9:40 p.m. update: Depending on where you are, it’s either rained just a little tonight or it’s been fairly consistent. If you’re west or south of the city, it’s been most consistent. The peak of this event is getting underway now and lasts into the overnight.
Unusual little weather event tonight. Mostly rain in the area so far, but some snow is occurring at high elevations, esp N MD into PA. pic.twitter.com/0mKKBlYCRu
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 19, 2017
Right now the vast majority of what is falling is rain, although some sleet has been reported here and there. Temperatures are also well above freezing across the area. Once you get up to around 750-1000 feet in northern Maryland snow is mixing in. Above that it’s mainly snow. Snow levels will lower over the next few hours to near sea level and then drift south toward morning.
For most folks locally, the majority of this system will fall as rain. Even as it tends to change to snow from north to south while it winds down, temperatures should be above freezing most spots and others will be just barely at freezing. Other than a coating or so at most, any travel worries should be minimal. More significant accumulation is likely to remain at high elevations to our north.
From 3:50 p.m…
Today was a nice return to normalcy, with temperatures in the upper 50s and lots of sunshine. But, of course, nothing has been normal about this winter. Temperatures will drop overnight, changing rain to sleet and snow early tomorrow morning. We aren’t anticipating any substantial accumulation. Just think of it as a final kick by old man winter as he makes his exit — stage right.
Through tonight: Rain moves into region between 6 and 8 p.m. Some isolated thunderstorms are possible during this time frame, especially to the south and west of the District. Rain showers will lighten but persist across the region overnight. Temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 30s around Washington at this time, but some of the colder locations, such as Frederick, Carroll and portions of Montgomery and Howard counties, will see surface temperatures closer to the freezing mark.
A change over to light snow or sleet around 4 to 8 a.m. Sunday morning is likely in our far northern suburbs, with 1 inch of accumulation possible. Closer to the Beltway, temperatures bottom out in the mid-30s, but a period of snow or sleet right before dawn is not out of the question. Accumulations would be limited to grassy surfaces and some secondary roads.
View the current conditions at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Sunday): Any lingering precipitation will come to an end between 8 and 10 a.m. Mostly cloudy through the morning, then gradually becoming partly sunny by the afternoon. Any snow/sleet accumulations won’t last long since afternoon temperatures will rise into the upper 40s. Winds from the north at 10 to 15-plus mph will be gusty at times, making tomorrow feel much colder than Saturday. Partly cloudy tomorrow night with lighter winds and temperatures in the mid- to upper 30s.
Local Drought Intensifies
On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a drought update for the Mid-Atlantic, and the news is not great. “Severe drought” conditions continue around the Washington metro area, with most of the region (save for West Virginia) under some kind of drought advisory. We will have to wait and see what this means for the reemergence of local plant and tree life as spring officially starts Monday. Given the abnormally warm winter, combined with a late-season freeze and persistent drought conditions, the normally brilliant springtime return to a colorful landscape may be a bit bland this year.
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Ian Livingston contributed to this post.