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The biggest snowstorm in nearly two years coated the Washington region in two to four inches Sunday before transitioning to an icy mix in the evening.

Freezing temperatures and occasional light mixed precipitation mean untreated roads and sidewalks are likely to be icy into Monday morning. A winter weather advisory is in effect.

The icy mix precipitation may end early Monday, but occasional snow showers may redevelop later Monday into Tuesday, especially in the District and to the north and northeast.

The latest developments
  • Through Sunday evening, snowfall totals in the region ranged from two to four inches, but snow was still falling in northern Maryland.
  • Little additional snow accumulation is anticipated Sunday night, but the icy mix may add a glaze of ice on top of the earlier snow.
  • The forecast for Monday into Tuesday is uncertain, but snow showers could bring another coating to two inches. The two-day storm totals are still expected to range from two to six inches, lower than the four to eight inches initially predicted.
1:08 a.m.
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An icy night ahead before chance of snow showers Monday and Tuesday

While precipitation will gradually taper off from south to north over the next few hours, freezing temperatures promise an icy night ahead.

Even after the steadier precipitation subsides, patchy freezing drizzle may linger, with spottier heavier mixed precipitation.

Already, where snow has changed to freezing rain, ice is glazing surfaces. Temperatures have fallen into the upper 20s to near 30 and may not budge a whole lot overnight.

Untreated roads and walkways will be quite slick into Monday morning.

What about the forecast for Monday and beyond?

Monday promises to be a blustery and unsettled day, with occasional mixed precipitation in the morning transitioning to scattered snow showers in the afternoon and evening. Highs hover between 30 and 35 degrees, with brisk winds from the north gusting to 25 to 30 mph at times. A little additional snow accumulation is possible, especially northeast of the District.

Widely scattered snow showers could continue through Monday night into early Tuesday.

Here’s the snowfall potential for Monday and Tuesday, stressing that predicted amounts are low confidence:

12:37 a.m.
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Here’s how much snow fell Sunday

While light snow and mixed precipitation are falling in the region and may add a bit more accumulation tonight, especially in northern Maryland, totals for the event so far generally range from two to four inches.

The overwhelming majority of reports within a one-county radius of Washington were in the 2.5- to three-inch range.

Reagan National Airport reported 2.1 inches, its heaviest snowfall since Feb. 20, 2019, when 2.6 inches fell. Dulles International Airport checked in with 2.7 inches, while Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport posted 2.3 inches.

These amounts of two to four inches were slightly below Capital Weather Gang’s forecast of three to five inches, but not a huge miss.

12:02 a.m.
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Winter storm warning downgraded to winter weather advisory

The National Weather Service has discontinued the winter storm warning for the immediate D.C. area and replaced it with a winter weather advisory. The advisory is in effect through 10 a.m. Monday for the possibility of a glaze of ice and perhaps a little more snow.

In northern Maryland, a winter storm warning remains in effect and was extended until 6 a.m. Tuesday. Here, in addition to a glaze of ice, the Weather Service calls for up to three to five inches of additional snowfall.

10:51 p.m.
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What to expect for Monday into Tuesday

While Philadelphia, New York and Boston get slammed with a major snowstorm on Monday, the Washington region will be on its southern fringe and may just get brushed with a little snow.

Washington’s far northern and northeastern suburbs, and especially areas around Baltimore and points north, have the best chance of new accumulation.

The forecast is particularly challenging because the position and strength of the coastal storm that will generate the snow is a moving target but is likely to be centered off the Delmarva coast or slightly north. The heaviest snow usually occurs northwest of the storm center, but sometimes snow bands can develop that pivot back to the south.

Some models show snow extending into the Washington region, mainly from Fairfax County north, at times Monday into Tuesday. Other models show spotty precipitation.

In other words, we cannot rule out some intermittent snow or snow showers tomorrow. In the morning, we do not expect a lot to be happening, although some spotty mixed precipitation or light snow are likely. The chance of precipitation will increase in the afternoon and evening. Some snow showers could even continue brushing the area into Tuesday as the coastal storm will be slow to depart.

If any steady snow bands develop, temperatures will probably cool enough for some accumulation. Overall confidence in the forecast is low.

10:05 p.m.
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‘That was wild’: Snowball fight draws crowd to the National Mall

Less than two weeks after the National Mall was fenced off for President Biden's inaugural ceremony, D.C. residents flocked to the space for a snowball fight. (The Washington Post)

Sandwiched between the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, more than 100 people hurled snowballs at one another Sunday afternoon.

“They’re charging!” one woman shouted, as lines of people, all in masks, ran toward the Capitol launching snowballs.

The group facing the monument seemed to duck and scurry in unison before bending down to the patchy grass, collecting piles of snow and hurling balls back in the other direction.

“That was wild,” one girl said.

“That was the most fun I’ve had in weeks,” her friend replied.

Maria Davila, 23, came from Springfield, Va., for the snowball fight after seeing the event advertised on Instagram.

She enjoyed the time outside, but what really made her stay was the opportunity to be around groups of people her age for the first time in months.

“It’s so refreshing to see a bunch of people gathered together after so long,” she said.

9:28 p.m.
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Snow brings joyful and beautiful scenes

People came to enjoy the snow on Jan. 31 in one of the nation's oldest national parks. (The Washington Post)

Snowfall totals may be lining up at the low end of estimates, but the two to three inches that has fallen in most areas has created a winter playground for the young and young at heart. It’s the most snow inside the Beltway in two years.

