DC snow forecast: Winter storm to produce significant accumulations - The Washington Post

8:45 a.m. — Trouble on the roads

We're seeing increasing reports of very slow going on the roads and, in some areas, stopped traffic. We continue to advise folks to stay home for the next few hours as snow accumulates at a rapid clip on all surfaces.

8:25 a.m. — Snow falling heavily, roads snow-covered

The Washington region has seen a dramatic change in scene over the past hour as moderate to heavy snow is coating all surfaces, including roads. Many areas now have an inch or two on the ground and we should see several more inches fall over the next few hours.

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Temperatures in most spots have fallen to 31 or 32 degrees with the increase in snowfall intensity.

It's not only snowy but also windy. Reagan National Airport has clocked gusts from 25 to 30 mph in moderate to heavy snow in the past half hour with visibility down to one-quarter to one-half mile.

Your best bet for the next few hours? Stay off the roads.

7:40 a.m. — Snow becoming heavy, starting to stick to road surfaces

This storm is starting to hit its stride with snow increasing in intensity over the region. The snow is moderate inside the Beltway but heavy just to the south. Radar indicates some of the heaviest snow in the zone between Richmond and Fredericksburg, where it is likely falling at one to two inches per hour.

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We will see some of these heavy snowfall rates expand north - about as far as the Beltway - over the next couple of hours. Already, due to the increased snowfall clip, paved surfaces are starting to become covered in the District, northern Virginia and southern Maryland.

We've even had our first report of thundersnow in Southern Maryland, near Lusby. Thundersnow will be possible in the region, especially from the District south over the next few hours.

7:00 a.m. — Awaiting the heavier snow, arriving over next one to two hours

Light to moderate snow continues falling, mostly accumulating to grassy areas. Air and ground temperatures, from 32 to 34 degrees, are still a bit too high for much accumulation on paved surfaces.

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But over the next one to two hours, snowfall will increase in intensity from southwest to northeast causing temperatures to drop and this will result in deteriorating travel conditions and roads becoming snow-covered.

You can get a sense of what this storm is capable of by looking toward the southwest.

6:20 a.m. — Storm is just getting started; potential for very heavy snow and hazardous travel between 8 and 11 a.m.

A wet snow continues to fall with temperatures at or a little above freezing (most locations reporting 32-34 degrees). Most places have seen accumulation between a coating to an inch but mainly on grassy areas and car tops. Aside from a bit of slush, most pavements are still just wet.

But the really significant snow isn't expected to develop until after 7 a.m. We are particularly concerned about the potential for very heavy snow between about 8 and 11 a.m. Models show the potential for snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches in an hour. Snowfall of this intensity will making driving extremely difficult and hazardous. Paved surfaces will rapidly become snow-covered. We do not recommend travel during this time.

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5:45 a.m. — Snow has rapidly developed over last hour, accumulation forecast bumped up

Between about 3:30 and 5:00 a.m., many places in the immediate Washington region saw rain change to snow and it is snowing steadily across most of the region (there is still some rain in our far southern suburbs which should transition to snow shortly). The snow has begun to stick to grassy areas with even a bit of slush starting to build up on colder paved surfaces.

Conditions will rapidly deteriorate over the next few hours as snow continues and temperatures, currently 32 to 34 degrees, drop a few more degrees.

Based on the latest models and radar presentation, we bumped up snowfall totals one last time and now expect 4 to 8 inches in the immediate area and 5 to 10 inches just to the south by the time the snow ends this afternoon. Locally higher amounts cannot be ruled out. See our updated map below.

Original forecast from 5 a.m.

Today's daily digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

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5/10: The snow is pretty to look at but will inconvenience many.

Express forecast

  • Today: Heavy snow in the morning, tapering off in the afternoon. Highs: 30 to 35.
  • Tonight: Clearing and very cold. Lows: 16 to 24.
  • Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Highs: Near 35.
  • Forecast in detail

    Heavy snow is possible for a time this morning as a strong winter storm takes a nearly ideal track to paste the region. The snow may make travel difficult and hazardous, covering roads and dropping visibility to less than a quarter of a mile. We'll enjoy a couple of sunny but cold days in the storm's wake through midweek before another chance of snow, ice or rain Thursday night.

    Today (Monday): Snow, heavy at times, is expected this morning — some sleet could mix with the snow south and southeast of the District. This storm is a fast mover, so the snow should taper off by early to midafternoon in the immediate area and mid- to late afternoon in our eastern areas. Accumulation of 4 to 8 inches is most probable in the immediate area, but 5 to 10 inches could fall in our southern areas. Locally, heavier "boom" amounts are possible. Snow amounts will decrease quickly north of the Beltway and may cut off abruptly toward northern Maryland. Temperatures should spend much of the day in the upper 20s and low 30s, and it feels colder, with winds from the north at 10 to 20 mph gusting up to 25 to 35 mph. Confidence: Medium

    Tonight: Skies clear, and it's very cold. Lows are within a few degrees of 20 in most spots, with quite a few areas dipping into the teens. This will cause any slushy spots to refreeze overnight. Winds are light from the northwest. Confidence: Medium-High

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    Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest weather updates. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend …

    Tomorrow (Tuesday): For the first time in days, we'll see abundant sunshine. But it's a cold one, with highs only near 35 in most spots. Winds are light. Confidence: Medium-High

    Tomorrow night: Mostly clear and cold. Lows range from 15 to 20 in our colder areas to 20 to 25 downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

    A look ahead

    Temperatures return closer to normal on Wednesday and Thursday, with highs into the low 40s or so; lows Wednesday night range from 25 to 30. Skies both days are partly sunny for the most part before clouding over late Thursday. Confidence: Medium-High

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    Our next storm system approaches Thursday night, bringing a chance of snow, a wintry mix and/or rain. This doesn't look like a big storm, and the details are fuzzy, but it bears watching. Lows are probably around 30. It turns blustery and cold Friday, with highs in the 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

    The weekend starts off with a cold Saturday, with morning lows near 20 and afternoon highs in the 30s, but there should be at least partial sun. Increasing clouds and not as cold Saturday night into Sunday, with lows near 30 and afternoon highs 45 to 50 when there could be a few rain showers. 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.

    9/10 (↑): It's happening (Monday), and there's another chance Thursday night.

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