From the ABC 7 Weather team

More Winter Weather Headed Our Way for Sunday

February 27, 2015 - 05:43 PM
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The pattern persists with another weekend system that's expected to affect the region, but as opposed to last weekend where it snowed on Saturday, this storm is forecast into Sunday. There are some similarities, but also some notable differences with this system compared to this last one. A similar cold air mass is already in place with lows in the teens, and highs only in the 20s to near freezing, but that's even a bit above the air mass last weekend where we experienced record cold. This next storm track is also riding the "Southern Stream," located in Texas right now and will move closer to the region on Sunday but will set-up just west of the Mid-Atlantic instead of moving completely south of the region. The strength of the high pressure also associated with the cold air is also very strong which could influence the track of the system, and is of similar strength to this past significant snow event.

The overall picture to take away from this weekend's forecast is to plan ahead in taking care of errands or other tasks on Saturday rather than Sunday. The latest information points to mostly wintry precipitation on Sunday, before an eventual changeover to all rain overnight Sunday into early Monday morning.

Timing: Forecasts are showing precipitation entering the region as early as Sunday morning, and lasting all day. Right now in the Storm Watch 7 forecast department, we're holding off the onset to around midday in the immediate D.C. metro.

Precipitation Type: Possible snow at onset, then a melt layer that will change the snow to sleet, possibly changing to freezing rain by afternoon, then finally changing to all rain late Sunday into early Monday.

The Dirty Details

This winter system is still about 2 days away, and is currently located in Texas.

Satellite / Radar at 4PM Today

Forecasts are in pretty good agreement in moving in precipitation some time on Sunday:

12z NAM Forecast Courtesy: Weatherbell
12z GFS Forecast Courtesy: Weatherbell
12z ECMWF Forecast Courtesy: Weatherbell

The biggest forecast problems to resolve will be exactly what type of precipitation will occur, amounts, duration, and air temperatures closest to the ground. This is a graphic forecasting what could fall over the D.C. metro by late morning. If this forecast were to happen, then sleet would fall over the area.

NAM 12z Atmosphere Temperature Forecast

This graphic is a forecast by afternoon showing that freezing rain would be most likely to occur over the metro.

NAM 12z Atmosphere Temperature Forecast

Our Futurecast forecast shows possible snow at onset early Sunday morning.

Weather Central Futurecast Forecast

Later into the mid-morning hours, it depicts a mix of wintry precipitation that would most likely in this case be mainly sleet.

Weather Central Futurecast Forecast

Futurecast then shows the possible mix of wintry weather, that in this case would most likely be freezing rain, or ice that would build up on trees, power lines, your car, the sidewalk, and untreated roads.

Weather Central Futurecast Forecast

Summary: The overall picture is turning more towards a significant wintry event on Sunday that will impact travel conditions. Our advice at this point, is to plan on running errands or getting in activities on Saturday as Sunday is beginning to show the potential for a day that would be very difficult traveling on regional roads.

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More Snow for Another Morning Commute!

February 25, 2015 - 02:17 PM
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A major storm system tracking from the south will brush the D.C. region with some minor snow accumulation. However, timing is everything and this snow, like many others this season, will fall during the overnight and through the morning rush hour. Here is the latest:

An area of low pressure will track out of the Gulf of Mexico tonight and off the eastern coast of the Carolinas by tomorrow morning.

 

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Expect snow to spread through our region beginning late tonight through central Virginia and continuing to move northward through the overnight. Temperatures overnight are forecast to drop anywhere from the mid teens to the mid-20s so any snow that we get will immediately stick to the ground, making overnight travel slick in a lot of the region.

Considering this storm system will track south of the region, most of the heaviest snow accumulation will be south of the D.C. metro area. Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the region beginning tonight and continuing through the first part of tomorrow.

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The impact will absolutely be greater south so if your travels take you south of the D.C. metro area, past Richmond and even Charlottesville on Thursday, stay alert:

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Winter Weather Advisories and Warnings for the Southern United States.

Again, we are looking at significant totals the farther south you head. However, even with minimal totals around the D.C. area, the timing of this will have this biggest impact. This is the current thinking for area snow totals as of Wednesday afternoon:

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I do believe there will be some delays and even closings tomorrow. Snow will continue through the morning commute and taper off through the day. Temperatures will only make it to near 30 degrees on Thursday so there may even be slick spots for the evening commute.


The StormWatch7 team will continue to update you with any changes but this is the current thinking. Just plan ahead for the morning commute and travel safely. Also be advised that we are stepping closer to Spring each day-Daylight Savings Time begins next Sunday, March 8th!

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Stay Alert: Possible Snow on Thursday Morning

February 24, 2015 - 02:49 PM
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Old Man Winter is really getting it all in as we truck along this February. After a relatively quiet season, winter has perked up during this month and this Thursday morning is no exception.

