- Snow is basically over, although a few light bands may drop another dusting or so.
- Record-challenging overnight temperatures will promote a hefty freeze of any slush or untreated spots. Friday temperatures may struggle to rise out of the 20s. Forecast
- Total snowfall appears to range from about 4-8 inches in the immediate area, to 7-10 inches north and west. A few locations have seen more.
- Travel will remain difficult, especially on untreated, neighborhood roads.
We’ll resume updates Friday morning. Stay tuned for extensive post storm coverage…
7:15 p.m. update: Snow is pretty much done. A straggler band (or two) of light activity is still pushing through and may cause an additional dusting or a bit more. Bands may just fall apart as they progress southeast as well. The winter storm warning has ended to the northwest of I-95, but D.C. remains in it. It might get canceled everywhere else soon. It expires at 9 p.m. either way.
Reports in and around the city indicate widespread 4 to 8 inch numbers across the immediate metro area. As you progress further to the northwest, totals are mostly settling into the 7 to 10 inch range or thereabouts. Totals to the southeast may still need an update, since the main snow bands went through there after most other spots, but totals of at least 3 to 5 inches seem common thus far.
The main story tonight is refreeze and record or near-record cold. Untreated roads and slushy snow are likely to freeze solid overnight. Significant iciness issues are likely to persist into at least early Friday. Winds aren’t too bad, but when you combine them with temperatures dropping into the single digits and teens, you get wind chills below zero at times. A wind chill advisory is up for most of our northwestern suburbs late night.
6:50 p.m. update: Dulles International has picked up at least 8.6 inches of snow today. That breaks the previous record of 1 inch for the date, which was set in 2001.
It’s also — as of latest report — the third largest daily total in March at that location, since the airport began recording observations in 1963. The two in front of it are March 9, 1999 with 8.9 inches (possible to reach in final report?), and March 13, 1993 when the “Storm of the Century” dropped 13.9 inches there.
6:12 p.m. update: We have another light band of snow clipping through the D.C. metro from northwest to southeast. Snowfall rates are relatively light in this patch, but roads are already slippery so use caution if you’re out.
The storm is still going strong in southern Maryland, and could last there for another hour or two. St. Mary’s County was already up to over 5 inches of snow by 5 p.m., so areas to the south (in our 1-4 inch forecast band) could probably see some boom scenario totals (4-8 inches).
5:40 p.m. update: Final snow update from the offices of the Washington Post!
5:19 p.m. update: Another update on regional snowfall totals as the back end of this storm moves swiftly through!
With at least 4.6 inches so far today, Washington, D.C., has set a new snowfall record for the date. The previous record was 4.4 inches in 1888 (records date back to 1871).
More totals through 5 p.m.:
Reagan National — 4.6 inches (as of 4:40 p.m.)
Dulles International — 4.3 inches (2 p.m.)
The District — 3-4 inches
Anne Arundel County — 4-6 inches
Baltimore (county and city) — 5-8 inches
Howard County — 6-9 inches
Montgomery County — 5-8.5 inches
Frederick County — 8-11 inches
Loudoun County — 7-8 inches
Fairfax County — 5-9 inches
Arlington, Alexandria — 5-6 inches
Prince William County — 5-6 inches
Fauquier County — 4.5-6 inches
Charles County — 4-5 inches
Prince George’s County — 4-5.5 inches
People are out having fun on Capitol Hill! Good times.
4:45 p.m. update: We just spoke to the observer at Reagan National Airport who reports 4.6 inches on the ground. That brings the season total up to 18.1 inches. CWG’s Ian Livingston tells us Washington, D.C., has now had above-average snow in back-to-back winters (last winter 32 inches fell; average is 15.4 inches) for the first time since 1986-1987 and 1987-1988.
4:20 p.m. update: When will it end?
We’re seeing the back edge of the snow move rapidly across the region from the northwest. There’s still some light snow and flurries building behind the main event, but the heavy snow is over in Frederick and western Loudoun County, and even some of our near north and west suburbs.
While the high resolution forecast models were forecasting an end between 5 and 8 p.m., we’re thinking the back edge will probably move across the area sooner than that — from northwest to southeast over the next couple of hours.
The heaviest snow will probably be out of the Beltway by 5 p.m., and ending by 6 p.m. Light snow or flurries could continue beyond that, though won’t produce the kind of accumulation we’ve seen so far today.
3:35 p.m. update: Let’s take a look at snow totals so far around the region!
Reagan National — 3.2 inches (3 p.m.)
Dulles International — 4.3 inches (2 p.m.)
The District — 3-4 inches
Anne Arundel County — 3-4 inches
Baltimore (county and city) — 4-6 inches
Howard County — 4-5 inches
Montgomery County — 2-7 inches
Frederick County — 7-11 inches
Loudoun County — 4-7 inches
Fairfax County — 3-5 inches
Arlington, Alexandria — 3-5 inches
Prince William County — 2-5 inches
Fauquier County — 2-3 inches
Charles County — 3-5 inches
Prince George’s County — 2-3 inches
We took a quick trip up to the roof of the Washington Post to get another measurement at 2:40 p.m., and here’s what we found:
3:05 p.m. update: As moderate to heavy snow continues to fall with temperatures mostly in the 20s, roads are mostly snow-covered, even the well-traveled ones. Visibility is poor – just 1/4 mile in heavy snow at Reagan National at 3 p.m. Driving conditions are very poor and staying in is your best bet.
