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- The transition to sleet and rain has progressed through much of the Washington region. Into the early evening, some colder areas north and west of Washington will have patchy freezing rain. In northern Maryland, snow will change to sleet and freezing rain through late afternoon.
- Most snow accumulation has ended with totals around 1 to 2 inches in the immediate area, 1 to 3 inches in our north and west suburbs, and 3 to 6 inches toward northern Maryland and Interstate 81. This was the boom scenario.
- Temperatures are mostly above freezing along and east of Interstate 95 and should remain steady into the evening with mostly wet roads. But temperatures will hover around freezing north and west of Washington and a few slick spots are possible. Locations far to the west and northwest may remain at or below 32 degrees into tonight, prolonging freezing rain and slick conditions.
- 1.4 inches of snow was posted in Washington today. This is the first measurable November snow in the District since 1996 (when 0.2 inches fell) and the biggest November snow event since 1989, when 3.5 inches fell before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-23).
4:00 p.m. update: A cold, drenching rain is now falling over much of the immediate area with temperatures between 33 and 36 degrees. Winds have picked up as well - sustained at 15 to 20 mph with some higher gusts. Overall, a very nasty late afternoon.
In our outlying areas to the northwest, west of Poolesville and Sterling, and north of Gaithersburg and Columbia, temperatures hover between 30 and 32 degrees, meaning some freezing rain is occurring. Especially as it gets dark, use caution on sidewalks and untreated roads in these areas as slick spots could develop. These are the same areas where slippery conditions may linger through the night.
Patchy rain and freezing rain will continue into the overnight hours, ending between 3 and 5 a.m. from southwest to northeast. Some sleet and snow may briefly mix back in - especially in our colder areas - before ending.
This is the last update in this post. For the detailed outlook through Friday, see our PM Update.
2:45 p.m. update: The immediate metro region has now transitioned to rain and sleet with no more snow, and the changeover has also reached much of Loudoun, Montgomery, and Howard County. However, we still have reports of some flakes in our far northwest areas around Frederick and Hagerstown. But even these areas should flip to sleet and freezing rain over the next hour or two.
We’ve seen some very impressive snow totals in northern Maryland, in Carroll and Frederick counties, with a few locations topping 6 inches.
1:30 p.m. update: The weather observer at Reagan National Airport (Washington’s official weather station) reports 1.4 inches of snow fell through 1 p.m. This amount marks the most in Washington during November since a storm in 1989 dropped 3.5 inches just before Thanksgiving.
The National Airport total fits right in with others inside the Beltway of one to two inches. The bigger amounts can be found to our north and west with three to six inches in upper Montgomery, Loudoun and Frederick counties, and in some places it’s still snowing.
See bottom of this post for earlier storm updates...
Forecast through the weekend
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
1/10: Rain mixed with snow and ice will not suffice. My advice about going out? Think twice!
Today: Wintry mix slowly changing to rain from southeast to northwest. Highs: 34-38
Tonight: Rain and drizzle, possibly mixing with snow/sleet in colder areas late. Lows: 32-36.
Tomorrow: Precipitation ends early, then clearing, windy. Highs: 44-48
View the current weather at The Washington Post headquarters.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Even though snow and sleet accumulations are likely to be modest in the immediate area, it is still a miserable day. Slick spots are possible, especially in our colder areas to the north and west. Then, once the wintry mix transitions to a cold, drenching rain in the afternoon, whipping winds make it especially nasty. The weekend is a major improvement from that mess, with mainly sunny, dry, calm conditions. The only complaint is we can’t shake the unseasonable cold.
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Today (Thursday): A mix of rain/snow/sleet arrives before the dawn and makes for a tricky commute. The worst conditions, when precipitation is heavy and temperatures are cold, lasts through late morning. The good thing is the ground is not that cold, which allows for melting, but heavier bursts of sleet and snow could cause slick spots. A shift to just rain is anticipated in the late morning downtown but may take until the afternoon in our north and west suburbs, where odds of more significant snow and ice accumulation increase.