We are keeping our eyes peeled for some snow possible during the Thursday morning commute. Monday, it seemed like this system was going to stay far enough south that it would only brush our southern tier counties with some light snow showers/flurries. Now, the system has inched northward, making snow more likely across the region.

An area of low pressure will track from the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and head northeast. It will eventually scoot off the southeastern seaboard on Thursday.

ZZZZZCaption: Euro model showing the area of low pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night. Courtesy of Weatherbell.
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Caption: GFS model showing the area of low pressure moving off the coast overnight Wednesday into Thursday spreading snow northward through Virginia. Courtesy of Weatherbell.

It will certainly be cold enough for snow. Although temperatures are forecast to be above freezing on Wednesday (nearing 40 degrees), temperatures will fall overnight Wednesday into Thursday and only rise to near the 30 degree mark on Thursday.

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Caption: With temperatures values on the left hand side (ranging from -10 to 50 degrees) the output from various models (different color lines) shows that temperatures will stay mostly below the 30 degree mark on Thursday. The black line the mean taken from all the data displayed. Courtesy of Storm Prediction Center.

While it is too early to talk about snow totals, the impact with just even a minimal amount of snow could and will create hazardous driving conditions on Thursday morning. Considering this is a southerly storm, areas south of D.C. have a better chance of receiving accumulating snow. Once again, this is something we will need to monitor as the track of the low could shift over the next 24 hours, changing our forecast.

At this time, the Weather Prediction Center gives the D.C. metro area about a 30% chance of receiving an inch or more of snow while Fredericksburg has about a 40% chance. Again, the farther south you travel, the better chance you will have to encounter snow.

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With road temperatures still on the cold side, this will stick quickly. This is just a heads up however; we will continue to update you through Wednesday on any changes in the forecast. Just keep thinking spring…only 24 days away.

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D.C. snowstorm Saturday

February 21, 2015 - 01:26 PM
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LIVE DOPPLER  |  TEMPERATURES  |  WARNINGS & ADVISORIES

9:39pm: The changeover to rain across the area is almost complete. But many parts of the region still have surface temperatures below freezing. This means the rain is freezing on contact when it falls .And now you have a real-time description of what freezing rain is.

During the balance of the night, at different rates, at different times, in different areas, surface temperatures will rise above freezing and that trend will continue through the day tomorrow. But until all areas are several degrees above freezing, icy roads, sidewalks and parking lots will continue to be a major impediment to drivers and pedestrians.

Conditions will be much improved by sunrise when temperatures will be above freezing across the entire region. So until then, our advice is simple. Unless you absolutely must venture out…stay off the roads tonight. And as an unwelcome bonus, many areas will be dealing with areas of fog overnight, as well.

5:42pm: It appears the transition has occurred for the majority of the region with sleet and freezing rain now mixing in with the snow. At this time, some locations are still seeing snow but as we head into the next few hours, more sleet and freezing rain is expected.

Some of the latest guidance (which I'm not even sure why I'm bringing up since it's been pretty terrible today) is thinking temperatures will get closer to freezing by 9pm or 10pm. It has reached the mid to upper 20s in D.C. and the 30 degree mark in the far southern parts of the viewing area. At this point I think guidance isn't too far off and temperatures should make the freezing mark prior to midnight.

By tomorrow morning, temperatures should be in the mid to upper 30s and rise into the 40s by lunch time. Highs Sunday should still reach the low to mid 40s.

5:03pm: We are finally getting some reports of a change to sleet in areas such as Winchester, Bristow in Virginia and a change to freezing rain in Southern Maryland.

Most areas west of I-95 have recorded snowfall totals around 6 inches or more. Here is the latest preliminary snowfall totals list from NWS Sterling.

4:11pm: Snow is continuing to be the primary form of precipitation and should continue to be so over the next few hours. We're expecting the transition to sleet and freezing rain closer to 7pm now, and a transition to rain will happen closer to 9pm or later. 

Surface temperatures have reached the mid 20s around D.C. and have pushed closer to the 30 degree mark south of D.C. near Fredericksburg and Southern Maryland. St. Mary's County in MD has already seen a transition to sleet and areas in the Northern Neck.

This transition should slowly but surely move north into the D.C. area over the next few hours. We'll be keeping a close eye on temperatures!

For some of the latest snowfall totals, see the NWS Sterling, VA Public Information Statement here.

 

Some of the latest snowfall reports

2:20pm: Meteorologist Steve Rudin and myself just took a stroll outside to make a quick facebook video post. You can find it here.

1:55pm: Areas of heavy snow continue along and just west of I-95. Locations in western Fauquier and Loudoun Counties are experiencing a lull in the precipitation.

The heaviest snowfall currently extends from Culpeper north to Prince William, Fairfax and Montgomery Counties.

