* Winter weather advisory for immediate metro area and north through 10 p.m. tonight *
Key points for Tuesday’s wintry mix:
- Another wave of rain and wintry mix will move through the area late this afternoon and evening, but should be light and scattered.
- From the Beltway and points south, temperatures from 32-35 should rise safely above freezing, meaning few impacts from this precipitation; the evening commute should be without major issues.
- In our colder areas from around Leesburg through northern Montgomery County and to the west side of Baltimore, a sidewalks, driveways, and untreated side roads could become slick, but major roads should stay ice-free.
- Precipitation tapers off around 7 or 8 p.m. when temperatures everywhere are expected to be above freezing.
Update at 4:35 p.m.: We’ve published the PM Update, which includes more information about the wintry mix tonight, as well as updates for the Wednesday-Thursday winter storm. Any new updates about this evening’s weather will be posted there.
Update at 3:30 p.m.: Another patch of wintry mix is pushing across northern D.C. and the northern Beltway. Road temperatures are at or above freezing in most locations (including the Beltway), but there are a few sensors reporting below-freezing road temperatures in our cooler areas north of the city.
Update at 2:20 p.m.: The current batch of precipitation has moved east of the Beltway now, but another wave could move in around 4 p.m. The precipitation has cooled the air a little bit, and temperatures have dropped by a degree or two in the District, but are still mostly at or above freezing. Some stations in Northwest are reporting 31 degrees, and Columbia Heights is also reporting 31 degrees. Between 1 and 2 p.m., National dropped from 35 to 34 degrees.
However, despite the temp-drop in the city, we’re still not expecting roads to ice up since they will stay a bit warmer than the air temperature. In general, temperatures will continue to climb over the next couple of hours. Suburbs to the north and west where temperatures have been persistently at or just below freezing could see slippery spots on sidewalks and other particularly cold, untreated roads.
We will continue to update on conditions and temperatures as the next round of precipitation moves into the area.
Update at 1:15 p.m.: The winter weather advisory has been canceled for our far southwest suburbs, but continues for the immediate surrounding counties until 10 p.m. The area under an advisory is shown in purple below.
Light sleet, rain and freezing rain is moving through the immediate metro area and points north and west. Temperatures continue to hover around the freezing mark, and so we’ve been getting a few reports of slick spots on roads in our northern suburbs, and ice accumulating on cold surfaces (like cars).
While we’re not expecting this to be a widespread icing event (like Sunday’s, for example), it’s still best to use caution on the roads, especially on untreated roads, and north of the city where temperatures will be slower to climb.
Update at 12:10 p.m.: An area of light sleet (with some rain and freezing rain mixed in) has developed and will zip through the region over the next hour or so. It is neither heavy enough nor long-lasting enough to cause problems, but use caution in case a slick spot or two forms.
Update at 11:10 a.m.: Radar shows any midday precipitation very widely scattered and light. The latest modeling shows any steadier precipitation may not arrive until about 3:30-5 p.m. and by then most areas have warmed to freezing or a bit higher (many areas near and south of D.C. already have). Moreover, the precipitation that comes in should be mostly light and short-lived, lasting only 2-3 hours at most (through around 7 p.m.).
At this point, we are pretty underwhelmed with today’s event and think many areas may just see some spotty sleet and then a little plain rain. The risk of iciness seems more confined to our far northern suburbs from Leesburg to Frederick to the west side of Baltimore, where sidewalks, side roads and driveways have a chance for a little iciness. But even there, this could turn into a non-event by and large.
If we were the National Weather Service, we might even drop the winter weather advisory for the immediate metro region for this event. If you have plans late this afternoon and evening, we encourage you to keep an eye on our forecast updates but expect most people should be able to get around without too many issues.
Update at 10:05 a.m.: Snow and wintry mix remains off to our west, in eastern West Virginia and western Maryland, but it is slowly creeping toward the D.C. region which you can see on radar. Latest models suggest that scattered, patchy light precip in the form of snow and/or sleet could begin around 12-1 p.m. in the immediate metro area, with heavier precipitation moving into the area around 3-4 p.m.
