- About eight to 12 inches of snow has accumulated over more than 24 hours. This is the biggest snowfall in Washington since January 2016 (officially 9.8 inches at Reagan National Airport as of 7:50 p.m.).
- The storm is winding down and snow will taper off through midnight. Road conditions are bad and will probably stay that way into the Monday morning commute.
- The unofficial name for this storm is Snurlough — based on the recommendation of reader Phil Yabut. We’re tracking reports on social media with the hashtag #snurlough.
10 p.m. — Wrapping things up
With what will probably end up being 10 inches of snow at Reagan National Airport, this is the biggest storm in three years for Washington. If snow ends around midnight like we think it will, it will have lasted 32 hours. Snowfall totals were higher in the northern suburbs than we expected, certainly a boom, but of course we will break down the forecast and the final totals in a recap Monday.
The afternoon break in the snow threw everyone for a loop — many cars were cleaned off and sidewalks shoveled, only to be covered in four more inches of snow. Fortunately, all schools are closed and the Office of Personnel Management declared it a day off for nonessential personnel, so there will be time to fire up the snowblower yet again.
Thanks to everyone who sent their reports and photos on Twitter, Facebook and right here in the comments! We love hearing from you and chatting with you during the storm.
BWI Airport — 6.4 inches
National Airport — 9.8 inches (through 7:50 p.m.)
District NW — 9 inches
Takoma Park — 8 inches
College Park — 8.2 inches
Bethesda, Md. — 10.5 inches
Columbia, Md. — 12.9 inches
Annapolis, Md. — 7.7 inches
Washington Grove, Md. — 10.5 inches
Germantown, Md. — 12 inches
Silver Spring, Md. (Four Corners) — 11.2 inches
Wolf Trap, Va. — 10 inches
Ballston, Va. — 10 inches
Annandale, Va. — 8.1 inches
Chantilly, Va. — 10.2 inches
West Springfield, Va. — 8.5 inches
Marlton, Md. — 8.8 inches
Waldorf, Md. — 6.8 inches
8:15 p.m. — Epic snowball fight and some new snow totals
The Washington D.C. Snowball Fight Association (yep, that’s a real thing) hosted a brawl this afternoon on the Mall. More than 3,000 people replied to the event on Facebook and hundreds showed up at the Washington Monument around 1 p.m., said Dan Lawrence of Silver Spring, Md. It was cold, but people had a lot of fun, even though it was rough at times, “drawing blood from one guy when he was hit in the face with a snowball,” Lawrence said, but “he took it in stride.”
Kudos to the association, which even served pizza at the event.
Time to run down some snow totals, as we’ve had quite a bit over the past few hours. Some of these are from storm spotters in the National Weather Service network, some of these are from readers. We wanted to draw your attention to the new total we got from the airport — impressive!
National Airport — 9.8 inches (as of 7:50 p.m.)
Olney, Md. — 14 inches
Silver Spring, Md. (Four Corners) — 11.2 inches
Chantilly, Va. — 10 inches
Fairfax City, Va. — 9.4 inches
College Park, Md. — 8.2 inches
Langley Park, Md — 8 inches
Ellicott City — 7.5 inches
7:30 p.m. — Thundersnow reports
Even in its 27th hour, this storm continues to impress. Reports of thunder, snow and lightning in northern Montgomery County, Cleveland Park and Arlington. It’s coming down hard and the roads are bad across the region. Metrobus service was suspended as of about 6:45 p.m. due to the snow until further notice. We’ve seen enough photos of accidents and videos of cars stuck on slight inclines that at this point, we recommend everyone stay off the road unless you have an emergency.
New snow totals from the region’s airports should come in soon since they were measured at 7 p.m., and we hoped to include them in this update, but we will be looking out for them and post them as soon as they’re up!
5:55 p.m. — Some double digit totals seem inevitable with snow continuing
Steady snow has remained stationary over the region for the past couple of hours and may not start to fade until around 8 or 9 p.m., and totally end until between 10 p.m. and midnight. So snow will keep piling up.
The HRRR model’s simulated radar has done a really nice job predicting this last phase of the storm, and here is its latest prediction:
Considering many areas are already nearing double digit snowfall totals, we expect this last batch may push them over the top.
5:20 p.m. — Totals of 7 to 9 inches becoming common, as snow continues
Some of the highest snowfall amounts from this storm in the Mid-Atlantic have focused right around the Beltway and just to the south. Since around 3 p.m., many places have picked up another inch or two, pushing totals into the seven- to nine-inch range. Some select recent totals:
- Chantilly, Va. — 9 inches
- College Park, Md. — 8 inches
- Bethesda, Md. — 8 inches
- Vienna, Va. — 8 inches
- Annandale, Va. — 8 inches
- Tenleytown (Washington) — 8 inches
- National Zoo — 7 inches
4:40 p.m. — Moderate, accumulating snow pasting region
The trailing upper level disturbance behind the main storm system is producing a final round of accumulating snowfall over the region. The National Weather Service issued a special statement warning motorists of “hazardous road conditions” and quickly dropping visibilities.
It’s been snowing for over 24 hours now and, in some areas, this is the heaviest it has come down.
Main roads which had been treated earlier today and swept clean are once again snow covered. Do not venture out if you don’t have to. These conditions could last for several more hours.
Forecast (written at 3:45 p.m.)
Most of us have about 4.5 to 7.5 inches of snow on the ground through 4 p.m., enough to make this the biggest snowstorm in Washington since the January blizzard of 2016. We aren’t completely done yet either.
Bands of light to moderate snow over the next few hours will drop an additional one to three inches before everything finally shuts off after midnight. All of us drop below freezing tonight, so everything will refreeze or stay frozen, making untreated surfaces slippery through Monday morning.
Through tonight: Light to moderate bands of snow will continue over the next few hours, with one to three inches of additional snow likely through about 8 or 9 p.m. Periodic light snow will continue until midnight, but little to no accumulation is expected. It should be mostly clear and cold overnight. Lows in the low to mid-20s in our colder spots and in the upper 20s downtown, with a north wind of 10 mph. Untreated surfaces will probably refreeze, creating slippery spots.
View the current weather at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Monday): Temperatures will start out below freezing everywhere, so expect slick untreated surfaces. It becomes mostly sunny, with continuing cold conditions. Highs will top out in the mid-30s with a light north wind at 5 mph. Partly cloudy and cold tomorrow night with lows in the low to mid-20s.
The start of a snowy pattern? At the risk of stoking unrealistic hype, model guidance is suggesting that it could be a cold and snowy end to January for the East Coast. After we’ve spent much of the last month with above-average temperatures, this weekend’s snowstorm could signal the start of a pattern change.
The next chance at a coastal winter storm comes exactly one week from now. Another moisture-laden, low-pressure system will track across the southeastern United States, probably redeveloping into a coastal low somewhere along the East Coast. There should be plenty of cold air around as well to ensure that this hypothetical storm would feature frozen precipitation.
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