Tuesday’s the first day of spring, but some schoolchildren in the region may have the day off because of an icy mix of precipitation. Go figure.
As we outlined in our detailed forecast, rain is predicted to overspread the region during the predawn hours Tuesday, but should transition to sleet, a bit of freezing rain and even some snow as the morning wears on in our colder areas well north and west of the Beltway.
These northern and northwestern areas are under a winter weather advisory and have the best chance of seeing schools close Tuesday. We don’t think schools will choose to delay, because conditions may deteriorate as the morning wears on and as temperatures slowly fall.
We think Loudoun and Frederick counties have a better than 50-50 chance to close, but it’s not a guarantee.
As you head farther south and east, the chance of school closings steadily goes down as temperatures increase and precipitation turns more rainy. It’s going to be a tough call for Montgomery and Howard counties, where the northwest parts of those counties may be icy, but it’s more or less fine farther south. Even Fairfax County may see quite a bit variation between the northwest and southeast parts of the county.
Current forecasts suggest precipitation should remain mostly rain inside the Beltway and to the southeast through around 9 a.m., but then they may start mixing with and changing to sleet thereafter. Yes, conditions could deteriorate while kids are at school, but precipitation should be moving out early to midafternoon, and air and road temperatures probably will prevent much sleet from sticking to the roads close to the Beltway and south and east.
Students and teachers area-wide will have a better chance of a day off Wednesday given the possibility of accumulating snow. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s SchoolCast tomorrow.
Tuesday’s mix of precipitation probably won’t cause enough problems to trigger changes in operations for the federal government. There’s the outside chance an unscheduled leave/telework option is granted, however.