Over the next few hours, snow will more easily accumulate with these temperatures and the gradual loss of daylight. However, the intensity of snow should gradually begin to wane from the northwest starting around 4 p.m.
Some scenic photos:
2:45 p.m. update: Our southern areas, after a slow start, are really playing catch-up now with very heavy snow falling. Snowfall rates are in the 1-2 inch per hour range. In Charlottesville, 4 inches has fallen in the last 2.5 hours according to a report.
2:25 p.m. update: This storm is truly in its prime right now. Temperatures everywhere have dropped below freezing, ranging from the mid-20s to around 30. At 2 p.m. all three local airports reports moderate snow and visibility of a half mile or less.
Our southern areas, which had eluded heavy snow earlier, are getting hammered with 1-1.5 inch per hour rates.
The conditions we have now may persist for two or so more hours. People should stay off the roads if possible.
1:50-2:00 p.m. update: So how much more snow are we expecting? Radar shows a large, solid area of moderate to heavy snow covering the area for the moment. It’s probably the most impressive presentation of the day. Various modeling suggests about 2-5 additional inches – with some of the heaviest totals east and southeast of the city from here on. The (accumulating snow part of the) storm is probably just a little over half over, except in Southern Maryland where the heaviest snow is just arriving and still to come.
1:30 p.m. update: Radar shows widespread moderate snow over the area, with some heavier snow to our southwest that should impact our southern suburbs in the next hour or two. As of 1 p.m., Reagan National Airport had reported 1.8 inches. That amounts isn’t as high as you might think, but the combination of the snow falling during the middle of the day and temperatures right around freezing (a couple degrees higher than forecast) has slowed accumulation.
Snow has accumulated more quickly in colder areas in the upper 20s to the north and west. Dulles Airport reported 3.6″ at 1 p.m. and BWI 2.8″.
1:05 p.m. update: Snowfall totals are generally up to 2-3 inches in the immediate metro area, with 3-6 inches in our colder north and west areas (Loudoun, upper Montgomery and Frederick counties) and less than 2 inches to the southeast into Southern Maryland, where the transition from a wintry mix to snow is finally completing.
Dulles Airport reported 3 inches at noon. Robert Leffler, a cooperative weather observer in Damascus Md, reported 5.3 inches at 1 p.m. Here are some select reports via Twitter:
12:50 p.m. update: Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston posts a tweet illustrating the amazing tropical moisture feeding this storm:
12:40 p.m. update: CWG’s Angela Fritz reports from the field…
12:30 p.m. update: Here’s a great satellite view of this storm system from The Weather Channel’s Stu Ostro – a vast feed of moisture linked to the tropics flowing over Arctic front:
This system is wreaking havoc up the East Coast. Snow in the New York City area caused a plane to slide off the runway at LaGuardia Airport.
12:15 p.m. update: National Airport, at noon, reported heavy snow, 1/4 mile visibility and a temperature of 32F. Multiple bands of heavy snow have set up over the area, so now the immediate metro area is seeing totals start to mount a bit in addition to the colder northwest areas, which are already over 4 inches.
The National Weather Service is indicating snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour are possible for the next several hours, gradually sinking southeast towards Southern Maryland, which has yet to see much snow.
Noon update: Moderate snow is falling over a good portion of the immediate metro region. The heaviest activity has shifted southeast along a line from roughly Manassas to to Mt. Vernon to Annapolis.
The one area which hasn’t received much snow yet is Southern Maryland, as precipitation has been spotty and mixed. But steadier snow should develop there between 12 and 2 p.m. and continue into the early evening.
The heaviest snowfall totals continue to be focused in our colder north and west suburbs, where 4 inches or more has fallen in upper Montgomery County and Frederick County.
In the immediate metro area, generally about 1-3 inches have fallen.
11:35 a.m. update: Heavy snow has expanded southeast into D.C. and its immediate north and west suburbs where 1-1.5 inch per hour rates are occurring. Areas seeing this snow, which is reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less include Manassas and Centreville, Reston, Annandale, Arlington, Bethesda Potomac, Silver Spring, Aspen Hill, Laurel, Bowie and Glen Burnie. Driving conditions will be extremely difficult in this band. Don’t travel in it if you don’t need to.
11:00 a.m. update: A very heavy snow band has set up north of the Beltway and this is really enhancing totals from Leesburg to Gaithersburg to Columbia into northeast Maryland. Snow is falling between 1 and 2 inches an hour in this area. Prior to the storm, we said areas where heavy bands develop could see high-end snowfall totals. This looks like it may play out in this general zone.
10:30 a.m. update: It doesn’t show signs of stopping… Snow is falling at a clip of about 0.5-1 inch per hour and totals are mounting fast, especially in our colder areas north and west of the Beltway. Reports out of northern Montgomery and western Loudoun County indicate 2-3 inches already. These areas will have no trouble topping 5 inches and may get close to 10 inches. Inside the Beltway, a heavy coating (downtown) to an inch is most common, but snow will stack up quickly as temperatures fall given how hard it is snowing.
10:00 a.m. update: As snow falls steadily, if not heavily, across the area, the latest model data soundly support our accumulation forecasts. Here’s the latest total projection from the HRRR model:
Accumulation map, for reference
Heavy snow falls throughout the East Coast
CWG’s Ian Livingston contributed to this post.