1:36pm:  Roads across the D.C. area are snow covered with the worst conditions north and west of the city. I recently talked to Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill who said he hasn't even seen a flake of snow in Southern Maryland, so this will be a very sharp cut off of a storm!

Below is a look at I-66 east around 11am. Conditions have deteriorated quickly.

MD Road Cameras

VA Road Cameras

This was a look at eastbound I-66 near East Falls Church Metro at 11am

1:30pm:  Areas of snow will continue to fall over the next few hours before changing over to sleet and freezing rain we think around 4-7pm. Currently, temperatures are getting into the upper 20s and low 30s south and east of town, where little to possibly even no snow is possible in Southern Maryland.

Areas north and west of D.C. have already received 3 to 4 inches of snow and will continue to see additional accumulations through the afternoon.

Latest Snowfall Accumulations

 

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Snow, Ice, and Freezing Rain Saturday

February 21, 2015 - 08:00 AM
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LIVE DOPPLER RADAR  |  HD CAMERAS  |  CURRENT TEMPS

Snow is already beginning to enter the western parts of the region, with reports of it sticking to the roadways as of 8:30am in Winchester, VA and points west along the Shenandoah Valley. Snow will continue to move to the east into the immediate D.C. Metro area later this morning. Snow appears to be the predominant precipitation type through the afternoon, until milder air filters in overhead and changes the type to sleet and eventually freezing rain.

Winter Storm Warnings are in effect until Sunday morning for Montgomery and Loudoun Counties and points west. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for D.C. and Fairfax and points south and east. The higher snowfall totals will be likely in the warned areas.

Current Warnings and Advisories

Taking a look at our local futurecast below, the expectation continues to be a changeover to sleet and freezing rain as warmer air moves in overhead. As you can see in the image below, surface temperatures should still be in the 20s late this afternoon, so anything that falls will still be either frozen in the form of sleet or will freeze on contact with surfaces in the form of freezing rain.

Temperatures should finally move above freezing after sunset, probably closer to 9 or 10pm. By that time, rain is expected to take over and continue through Sunday morning. Temperatures should continue to rise through the overnight hours and into Sunday. Highs Sunday should top the 40 degree mark, hopefully helping melt the ice and at least some of the accumulated snow.


Below is a look at our snowfall forecast from yesterday. Looking at some of the latest guidance, we think this map still works but there is the potential for an additional inch or two in the western 3-6" band, and an additional inch in the 1-3" band around D.C.

This is one of those occasions where we don't really want to stress snowfall totals, as it will be the effects that really matter. Snow will start, but we are equally as worried about the change to sleet and freezing rain. Depending on how long the freezing rain lasts, there could be a coating of ice on top of everything later this evening into tonight.

Our main recommendation would be to NOT TRAVEL this afternoon into tonight if at all possible.


The StormWatch7 weather team will be here throughout the day with the latest updates. Please be sure to send us any pictures or video and we'll be sure to share it!

Follow the team on Twitter!

@DougHillABC7  |  @EileenABC7  |  @alexliggitt  @LaurynRicketts

@SteveRudinABC7  |  @ABC7Brian  |  @DevonLucie  |  @JacquiJeras

@MetMattRitter

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Record Cold Temps Likely Broken and Dangerous Wind Chills Tonight!

February 19, 2015 - 08:47 AM
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There's no sugar coating it; it is mighty cold. The arctic air is here and it gets worse before it gets better. Today actually "looks" nice outside with nothing but sunshine this morning. But don't be fooled by appearances! A few clouds and flurries are possible this afternoon as the core of the cold air moves in. Temperatures will stay in the teens in the D.C. area today. But it will feel like -5 to +5 through much of the day. A wind chill advisory is in effect now through 10 a.m. on Friday. 

Wind Chill Advisory until 10 a.m. Friday

Tonight and early Friday will be the coldest time period. Wind chills will reach the double digits below zero as shown here on our Stormwatch7 Futurecast. 

Futurecast Wind Chills Friday Morning

Apparent temperatures that cold can be dangerous and cause frostbite and hypothermia. You can use our Stormwatch7 app to check the temperature and wind at your house. Then use this handy chart from the National Weather Service to calculate how long it will take to get frostbite. 

Wind Chill Chart

I expect it will take less than 30 minutes Friday morning. Make sure pets are indoors tonight and tomorrow morning. Also, please check on the kids at the bus stop to make sure they are picked up on time. I think there will be plenty of 2 hr delays Friday morning at least! Those buses have a hard time starting in these conditions. Records are likely to be broken as well. Here are the forecast low temperatures tomorrow. 

Caption

I think we will at least meet the record at Reagan National, but it is less likely at Dulles. Here are the record temperatures for February 20th.  

Records to Beat Friday

Winds will relax a bit by late Friday morning, and the feels like temperature will reach the teens in the afternoon. Check out this graphic stating if we stay below 20 today and tomorrow at Reagan National, Dulles, and BWI it will be the coldest two days in 20 years!! 