The rain this afternoon could be heavy, and some pockets of flooding cannot be ruled out. On top of that, winds from the northeast gust over 25 mph, making umbrellas of limited use against the chilly, driving rain. Temperatures hold mainly in the mid-30s through the day. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: Cold rain continues through the evening, and most areas end up with the equivalent of an inch (adding together the rain and melted wintry mix). Gusty winds shift to come out of the northwest overnight, potentially cooling our north and northwest areas enough for snow and sleet to mix back in with the rain in the predawn hours. Refreezing concerns are minimal overnight, however, with lows temperatures mostly above freezing (32 to 36 degrees). Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Friday): Precipitation should quickly diminish at daybreak but very early commuters need to be cautious of slick spots. West winds continue to gust up to 25 mph and, as skies clear, roads should dry out. Cold air still pours in as the storm moves away, and highs do no better than the mid- to upper 40s. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow night: Winds die down in the evening, taking an edge off the chill. Mostly clear skies allow most areas to fall into the 20s for lows, with downtown areas settling in the low 30s. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday benefits from mostly sunny skies and very light winds, but temperatures are still cold, with highs doing no better than mid-40s in most of the area. Clear, calm conditions overnight again push lows below freezing in most areas, from 25 to 30, except the low 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium
Dry weather persists into Sunday, with partly sunny skies. Cold air just won’t stop oozing into the area, and this keeps highs parked in the mid- to upper 40s for most. That is about 10 degrees below normal. Overnight lows fall into the mid- to upper 20s in our colder areas, and low to mid-30s downtown under starry skies. Confidence: Medium-High
Monday sees mainly high level clouds increase across the area, and this is enough to keep highs only in the mid- to upper 40s. 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.
5/10 (↑): Snow is likely to take a back seat to the rain and sleet Thursday but if an early morning burst occurs an inch or so is not out of the question.
Earlier storm updates...
1:00 p.m. update: Temperatures have risen to 32 to 34 degrees inside the Beltway, and precipitation has changed to sleet and rain. No additional accumulation is expected and ice and slush on roads should gradually melt this afternoon.
North and west of the Beltway, where sleet and snow are still falling, temperatures are 30 to 33 degrees, so slick conditions are likely to persist there for another couple of hours. However, these areas should also rise above freezing by mid-to-late afternoon and only patchy slick spots should linger into the afternoon commute.
In some zones well north and west of the Beltway, toward northern Maryland and Interstate 81, where temperatures are currently near 30, it may not rise above freezing until tonight and some sheltered valleys may not rise above freezing at all. So, while snow may end in this region in the next couple of hours, frozen precipitation (sleet and then freezing rain) may continue through this evening, meaning a continuation of slick conditions.
12:20 p.m. update: The winter storm warning has now been further expanded to cover all of Loudoun County and western Montgomery County, as well as northern Baltimore County. Four to six inches of snow is likely in this zone, and many locations are already closing in on such amounts. However, the window for snow should close over the next couple of hours as precipitation transitions to sleet.
Inside the Beltway, precipitation has shifted to all sleet for the most part with even some plain raining creeping into our southern suburbs. Even as far north as Rockville snow has flipped to sleet, so hours are numbered for the snow part of this storm.
11:20 a.m. update: The winter storm warning has been expanded into western Loudoun, Frederick and Carroll counties, and in effect through 4 a.m. Friday.
Snow is falling heavily in western Loudoun, Frederick. and Carroll counties and amounts are piling up. The Weather Service now indicates 4 to 6 inches of snow could fall in this area, with a glaze of ice (0.1 to 0.2 inches) on top of that. Your best bet is stay put and not travel unless absolutely necessary in this area.
10:40 a.m. update: When will the changeover from snow/sleet to more sleet and then rain occur?
We think the snow/sleet mix should stick around in the immediate area through midday, gradually becoming more sleety than snowy. Areas inside the Beltway should transition to mostly rain by 3 p.m. This will take another hour or two in our north and west areas.
10:15 a.m. update: A new round of snow reports is in.
