(This is the last update in this post.)
3:15 p.m. — Snow picking up again and road conditions to likely go downhill
The midafternoon lull in the storm was short. Radar has started to light up over the past 30 minutes or so. Light steady snow has redeveloped over the region, with pockets of moderate to heavy snow.
For the next several hours, accumulating snow is likely, though it will vary in intensity. The heaviest snow may focus from the Beltway south, but some areas to the north that saw snow shut down will see it redevelop. It’s possible some areas see some of the heavy snow bursts of the entire storm over the next few hours.
The combination of the increasing snow, the approach of darkness, and drop in temperatures will cause some roads that may have been cleared to become slippery again.
2:10 p.m. — The snow is easing, but it’s not over. Closing round to come.
We’re seeing a bit of a lull in the snow as it falls at a very light intensity or not at all in some spots, especially in our northern suburbs. For the most part, it’s not accumulating. Some spots south of Fairfax County are even seeing some sleet.
But short-range models continue to advertise a final round of snow for late this afternoon and evening, which could add an inch or two, or maybe a bit more in a few spots (highest amounts probably just south of the District). The snow may redevelop even into our northern suburbs where it has stopped (additional amounts lightest there).
If you need to get out, the next couple of hours would be a good time. Main roads are in decent shape if you can navigate the trickier side roads. After 4 p.m., the snow may well be picking up again, temperatures will fall, and conditions will become more challenging into the evening. Snow will finally start to taper off after 8 p.m., shutting off everywhere by around midnight, with little or no additional accumulation.
1:15 p.m. — Snowiest storm in Washington since Blizzard of 2016
Through 1 p.m., the storm snowfall total at Reagan National Airport was 5.4 inches, making this the snowiest storm since the January 2016 blizzard (17.8 inches) in Washington.
Heavier amounts of 5.6 and 7.1 inches were reported at Baltimore Washington-International Marshall and Dulles airports.
1:05 p.m. — Mostly light snow continues but some localized bursts with big flakes
In many places, the snow is falling so gently, that it’s not adding to the 4 to 7 inches on the ground. But there is one embedded heavier band right along the Route 50 corridor from around Centreville to Annapolis. This will reduce visibility and add a coating or so before it lifts to the east-northeast.
Snow should continue at varying intensity for the next couple hours. We still think chances are high for one more period of light accumulating snowfall late this afternoon and early this evening — for much of the region, but heaviest south of D.C. Travel conditions could go downhill some once again this evening.
12:15 p.m. — Snow picking up again west of and inside the Beltway
After mainly lighter and scattered snow during the early to midmorning, a band of steadier and heavier snow has developed along the I-66 corridor and moving east into the Beltway. A few bursts like this are possible through the afternoon, which could produce another 1 to 3 inches or so of snow, before we reach the end of meaningful accumulation this evening.
11:30 a.m. — Latest snow totals, and doggy multimedia!
Here are some relatively recent totals from the National Weather Service: Ballston (5.5″), Frederick (4.5″), Chantilly (7.1″), Potomac (6.5″), Fairfax (5.8″), Vienna (5.5″), Elkridge (5.2″), Mount Vernon (5.5″), Annandale (6.0″), Glenmont (6.2″), Manassas (5.1″), Annapolis (5.8″). And here are some doggy pics and a slow-motion video!
10:45 a.m. — Some roads improving as snow varies in intensity
Snow is mostly light and scattered across the area, and should continue that way into the early afternoon, with only minor additional accumulations during that time. Model data suggests the snow could get steadier again around 2 p.m. for a few hours, especially from D.C. toward points south and southeast. The lighter snow has allowed travel to improve on treated roads, with many of them just wet or a little slushy, although many side roads remain snow covered if they haven’t been plowed recently. If you go out, still drive with great caution, especially during times of steadier snow.
9:30 a.m. — More pictures while the snow pauses
As the snow pauses for a bit in and around the Beltway — we expect the situation to vary back and forth from spottier and lighter to occasionally steadier and heavier throughout the day — now is a good time to look at some more pictures of our first snow of 2019!