Coldest in 20 years?!

The cold is no fun, but we're going to try anyway! Eileen Whelan will be out with the Storm Chaser Friday morning with a bunch of items to freeze during Good Morning, Washington from 4:30 a.m. - 7 a.m. Ever wanted to know how long it will take to freeze a banana? Do you have an idea that she should try? Make sure you message her on her Facebook page here or on the WJLA Facebook page here. If you don't like this cold, the good news is that temperatures will warm up this weekend. The bad news is that another storm is heading our way. Still working out the details and timing, but I expect some snow and/or freezing rain on Saturday late to make for bad travel conditions. Temperatures should warm up overnight into Sunday to change it all to rain.  Highs on Sunday will top 40 degrees... free car wash to get rid of all of that salt! Stay tuned to the Stormwatch 7 Weather Team as there will be updates on the weekend forecast.

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The Snow Has Ended but Maybe More to Come?

February 17, 2015 - 06:13 AM
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The snow will continue to come to an end today as the area of low pressure that tracked to the south of us last night, moves out to sea, off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. We received a fine mist of snow, heavy at times, starting yesterday afternoon and continuing through the morning. While snow totals were slightly below what was anticipated, we still got the most snow we have seen yet this season.


Here are some snow totals so far (however, we are waiting for the final tallies to come in as some of these are from the early overnight hours).

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With the snowpack on the ground all across the region, temperatures today will only rise through the 20s. We will get some sunshine this afternoon but with that temperature not getting above freezing, we are not going to experience much melting. Of course there will be icy spots through the day and evening by tomorrow morning as temperatures fall into the teens once again tonight.


We will start with some sunshine on Wednesday but ANOTHER arctic cold front will slide through on Wednesday afternoon/evening. This will kick up winds slightly, bring temperatures down through the afternoon and also bring a chance for some snow showers/flurries. We will have to watch for a chance for some heavier lines of snow to form (think back to Saturday night), so of course this is something that we will have to monitor as the day moves on tomorrow. Also, since the temperatures will be below freezing during the afternoon, anything that falls will stick so there could be some hazardous travel by Wednesday’s evening commute.

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Caption: The StormWatch7 FutureCast shows snow moving through the region during the late Wednesday afternoon, into the early evening.

Arctic air will infiltrate our area once again on Thursday with temperatures not getting out of the teens! It will continue to be a little breezy on Thursday so wind chills once again will be right around zero for much of the day.

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Everything You Need To Know About Our Snow Storm

February 16, 2015 - 12:00 PM
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Finally! Snow lovers, your dream has come true. A system moving into the region will bring the best chances of snow that we have seen all this season. With cold, dry air in place, expect snow to start moving into the area this afternoon.

A Winter Storm Warning (pink) is in place for much of our area. This starts this afternoon/evening (depending on your location) and continues until noon on Tuesday. There is also a Winter Weather Advisory (purple) for Washington County, MD, Berkeley and Morgan Counties in West Virginia.

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An area of low pressure will track out of the Deep South today and into the Carolinas overnight bringing snow with it. That low will eventually track off the coast on Tuesday morning but not before it brings up some good snow totals.

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Caption: Area of low pressure will track out of Texas Monday morning and continue through Alabama on Monday night. It will then scoot off the coast of Virginia by Tuesday morning.


The snow will spread into the area from the WSW to the ENE through the afternoon and into the early evening (with areas north and east of D.C. the last to see the first flakes). Temperatures today are stuck in the teens to around 20 degrees, so we are definitely cold enough for some snow and good news is, we will not have the windy conditions that we have seen for past few days. That is great because we are expecting a pretty dry snow across the region and if we were to have gusty winds (which we will not-winds will be on the light side), the snow will be much lighter to blow around in turn, bringing visibilities down.

The snow to liquid ratio could be 15:1 or even higher through this event. That means this snow will be a dry snow with little liquid content. There will be lots of air pocket between the snow crystals as it accumulates making it fluff up even more. Unfortunately, this is not good snowball making snow.
Here is what we are expecting across the region:

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The heaviest snow will remain south of Quantico Marine Corp Base and south of Culpeper through Fredericksburg and beyond. The D.C. metro area, west to the Shenandoah Valley and continuing east to Annapolis could receive 5” to 8” of snow. Areas well north towards the Mason Dixon line will get more of a break with this storm, forecast to receive 3” – 5”.

Light snow will continue to move in through the second half of Monday with the heaviest snow falling overnight. The heaviest snow will move in through about 10p.m. tonight and continue about daybreak tomorrow morning. If you are commuting this afternoon, just know, there will be some light snow around.

