The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Updated forecast: Light snow to taper off overnight but icy patches likely

Temperatures to drop through the 20s

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Radar courtesy MyRadar | © OpenStreetMap contributors

* Winter weather advisory for most of area into Saturday morning | Blizzard warning for Maryland-Delaware beaches *

Key points

  • Snow should taper off to flurries not long after midnight in the immediate area and in the predawn hours near the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Slick/icy spots on untreated surfaces will increase as temperatures drop through the 20s overnight.
  • Snow totals should end up near or below the low end of projections, generally half an inch to an inch in the immediate area and 1 to 3 inches closer to the bay and Southern Maryland.
Boston, Cape Cod and parts of Rhode Island are bracing for about two feet of snow and blizzard conditions over the course of Jan. 28 and 29. (Video: Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)


11:25 p.m. — While snow tapers off, temperatures to plunge overnight with icy areas increasing

Radar shows that snow has tapered off to mostly just flurries west of the Beltway, while it continues to snow gently to the east. The snow is a bit steadier toward Southern Maryland but you really need to cross the bay to get into the meaningful snow. It is currently ripping snow around Salisbury, Dover and Ocean City.

For most of the Washington area, expect little or no additional snow accumulation overnight even if some very light snow or flurries linger (especially in our eastern areas; parts of Southern Maryland could see another inch). But as temperatures drop through the 20s, beware of icy spots on both untreated roads and walkways.

As we look ahead to Saturday, expect very blustery conditions with high temperatures only in the mid-to-upper 20s with wind gusts to 40 mph.

This is our last update of the night. We’ll have a fresh forecast up at 5 a.m.

10:45 p.m. — Light snow tapering off in western areas, but may linger a while east

A very light, fine snow persists mainly along and east of Interstate 95 but is not amounting to much. The concern now is temperatures more than snow. Over the next few hours, temperatures between 30 and 32 degrees (except around 33 near downtown Washington) will dip into the 20s so wet areas may well freeze and untreated roads will become icy overnight.

Radar trends and short-term models suggest it may keep snowing very lightly in the immediate area for another two or three hours while it is already tapering off west of Fairfax and Montgomery counties. Snow may not end until the predawn hours in our eastern areas but any accumulation will be quite slow.

The National Weather Service recently released a list of snow reports through around 9 p.m. which generally shows totals between 0.5 and 1.0 inches, except 1 to 2 inches in Southern Maryland and just a trace at Reagan National Airport.

9:40 p.m. — Snow is generally very light but a little steadier toward the bay and Southern Maryland

While temperatures continue to slowly fall (most locations are now between 30 and 32 degrees, except around 33 in downtown Washington), the snow is so light in most spots accumulation is occurring at a snail’s pace. The exceptions are in Southern Maryland and a bit closer to the bay where the snow is falling at a somewhat faster clip.

Capital Weather Gang’s Wes Junker, in northern Calvert County, reports 2 inches has fallen at his house.

For snow lovers, short-term models (and radar trends) don’t offer much hope for areas along and west of Interstate 95 with only very light snow continuing for another few hours and not much more accumulation. Closer to the bay, light snow, possibly moderate at times, should continue into the predawn hours before tapering off. Another inch or so could fall there, especially in Southern Maryland.

8:30 p.m. — A game of a few degrees and a heavy snow band

Moderate snow continues over parts of southern Maryland and occasionally up the western shore of the bay toward Annapolis. The highest snowfall totals sent into the Weather Service in our local region so far are 2 inches, near Leonardtown and again near Oakville, both in St Marys County. One-inch reports are common from that region and to the east of the Beltway.

In the urban lowlands of Washington, temperatures are hovering near and just above freezing. Given the light snowfall rates, it looks mostly like it has been raining.

Inside the Beltway, several totals of about a half inch have now come in. It seems that once one is away from the Potomac lowlands and urban center, sticking hasn’t been much of a problem. That continues to be the case until snow winds down.

7:30 p.m. — Light snow continues into the early overnight

A light misty snow is falling in most of the area as we head through mid-evening. Reports remain few, as snow totals are small. In our part of northwest D.C., about half an inch has fallen, with sidewalks and roads increasingly icy in spots.

