11:00 p.m. update: The storm system off the Carolina coast continues to rapidly develop as we head into the overnight. Snow is also increasingly being reported in our area. As close by as Prince George’s County, we’re seeing light accumulation ongoing and some of that is moving our way. Some flakes are now flying in D.C. as well.
This snow is arriving on the early side, by at least a little. We could start seeing some of the accumulating snow come into the immediate area as we get through midnight, although the edge of the precipitation shield may dance east and west a bit over the next several hours.
A late-evening model, the American GFS, was more or less in line with our forecast. The shorter term HRRR model is also in that general ballpark, and perhaps even on the aggressive side with accumulation. It has shown upwards of two inches or slightly more in D.C. the last several runs.
It is safe to assume the morning commute will be difficult in much of the area. We’ll be back early in the morning.
9:25 p.m. update: The ocean storm is really starting intensify off the Southeast coast and we’re starting to see some snow on radar south and east of Washington. Because the air is so dry the snow is evaporating before reaching the ground. But we have seen some reports of flakes near Charlottesville. Over the next few hours, we’ll expect to see more reports of snow closer to Washington, but snow of consequence should hold off inside the Beltway until after midnight.
The latest modeling coming in supports our forecast of a dusting to 2 inches in the immediate area (more southeast and less northwest), with 1-4 inches toward the Bay.
Temperatures soared off frigid morning lows to near and above freezing this afternoon. Around here, that’s something to celebrate of late! The relative warmth won’t last long, though. It seems we warm up only to have a storm threat lately, and that’s the story tonight into tomorrow. While it’s unlikely we get a lot of snow, the storm will help keep our deep winter chill coming later in the week.
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Through tonight: We may see a couple of random flakes as early as mid- to late-evening, but any accumulating flakes should hold off until after midnight, and perhaps more like the pre-dawn hours. Most snow should be fairly light, as well, although a heavier burst is possible before dawn, especially in our eastern areas. Every flake that falls will stick on untreated surfaces, so do use caution if it is snowing. Lows are mainly in the 20s and winds will increase quite a bit toward morning, gusting over 30 mph.
View the current weather conditions at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Thursday): Even if it’s only a little snow, it could make for an ugly morning commute. Plan on slick spots if there is snow falling or on the ground. And because it will be windy, blowing snow could reduce visibility.
The snow probably won’t last long, and it could even wind down before the commute ends, but may take until midday in our far eastern areas. By the time it’s done, between a dusting to two inches or so seems possible locally, with more to the east and southeast. Winds will really crank up, though. We could see sustained winds as high as 25 to 30 mph, which means gusts as high as about 45 mph are a good bet, and maybe higher. Maximum temperatures should reach the upper 20s to lower 30s.
January thaw? I posted about a potential warm-up in the longer range Tuesday, but given that all other news is on the building storm, I thought I’d return to it today. The signal is growing for a break in this brutal pattern.
The story at the surface is still one of deep cold now translating to nearer-normal temperatures in the future, but that may evolve warmer in closing. Fingers crossed.
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