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Everything will begin to taper off by early Tuesday morning and should all be out by mid-morning Tuesday. There could be a few light snow showers lingering on Tuesday but we are not expecting any additional accumulation with these. There could even be a little more sunshine by Tuesday afternoon! Temperatures on Tuesday will top out from the mid to upper 20s. We will have another arctic front move through on Wednesday, bringing some more snow showers with it.

 

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High-Impact Snow Eyes Washington

February 15, 2015 - 06:55 PM
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So far this winter, Washington has picked up 3.7 inches of snow, a far cry from the average seasonal snow to-date of 11.8 inches. Quickly, the 8 inch snow departure will get made up with an early week storm.

DC Snow Drought

Low pressure developing in the southern Plains on the heels of the Arctic front that moved through the region Saturday evening will move into the Mid-South Monday before quickly sliding into the Carolinas early Monday and then transitioning to the southeastern Virginia coast.

Typically, the heaviest snow falls in a 50-mile band about 150 miles northwest of the low pressure’s track. Therefore, the bull’s eye for heavy snow in the Mid-Atlantic will be up to Interstate 66 in northern Virginia.

Honing in on amounts, the liquid equivalent will likely be 0.50 inch. In a traditional sense, 0.50 inch would yield 5 inches of wet snow. Since the temperatures through the atmosphere will be very cold, the same liquid amount will yield a higher snow ratio. Instead of 10:1 (0.10 inch producing 1 inch of snow), the ratio will be closer to 20:1. Therefore, the same amount of liquid-equivalent will yield snowfall amounts in Washington of about 7 to 8”.The snow will, therefore, be dry and powdery in nature.

There are pros and cons with a dry snow. First, given the recent Arctic outbreak, surface temperatures are below freezing, so the snow will be able to stick to most roadways as soon as it begins. Even treated roads will be slippery in spots (near the shoulders and lane divides, especially).

Snow will likely begin a few hours prior to Midnight Tuesday and end during the morning rush. Since most accumulation will occur at night, there’s no benefit to solar radiation peeking through the clouds to help to warm roadways and provide an extra melting boost at the storm’s onset. This is another reason the snow will be a high-impact snow; it will cause slippery travel once it begins.

Snow Impacts

However, fluffy snow is easier to remove from driveways and sidewalks. Five to 8 inches of dry snow amounts to about one-fourth of the weight of 5 to 8 inches of wet snow. Therefore, while travel will become difficult, shoveling the snow will be a far easier process. Unlike the recent New England blizzard, winds will be lighter in the Metro area as the snow falls, so visibility won’t be limited by blowing and drifting.

Snow Impacts

Crews will be able to keep up with the snow and not have to worry about drifting quickly closing already cleared roads. Since the snow will be falling overnight, crews won’t have interference from the normal flow of travel to keep the roads cleared. However, the Tuesday commute will still be treacherous since most of the accumulation will have occurred by the time most folks head back to work following the holiday weekend.

Stay with ABC7 for the latest weather forecast and WTOP Radio for around-the-clock weather information.

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Dangerous Winds and Temperatures Headed Our Way

February 13, 2015 - 01:58 PM
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It is going to get dangerously cold around the region this weekend. Not only are we going to have some of the coldest temperatures we have seen in over a year across the region, but the bone chilling winds chills are going to be the main culprit in this big chill. So grab a loved one this Valentine’s Day weekend and hunker down inside because it is going to be brutally cold outside.

Today is almost a practice day because by the time we get to Sunday, it will feel a lot colder. Winds will continue to diminish as the time ticks away on this Friday. Clear skies today will continue into the evening with just a few clouds building in overnight. Temperatures tonight will still fall into the teens but winds will be light so there will be not much of a wind chill.

Saturday, winds will shift out of the south as high pressure scoots off the coast. That will push our temperature to around 40 degrees! There will be some sunshine to start but that will be short-lived as another arctic cold front approaches the area increasing the clouds cover across the region.

ZZZZZCaption: High pressure off the coast will bring temperatures to near 40 degrees by Saturday afternoon. Snow showers expected tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Expect some snow showers to move into the area through the afternoon and into the evening on Saturday. There could be some minor accumulation in spots, especially if we get a heavy band that sets up. We are thinking a coating to around 1” of snow accumulation possible around the area. However, if we get a heavy band that sets up, that could be a little more and any of the heavier accumulation looks to be north and west of D.C.

*Note: When I mention “north and west” of D.C. generally I am speaking of western Loudoun county, northwestern Montgomery county and continuing north and west of those areas*

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Caption: The Weather Prediction Center probability for 1.0” or more of snow. The district has a 10%-20% chance of see 1.0” or more of snow while those chances increase north and west of D.C.

So if you are headed out for any Valentine’s Day festivities, might want to keep an eye on our radar and the roads because there absolutely could be some slick spots out there with some minor snow accumulation.

