snow total reports:

U.S. Capitol — 1.5 inches

The White House — 1.4 inches

Foggy Bottom — 2 inches

Baltimore City — 1.2 inches

Frostburg, Md. — 3 inches

Gaithersburg, Md. — 2 inches

Frederick County — 1 inch

Winchester, Va. — 2 inches

N Arlington, Va. — 1.8 inches

Vienna, Va. — 2 inches

Dulles — 2.1 inches

Update at 8:20 a.m.: Radar indicates a large area of heavier snow is pushing through the west and northwest suburbs, currently over Fauquier and northern Prince William counties. This should move into the Beltway and northern suburbs over the next hour or two.

Update at 8:07 a.m.: The southern suburbs are going to wind up with more snow than expected. Photos and webcam images show a dusting to a coating in southern Prince George’s, northern Calvert, and northern Charles counties, and radar indicates there’s more on the way.

A dusting of snow on the ground in Owings, Md., (Calvert County) at 7:45 a.m.:

Woodbridge, Va.:

Update at 7:45 a.m.: A few social media reports:

Likely working on that D.C. power outage:

Update at 7:30 a.m.: Snow total reports:

The White House — 1 inch

The Capitol — 1.5 inches

Dulles International — 1.1 inches

Reagan National — 0.8 inches

North Arlington, Va. — 1.8 inches

H Street NW in D.C. — 1.5 inches

Allegany County, Md. — 3 inches

Baltimore City — 0.5 inches

Rockville, Md. — 1 inch

Alexandria, Va. — 0.8 inches

Berryville, Va. — 1.5 inches

Winchester, Va. — 2.5 inches

Update at 7:15 a.m.: This is definitely a “boom” forecast situation for the District. The National Weather Service has updated their forecast for the Washington and Baltimore metro areas to 2 to 4 inches “based on radar trends and observations,” they write. They heavier snow band has definitely set up just a bit further south than expected — enough to put both of these metro areas in the higher snow accumulation.

We’ve also received a few reports of power outages around D.C. — Nancy Doyle in Dupont Circle reports that power has been out in the 1700 block of Q Street since 6:45 a.m.

Fortunately the sun is coming up to light the way, though temperatures will stay low through the morning hours. The high temperature forecast in D.C. is just around the freezing mark, so we don’t expect this snow to melt much through at least 1 or 2 p.m.

Metro trains are running on time, though the outdoor platforms are very slippery!

Update at 7:05 a.m.: Temperatures are well below freezing this morning — around 20 degrees across the area — which means the road surfaces are below freezing, too. In heavier traffic locations, like on the interstates, cars drive over the snow and it melts a little, but then almost instantly refreezes. This is what is causing the layer of ice that’s been reported on the roadways, and it’s making the commute treacherous in some locations. Please use caution on the roads, and don’t assume that because you can see the black pavement, that the roads are not icy!

Update at 6:55 a.m.: Some social media reports from around the area. Many people on social media are expressing surprise at how few school closings there are.

Update at 6:30 a.m.: Big picture radar shows snow across the D.C.-Baltimore region and even south into central Virginia. Though the southern suburbs have been mostly snow-free thus far, radar indicates that a region of heavier snow is approaching the District and southern suburbs from the southwest.

Update at 6:15 a.m.: Many reports of cars sliding on the roads in and around the Beltway.

Snow reports:

0.25 inches in Frederick, Md.

0.5 inches in Annandale, Va.

0.5 inches in Chevy Chase

.75 inches in Alexandra, Va.

1.5 inches in Front Royal, Va.

Update at 5:55 a.m.: The roads are definitely slick this morning. Many side streets are not treated at all, which means snow is accumulating at-will. The interstates only appear in modestly better condition.

On I-66 in Arlington:

495 at 236 near Annandale, Va.:

270 in Gaithersburg, Md.:

We really don’t want you to take photos of the roads while you a driving, but this image illustrates that the roads are totally covered with snow in many areas. Please drive with caution this morning!

Update at 5:35 a.m.: Here’s a reminder of what we’re expecting from this system. Accumulations range from 1 to 2 inches around the District and north and west.  Some spots in the farther western to northern suburbs could manage 3 inches or so.

The snow in the near-south and southeast suburbs got off to a strong start, but the cutoff line is such that southern Prince William, Charles, and southern Prince George’s counties are not seeing snow yet. Radar indicates a southern push of snow approaching the southern suburbs from the west, which means flakes could be flying in these locations in the next hour or so.

Given the snow’s strong start overall, this forecast is probably on the low end of accumulation for the 1 to 2 inch swath, which includes the District. Areas in this swath are now more likely to see 2 to 3 inches through the morning.

Update at 5:17 a.m.: The flakes began to fly early this morning — starting soon after midnight across the far western counties. The snow is light and dry, which is exactly what we would expect in a clipper system like this one.

Though roads have been treated, there are many reports of very slick roads and accidents. Drive with caution!