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10: I like snow, I like spring, but I don’t like mixed muck.
Today: Cloudy with mixed precip in afternoon. Highs: 33-36.
Tonight: Evening mixed precipitation. Lows: 32-35.
Tomorrow: Showers, especially in afternoon. Highs: 48-54.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
March meteorological madness is in full swing with wild weather swings from day to day. A wintry mix this afternoon into the evening means the chance for some iciness. But then Wednesday, temperatures rebound with 50s possible and regular old rain. That brief flirtation with mild air is followed by an Arctic front that breathes cold air back into the region Wednesday night into Thursday. Rain in the area at the time may well turn to accumulating snow.
Today (Tuesday): A cloudy and cold morning greets us with below freezing temperatures that turn all wet areas from yesterday to ice again, so be cautious once more when you go out your door. Temperatures slowly advance into the 30s through the morning until precipitation arrives by afternoon, which should cool temperatures back toward freezing levels. Here is estimated timeline of expected events:
- Light snow and/or sleet develops between around 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Temperatures 30-34.
- Snow and/or sleet change to light freezing rain or rain (I-95 and east) between 2 and 4 p.m. Temperatures 30-34.
- Freezing rain or plain rain (depending on location) tapers off between 6 and 7 p.m. Temperatures: 31-35.
- All accumulations are expected to be very light.
This light frozen precipitation may cause slick sidewalks, driveways and side roads, especially west and north of the Beltway where temperatures are more likely to be below freezing. In most areas, treated main roads should be just wet. Light winds blow from the east and northeast at 5 to 10 mph.
Tonight: We’ll need to watch temperatures closely as we could still be hovering near the freezing mark into the evening commute. Evening rain and freezing rain (mostly well north and west of city) tapers off around 7 p.m., with just widely scattered rain showers later at night. Temperatures hold steady or inch up a bit through the 30s (above freezing in most spots) as winds transition to come from a warmer southwest and south direction at 5 to 15 mph. Confidence: Medium
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Wednesday): Welcome to the warmest day of the work week with variable cloud cover and scattered showers becoming more numerous in the afternoon. High temperatures climb well into the 40s, but we could see low maybe even middle 50s if we get enough breaks of cloud cover to let the March sunlight through. Some of the rain could be moderate to heavy toward the late afternoon and evening hours as the Arctic front approaches. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow night: A massive March cold front slowly steers its way through our region. Right now, the guidance is divided on how quickly cold air rushes into the area overnight. For now, the safest thing to expect is mostly rain up through midnight and maybe a few hours beyond with some transition toward snow by late night towards dawn. Temperatures fall into the low 30s with some upper 20s north and west of the city toward dawn, which could bedevil our morning commute. We need to monitor this situation very closely. Confidence: Low
A LOOK AHEAD
Thursday finds snow more likely in the morning with a chance of significant accumulation before tapering off around midday. Mostly cloudy skies and cold with daytime highs in the lower to middle 30s at best, but it may hold colder in the afternoon thanks to this latest Arctic intrusion. Partly cloudy and cold Thursday night with lows ranging through the teens in the outer suburbs to around 20 in the city. Outlying areas with heavier new snow cover could edge toward the upper single digits too. Confidence: Low
Friday is another very cold day for this time of year with highs only in the lower to middle 30s with partly to mostly sunny skies. A few clouds hang around Friday night as lows dive again to the teens and 20s, keeping us in the freezer longer. Confidence: Medium
The weekend sees moderating temperatures, but we still manage to maintain mostly colder than normal weather. At least we stay dry. Saturday and Sunday both see partly sunny skies with Saturday in the middle and Sunday upper 40s. Lows Saturday night with just a few clouds range through the 20s to low 30s. Confidence: Medium
SNOW POTENTIAL INDEX
A daily assessment of the potential for at least 1 inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.
6/10 (↑): The likelihood of accumulating snow is building for Thursday morning.