Winds will increase through the afternoon turning from the south to the northwest as the front plows through the region. By Saturday night, winds will be gusting up to 50mph/60 mph in spots!

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Caption: High Wind Watch is in effect for the region from 6 p.m. Saturday evening until 12 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

With winds of this speed, we will certainly have to watch for the impact they may cause. This could be downed trees, possibly power lines leading to power outages. Also, it may make it tough to drive, especially high profile vehicles.

Temperatures will fall into the single digits and teens for overnight lows Saturday into Sunday. That means wind chills will be well below zero for much of the region.

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Caption: A wind chill watch is in effect for areas shaded in dark blue on Sunday from midnight until noon.

Wind chill readings in these watch area could be 20 to 30 degrees BELOW zero (especially higher elevations). These absolutely will lead to hypothermia and frost bite if you are outside for a prolonged period without the proper dress. Wind chills not in the watch area are still forecast to be below zero for much, if not all of Sunday.

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Caption: Forecast wind chill values on Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

For those who want to know how we calculate wind chills and frostbite times click here for more info. However, here is a chart you can use on your own to figure out.

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Sunshine will stay for Sunday but those winds aren’t going anywhere. Temperatures will only top out near 20 degrees in D.C. with most of the region staying in the teens. We could challenge some records on Sunday as well for air temperatures! The lowest daytime high on record in D.C. and BWI is 18 degrees, both set in 1943. The lowest daytime high at Dulles is 22 degrees set in 1979.

Winds will finally calm early Monday morning. President’s day is looking a lot better in terms of winds (they will be in the 5-10mph range) but it will still be chilly. Temperatures will stick in 20s with some sunshine to start and more clouds filling in later.

So enjoy this weekend but try not to spend too much time outside – which should give you an excuse to stay inside with your Valentine.

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Arctic cold push across D.C. late this week and into the weekend

February 9, 2015 - 02:20 PM
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Sunday tied a record high at 68 degrees at Reagan National Airport. Even with a wide range of temperatures with highs only in the mid 50s at BWI Marshall and near 60 degrees at Dulles Airport, it was still at least 15 degrees above average through the majority of the region.

Later this week will be a much different story. Two arctic cold fronts look to pay a visit this week. The first will cross into the region on Thursday, bringing with it gusty winds and a chance for a few snow showers or flurries by Thursday afternoon. Temperatures should still manage to reach the low 40s Thursday, but much colder air will filter in by Friday morning.

850mb temperatures showing much colder air filtering into the eastern half of the U.S. later this week

Currently, our thinking is Friday should only manage to reach the upper 20s under partly sunny skies. Winds will also be quite gusty leading to chills in the teens. Below is a look at the current thinking of the 12Z GFS model. It depicts high temperatures on Friday only in the mid 20s around D.C. and upper 20s south. Our current forecast is a few degrees warmer because of downsloping on the mountains coupled with plenty of sunshine.

Forecast maximum temperatures Friday per the 12Z GFS model (Courtesy: WeatherBELL Models)

The next area of low pressure and arctic push appears like it will be stronger. Saturday afternoon and evening, low pressure will move into the region. Cloudy skies can be expected the majority of the day Saturday and a few snow showers will be possible late in the day and into the overnight hours.

As the low intensifies off the east coast, strong northerly winds are expected to develop and cold air will again be pushed deep into the Mid Atlantic and Southeastern states. Even areas as far south as Florida will have the chance to experience morning temperatures around freezing.

Forecast maximum temperatures Sunday per the 12Z GFS model (Courtesy: WeatherBell Models)

High temperatures Sunday in the D.C. area shouldn't get out of the 20s and many locations may only reach the lower 20s. As this system is still multiple days out, there will certainly be some variation in the forecast. So be sure to stay tuned to ABC 7 News for all the latest updates.

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Five year anniversary of "Snowmageddon" blizzard

February 5, 2015 - 02:31 PM
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Five years ago, the D.C. area was being pummeled by a series of storms which dropped record snow over a 9-day period. The first of the storms happened on the 2nd and 3rd of the month, dropping a measly 3.3 inches of snow at Reagan National. The second storm which occurred on the 5th and 6th, ended up becoming a record blizzard and earned itself the name "snowmageddon."

February 5-6, 2010 Storm Snowfall Amount
Dulles International: 32.4 inches; two-day snowfall record
BWI Thurgood Marshall: 25.0 inches; two-day snowfall record
Reagan National Airport: 17.8 inches; second highest two-day snowfall record

The Feb. 5-6 blizzard dropped incredible amounts of snow in the area. From the National Weather Service Sterling, VA office,

"This was the first time (since snowfall records were kept in 1884) that Washington DC recorded two separate double digit snowfalls in the same month. The one week snowfall record for Washington DC was also bested with a total of 28.6”. The previous record was 28.0”, set in 1922 during the famed Knickerbocker Storm."