8:30 a.m. — How much more snow?
Time to take a look at what is considered the best model for short-term forecasting out to 12 hours or so: NOAA’s High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Model (HRRR). Below is the model’s simulated radar from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today. As low pressure continues to develop off the Virginia-North Carolina coast, the model tries keep precipitation going over the DMV through the day and into the evening, although note the model tends to be less skillful beyond eight hours or so. Because the immediate D.C. area is toward the northern edge of the system, there’s some uncertainty as to how light or heavy the snow will tend to be, thus the range of 3 to 6 inches additional snow on top of what we got last evening and overnight, with southern areas having the best chance of getting the higher end of the range.
7:55 a.m. — How about that heavier snow to the south?
Our 6:15 a.m. update discussed the idea of a heavier band of snow developing across the southern suburbs. That has happened to some degree, especially down into Southern Maryland. Although I would estimate that even down there, snow rates aren’t quite up to the one-inch-per-hour mark.
7:20 a.m. — Latest snow totals
These latest snow totals from the National Weather Service show the general 3-6 inches that has fallen across the area, with some lower amounts mixed in. Some reports are a few hours old, but overall this is representative of the snow we’ve seen thus far.
6:50 a.m. — Winter wonderland in the DMV!
All right, after that rather wonky last update, now it’s picture time!
6:15 a.m. — Heavier band of morning snow possible south of D.C.
Earlier this morning the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center highlighted an area including D.C., Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland for the risk of moderate to heavy snow falling at a rate of around or more than 1 inch per hour during the 6-10 a.m. time frame (see graphic below). This is due to a jet streak — an especially fast-moving part of the jet stream high up in the atmosphere — that may induce extra “lift” in the atmosphere and thus heavier snow. A quick 2 to 3 inches of snow is possible if and where this heavier band of snow develops, which seems more likely for the southern half of this zone, but could impact area as far north as D.C.'s southern suburbs.
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
10/10: It’s been a while, so time to enjoy some sweet Sunday snow.
Today: Snow continues, tapering late. Highs: Upper 20s to near 30.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy, lingering snow showers. Lows: 20s.
Tomorrow: Turning partly sunny. Highs: Low to mid-30s
View the current weather at The Washington Post headquarters.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Our first snow of 2019 is a significant one. And lucky for us, it’s a Sunday, so most can stay at home and enjoy the show comfortably. The snow continues at varying intensity through much of the day. As we head into the workweek, cold air remains, but some sun and moderating temperatures means our snow won’t stick around too long.
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Today (Sunday): Flakes continue to fly through much of the day, so you might as well relax and enjoy the coffee before heading out to shovel. We’ll continue to build on the several inches that fell last evening and overnight, with totals in the immediate metro area around 5-10 inches by evening, with up to around 12 inches possible in some spots mainly south of D.C. Temperatures are steady through the day, holding in the upper 20s to near 30. with winds from the northeast around 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Light snow showers and flurries could last into the overnight hours, but they’re mostly just fun to look at and shouldn’t add much more to snow totals. It’s a nice night to go stroll about the neighborhood and enjoy the snow we’ve waited so long for. Just be sure to bundle up. Overnight lows fall into the 20s with mostly cloudy skies and enough of a northerly breeze to be noticeable. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow (Monday): A few light snow showers may linger early before the sun starts to emerge, though it will take a while to do any melting of our snowpack, as a fresh shot of cold air limits highs to the low to mid-30s. Still, partly sunny skies should help melt the slushy spots off the roads by midday. Winds remain light and out of the north. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Skies continue to clear through the evening and overnight, allowing temperatures to dip into the low to mid-20s. Wet spots that developed in the afternoon sun may refreeze, so watch out for slick spots heading into the Tuesday morning commute. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
High pressure sets up across the Southeast U.S. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that helps moderate our temperatures a bit for our midweek. Mostly sunny skies boost temperatures into the mid-40s or so (well, the snow cover was nice while it lasted). Temperatures drop into the 20s again Tuesday night, which means a few slick spots still possible early Wednesday morning. Confidence: Medium