Through 7 p.m., Dulles International has reported 0.7 inches of snow. BWI has checked in with 0.1 inch. National Airport has reported snow all evening but has not yet checked in with a tally. It could be that its low elevation near the city has kept accumulation from occurring there.

Light snow is likely to keep falling locally through midnight, give or take an hour or so. It may linger a few hours longer than that to the east and quit an hour or two earlier north and west.

6:20 p.m. — Falling to and below freezing with light snow that’s heavier in southern Md.

Most of the area continues to see light snow as we head into mid-evening. A heavier snowband draped from south of La Plata to Chesapeake Beach to south of Annapolis is the main deal when it comes to anything past light snow locally. A recent report from that band indicated a total of 1.5 inches.

Given the progression so far, it would seem that places northwest of the heavier band are going to struggle to accumulate notable snow totals. Few measurements have arrived from spotters across the area, but those that have reported are mainly in the 0.25 inch to 0.50-inch range locally.

5:15 p.m. — Snow accumulation migrating from grass to sidewalks and roads

Temperatures have fallen to freezing or near there for much of the northern half of the area. With light snow falling, accumulation on roadways is likely as we get totally through the sunset period. To the southeast, slightly milder temperatures are battling with heavier snow bands and generally losing. Plan on travel to become difficult over the next few hours.

The whole area should continue to see light snow for the next few hours. With time, it’ll start to shrink south and east. It does appear that the highest totals in the area will be east of Interstate 95, given original forecast thoughts plus some radar analysis. Nonetheless, some occasionally moderate to heavy snow can develop near and west of the I-95 corridor through 8 p.m. or so.

4:10 p.m. — Snow increasing as temperatures edge downward closer to freezing

Steady, mostly light snow is continuing over most of the D.C. area with some more moderate bursts south of the Beltway. With temperatures above freezing, a slushy accumulation has mainly focused on grassy areas. However, over the past hour, many areas have seen temperatures drop a couple degrees with an increasing number of spots around 33 or 34. Toward dark, those will slip closer to 32 degrees as described below. Grassy areas will gradually become covered and gradually roadways will begin to turn slick. Between 10 p.m. and midnight, most locations will at or below 30 degrees.

Original article from 3:30 p.m.

Snow has developed across the area this afternoon. Given above-freezing temperatures, accumulation has been minimal or none and relegated to grassy spots so far. As we drift toward and through sunset, temperatures will continue to drop. At the same time, the coverage and intensity of snowfall is on the increase.

The map below shows that the Weather Service anticipates the whole area to be 32 degrees — freezing — or below by 6 p.m. Any heavier bands of snow can push temperatures down even quicker, and there will likely be some of those around through late evening. It’s probably a good night to hang out at home. Travel is likely to become problematic over the next several hours.

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Through tonight: Snow will continue through the evening. It should be occasionally moderate to briefly heavy as developing snow bands concentrate their fury. With temperatures falling to near freezing shortly after sunset, accumulation that starts on grassy surfaces will also affect roads more significantly. It’s likely that travel will be dangerous this evening and into the overnight. We advise skipping the trip unless absolutely necessary. By the time accumulating snow totally winds down late night and into the predawn, except lingering near the bay, about 2 to 3 inches seems a good bet near and east of Interstate 95.

Winds will kick up a good deal overnight. This is especially true near and after midnight. Sustained out of the northwest around 15 to 25 mph, gusts should top 40 mph at times. Given lows within a few degrees of 20, wind chills will probably be in the single digits by dawn.

View the current weather at The Washington Post.

Tomorrow (Saturday): Some snow showers may still be around in the morning, especially east of town and toward the bay. With a cold pocket aloft still moving away, clouds may fill the skies at times through the day. There could be a snow shower in the afternoon, as well. High temperatures in the mid- to upper 20s will feel at least 10 degrees colder, with northwest winds around 15 to 25 mph and gusts past 40 mph.

Sunday: Lots of sun. Coming off frigid lows in the range of 10 to 15 degrees, temperatures are unlikely to rise very high. Freezing seems like a good target for now. Winds should be a good deal lighter, and out of the west, around 10 mph.

See Camden Walker’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. For related traffic news, check out Gridlock.

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