The two-day total of 17.8 inches at Reagan National Airport was less than one inch away from the 18.7 inches from the February 18-19, 1979 storm and not far behind the infamous “Knickerbocker” storm that dropped 26 inches in two days from February 12-13, 1899. At Dulles International, 32.4 inches wiped out the previous two-day storm record of 23.2 inches on January 7-8, 1996 while 25 inches at BWI Marshall barely beat out the two-day storm record of 24.4 inches.

Another blizzard on the 9th and 10th of the month dropped an additional foot to two feet of snow. The total for the month of February 2010 at Reagan National was 32.1 inches. Dulles International had a whopping 46.1 inches for the month while BWI Marshall recorded an incredible 50 inches with a snow depth of 34 inches right after the storm on the 11th.

(Thanks to ABC 7 Meteorologist Chad Merrill who helped contribute to this blog)

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Some Precipitation Headed Our Way - Could Impact Super Bowl Plans

January 31, 2015 - 10:32 AM
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“So here I go again with another typical D.C. winter storm. I’ve been through all the guidance I’ve ever known! Like a drifter, earlier I was lost about this storm. But I’ve made up my mind. I ain’t wasting your time. Here we go again…”

Okay, so a little Whitesnake change of lyrics to start of this post –hopefully to lighten the mood for those who really wanted snow for Superbowl Sunday (and I can’t take full credit for the witty lyrics above – the ingenious forecasters from NWS Boston gave me the idea). Either way, let’s get down to details about the next event headed our way for Sunday, shall we? Rain.
Yes, this is looking more and more like a rain event for the ABC7 viewing area. I will just go ahead and throw it out there now. However, it could start off as some winter weather.

The Surface Details

High pressure is in charge for your Saturday, eventually calming our winds and bringing us lots of sunshine and a very dry atmosphere. An area of low pressure will push out of Colorado today moving northeast. By Sunday, it will trek through the Ohio valley, eventually shooting off the east coast by Monday bringing a swath of precipitation with it.

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Caption: Low pressure will be in Missouri by 7a.m. on Sunday morning. By Sunday night it will be just north of Kentucky eventually moving through northern Virginia by Monday morning at 7 a.m.

On Thursday, the track of the low was more to the south of the region which would be a better scenario for all snow with cold air filtering in. However, this is not the case over the last two days. The track of the low continues to trend north and as the low pressure moves eastward, intensifying as it travels; warm air will be pulled into the region changing our precipitation to rain. In fact, the most of the region (if not all) will be in the warm sector Sunday overnight as the associated warm front lifts to the north. Eventually the cold front associated with the low will cross through the area on Monday morning, bringing colder air behind it. High pressure will then move quickly in from the Ohio Valley by Tuesday.

What To Expect

While we could start off with some bursts of snow on Sunday morning – mid morning, the bulk of the precip will hold off until Sunday late afternoon - evening. I am keeping the chance of snow showers on Sunday morning but I do worry about anything reaching the ground considering dry air from our high pressure moving off the coast (in other words, as precip falls through the atmosphere, it would evaporate before it hits the ground with dry air in place). However, if we can overcome that, then there could be some snow showers tomorrow morning and even some light accumulation in some spots considering how cold it has been.

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By Sunday afternoon/evening, the bulk of the precipitation will be moving in. I do expect a mixed bag of precipitation: snow to the north, a line of sleet with some spotty freezing rain and rain to the south. As we continue to pull warm air into the region through the overnight, the mixed bag of precip will eventually turn to a cold rain. The last of the area to see the changeover will be north and west of D.C., which means these are the likely areas to see some minor snow accumulations.

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Caption: Probability of snow accumulation of more or equal to 1.0” by 7 a.m. Monday morning.

We will hit our daytime high on Monday in the morning. Once the cold front passes, temperatures will begin to fall. We will have to watch for a chance for some freezing rain by early Monday morning, mainly north and west. I do believe the commute will be messy anyway with rain coming through and freezing rain will only of course add headaches.

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Caption: Best chance of some minor icing by 7 a.m. Monday morning will be along I-81 from Winchester to Hagerstown and I-70 from Frederick to Hagerstown.

The precip should be out of there by around lunch time on Monday however, if it lingers slightly longer, we could see a quick changeover to snow before it is all said and done. High pressure will quickly be moving in so most of the moisture feed should be cut off. With that being said, the incoming high pressure and the exiting low pressure will create a tight pressure gradient, kicking up winds Monday afternoon. Temperatures will drop and wind chills will be present, most likely in the 20s. After that, we will get some sunshine by Tuesday!

So sorry snow lovers, this doesn’t look like the store for us. However, we have to get through February AND March (remember St. Patrick’s Day snow storm last year?) so there are still some chances we could get snow, just not very much with this storm.