Snow totals continue to build somewhat this morning. A general range of about half an inch to two or more inches is now common.
Several two inch or greater reports have arrived from Loudoun County, with 2.2 inches in Leesburg as of 9:30 a.m. Even in the immediate area, 1.7 inches was reported in Lake Barcroft in Falls Church as of 9 a.m.
The whole list is available on the NWS D.C./Baltimore site.
10:05 a.m. update: While the area has largely flipped from pure snow, we are still seeing some bursts of big flakes with heavier precipitation.
This storm is still in the early phases and we have a long way to go until it finishes. Sleet appears to be the primary precipitation type in the area at this time, although it does seem that a change to more of a liquid form is trying to move north from southern Md. As temperatures only very slowly rise from near and below freezing at present, precipitation types may bounce around for a while yet, but the trajectory is toward a less frozen state with time.
9:15 a.m. update: The worst of the conditions are moving on from the morning band.
A changeover from snow is now progressing through northern suburbs. Sleet is falling most spots locally, although some freezing rain and rain is mixed in. This precipitation will continue to slowly transition toward more of the liquid variety as temperatures crawl upward this morning. It is still near or below freezing most spots, so do continue to take it slow even as road conditions improve overall.
9:05 a.m. update: This is the first accumulating snowfall in November in D.C. since 1996.
An early list of snow totals is out from the NWS. Most numbers are in the half inch to 1.5 inch range so far. National Airport has picked up at least 0.1 inches, which was as of 7 a.m., so it seems likely there is more to that total.
8:40 a.m. update: Here’s another look around the area. Quite the wintry morning!
8:25 a.m. update: Bands of heavy precipitation continue to move through, although they are beginning to focus on the northern half of the area. As this front-end activity moves on or tapers for a bit, we should see more and more of this snow change to other precipitation types.
As precipitation lightens up a bit for a time, we should see temperatures begin to warm up a little. We’re talking very little, but perhaps enough to get the I-95 corridor back to freezing and above in the next several hours. This should coincide with an eventual turn to rain in the cities and southeast, with mixed precipitation including sleet and freezing rain continuing longer to the west.
If you’re on the way out or out now. It remains rough out there. Take it easy.
7:52 a.m. update: It looks like this storm will fall into the “boom” category. A heavy band of precipitation is dragging the temperature down, allowing snow and sleet to accumulate even on the roads. The worst road conditions are west and north of the Beltway, but snow is starting to coat streets in the District. We’re seeing a lot of major streets in the suburbs that look like they haven’t been treated.
7:30 a.m. update: Several school districts have decided to close instead of delay. You can check the full list here.
7:20 a.m. update: Snow and sleet are accumulating on the roads in Fairfax and Loudoun. Coming down hard in these areas so it’s piling up, even though the ground is relatively warm. Air temperatures have dropped below freezing in our far western and northern areas.
7 a.m. update: With temperatures running a little colder than expected, the National Weather Service has extended the wintry weather advisory into Charles County, where sleet and a little bit of snow has been reported. Calvert and St. Mary’s are still only in a flood watch.
Snow and sleet are sticking to untreated surfaces in the District. Roads are still okay in the Beltway, based on reader reports.
6:45 a.m. update: The morning weather balloon went up around 6 a.m. at the National Weather Service near Dulles airport. Looks like temperatures are below freezing through the atmosphere, with a shallow layer of air that hovers right above freezing near the ground. Temperatures range from 32 degrees in the outer suburbs of Fairfax, Loudoun, Frederick and Howard to 35-36 degrees in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel.
Since the air is below freezing from the clouds to near the ground, we’re seeing snowflakes fall across much of the metro -- even in the District and areas east of I-95.
6:15 a.m. update: The Washington area woke up to light sleet mixed with rain as precipitation spread north starting around 4 a.m. Reports indicate roads are okay in the Beltway, but could be slippery in parts of Fairfax, Loudoun and Frederick. We expect snow in the colder suburbs, with a snow-sleet mix in the warmer suburbs east of I-95. Precipitation changes to rain later this morning.