Here are some scenes from around the region:

9:14 p.m.
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Intermittent snow continues, some sleet mixing in to the south

Radar shows intermittent bursts of snow cycling from southwest to northeast through the immediate D.C. area. In between the bursts, the snow is very light and a bit icy as warmer air moving in at high altitudes is starting to partly melt the flakes, which then refreeze as they get closer to the ground.

In our south and southeastern areas, mainly south of the Beltway, snow has transitioned to sleet.

Not a lot of additional snow accumulation is anticipated today, probably less than an inch, so most areas will end up with the low end of the three- to five-inch forecast, and a few spots will see less than that.

We’ll have an update on the forecast for tomorrow shortly.

8:08 p.m.
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Steadier snow moves across D.C. region

After a few hours of intermittent light snow, steadier precipitation is moving across the Washington metro area. This should continue for the next several hours as the transfer of energy takes place from the low-pressure area over the Ohio Valley to a new one along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Another inch or so of snow is possible.

By early this evening we will start to see light mixed precipitation take over, with a glaze of ice possible tonight from Interstate 95 north and west, and some light rain southeast of there. Later tonight, precipitation may shut down altogether for a time before the possibility of more on Monday.

7:10 p.m.
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Snow totals so far range from 1 to more than 4 inches

The storm has brought about 1 to 4 inches across the Washington region, with the heaviest amounts to the southwest of the city, in general, and lighter amounts to the north.

Here are some of the latest snowfall observations:

  • Purcellville, Va.: 3 inches
  • Rosslyn, Va.: 1.6 inches
  • Dulles Airport, Va.: 2.3 inches
  • Reagan National Airport: 1.4 inches
  • National Arboretum: 0.8 inches
  • Dunkirk, Md.: 2 inches
  • Ellicott City, Md.: 1.3 inches
  • BWI Airport, Md.: 1.6 inches
  • Chantilly, Va.: 2 inches
  • Herndon, Va.: 2 inches
  • Culpeper, Va.: 4 inches
  • Monticello, Va.: 4.5 inches
  • North Staunton, Va.: 6 inches
5:54 p.m.
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Scenes from a snowy day in the nation’s capital

Though the snow isn’t amounting to a blockbuster storm in D.C., this is the first day with accumulating snow greater than an inch in about two years. Area residents have been out celebrating the storm.

Here are some scenes that Washington Post photographers have captured from around the metro region, with more snow on the way.

5:21 p.m.
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The Capitol grounds usually host sledders. The area is surrounded by security fences.

Snow in the District typically draws crowds to Capitol Hill, widely beheld as one of the best places in the city for sledding.

But visitors will meet seven-foot fencing topped with spools of wire, a security measure that has drawn ire from the city’s residents and its mayor. The complex has been closed since the Capitol was attacked Jan. 6.

House Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is calling on U.S. Capitol Police to allow sledding Sunday and into next week as snow continues to fall throughout the region. Norton said the wintertime activity can be done safely by permitting only children and adults accompanying children on the Capitol grounds.

“This could be the only snowstorm D.C. gets this winter and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton said in a statement. “Children and their parents should be able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.”

It has been a challenging year for children, and sledding “is the least we can allow,” Norton said. “Children across America have endured an extremely challenging year, and D.C. children, in particular, have not only endured the coronavirus pandemic but now the militarization of their city, with the hostile symbols of fences and barbed wire.”

“Sledding is a simple, childhood thrill,” she said.

5:12 p.m.
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As we hit a midday lull in part one of the storm, what about part two tomorrow?

As advertised earlier, we’ve hit a midday lull in the snow around the DMV. We expect lighter and more intermittent snow the next couple of hours, with snow likely to pick up again after 2 p.m. or so, which should push accumulation totals into at least the lower end of our forecast range for today (a general 3 to 5 inches is what we called for across the area).

Still looking for the snow to change to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from south to north around 4 to 8 p.m., with lighter and more intermittent sleet and freezing rain (north and west of D.C./I-95) and rain (from D.C./I-95 to the south and east) into the night.

So what about the prospects for the potential part two of the storm tomorrow, which we’ve said could bring a few more inches to some locations, but also could mostly fizzle? It all depends on when and where a new area of low pressure forms along the coast.

Our winter weather expert Wes Junker writes, “The models are still forecasting snow to redevelop across the region tomorrow, though they have walked back from the idea of a really intense snow band across the area. However, since there is still uncertainty of how quickly and where the coastal low will start strengthening, we still can’t rule out a narrow stronger band forming somewhere within the broader area of lighter snow."

We think areas north and northeast of D.C. have the best chance of picking up meaningful snow accumulation tomorrow afternoon into the evening, but it’s still a somewhat low-confidence forecast.

Stay tuned as we’ll be watching model data throughout the day and updating our forecast.

4:38 p.m.
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Slick roads and snowball fights in and around Washington

The Washington region awoke to a blanket of snow Sunday during what forecasters predicted would be the region’s biggest snowstorm in two years.

With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees and roads icing up, police asked residents to stay home, or drive and walk with caution. Many highways appeared to be plowed and pretreated, but snow was piling up on major arterials and side roads, according to traffic cameras.

Snow lovers delighted in the chance to — finally — have some fun in the flakes. The Washington D.C. Snowball Fight Association was organizing a 3 p.m. snowball fight on the Mall near the Smithsonian Castle.

4:19 p.m.
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Snow to let up a bit midday, before possibly increasing again

Snow continues to gradually accumulate across the region with reported totals ranging from around one to two inches in the immediate Washington area, closer to three inches in parts of Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier and Stafford counties. We should see the snow let up a bit as we get into the midday hours, before possibly picking up again mid-to-late afternoon.