 

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Light precipitation expected Thursday for the evening commute

January 28, 2015 - 02:13 PM
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I’m going to start with the good news: Washington, D.C. gains two minutes of daylight on Wednesday! Finally, we have turned the page towards Spring…. Although yes, we are in the dead of winter and it feels like it today. Another piece of good news: I am going to write about some precipitation moving through the region on Thursday, but it looks LIGHT. However, it could impact the evening commute. We all know how one raindrop can affect the evening commute so I felt compelled it just mention it.

Winds will be light by Wednesday evening and clouds will begin to pile in overnight and through the day on Thursday. The first part of the day will remain dry while our next system moves out of the upper Midwest.

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Caption: Thursday morning an area of low pressure will move out of the Upper Midwest and into the Mid Atlantic.

The system will move southeastward into our region by late tomorrow afternoon and into the evening bringing some light precipitation with it. Temperatures are forecast to make it into the mid-30s to around 40 degrees on Thursday. So although observed temperatures and daytime highs will be above freezing by the time precipitation begins, road surface temperatures could remain below freezing, especially north and west of D.C. where some snow is still on the ground. Therefore, there could be some slick spots out there tomorrow evening and into the late evening.

We are expecting just some light snow and/or rain showers (some pockets of freezing rain) moving through the area during the evening commute and then zipping on out of there by the late evening hours. Again, you can see that just a little is going to fall across the region –so maybe a coating of snow possible in some areas with some light icy glaze in other parts.

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Caption: There is about a 5% chance (brown color) for more than 1.0” of snow to fall across most of our region with slightly better chances north and west of D.C.

After this, winds will pick up on Friday! We are talking wind gusts of up to 40 mph! That means with temperatures only in the 20s/30s, we are going to have wind chills in the teens for much of the day. High pressure will continue to build in on Saturday and by Sunday, we will be turning our attention to our next system that could bring us, once again, a mixed bag of precipitation Sunday night into Monday. Too early to get into details but if you are headed out for Superbowl Sunday, make sure you keep it here for the up-to-date forecast!

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Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Warning Monday

January 25, 2015 - 05:11 PM
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LIVE DOPPLER  |  WARNING/ADVISORY  |  HD WEATHERBUG CAMS

Check out here for the latest Virginia School Closings/Delays, Maryland School Closings/Delays and D.C. School Closings/Delays.

The Stormwatch 7 weather team has been working together a lot today trying to figure out the forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours. Our main thought is that this is a two-part system. The first being a clipper moving through the region tonight into Monday morning, and the second being the development of a coastal low which will take over tomorrow afternoon off the Delmarva and rapidly intensify as it moves into the northeast tomorrow night. Here is the latest.

The D.C. Metro is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 2am Monday morning through 6pm Monday evening. Areas of rain are already beginning to enter the western portions of the area and will continue to spread east overnight. Temperatures are still well above freezing and even eclipsed the 50 degree mark earlier today so will need to cool drastically overnight. Temperatures will cool into the 30s tonight into Monday morning, and rain will begin to change to snow late tonight closer to the Mason-Dixon line, and eventually to snow closer to the D.C. Metro tomorrow morning.

At this point, we think precipitation will change over to snow around the morning commute or towards the tail-end of the morning commute. Even IF precipitation changes over earlier, surface temperatures should still be just above freezing, so snow should be able to melt on contact with the roadways everywhere from eastern Loudoun, Montgomery and points east.

Locations that have seen colder air longer will have the chance for some accumulation on the roadways. Those regions include northern Loudoun and Montgomery Counties and points west. The highest likelihood will be in the warning area for Frederick Co. (VA), the Panhandle of WV and Washington Co. (MD) and points west.

The clipper's energy will transition to the coast Monday afternoon and light snow will continue to be possible throughout the day once it transitions from rain. The low is forecast to rapidly intensify off the east coast tomorrow evening into tomorrow night and race up the east coast.

When this happens, some heavier snow bands may be able to set up along and east of I-95 while the system is gaining strength off the coast. This will be the second part of the storm and another chance for disruptive snowfall in the D.C. Metro.

Currently, a Winter Storm Watch is posted along the Chesapeake Bay and points east Monday evening through Tuesday morning. There is a potential for 2-5 inches of snow in those areas along the Bay, with drastically more possible farther north and east along the Delmarva and into the northeast.

If the banding sets up a little farther west, the D.C. Metro or areas east including Charles, Prince Georges and north to Howard and Baltimore will have the potential for 2-5 inches of snow as well. Right now, there is a fair amount of uncertainty and we will have to follow the radar trends as the storm develops.

The D.C. Metro will have the potential for 1 to 3 inches of snow, with more north and west in some of the higher elevations as well as north to Baltimore and the Mason Dixon line. Regions south of D.C. such as Culpeper to Stafford and points south will have the chance for the least amount of snow from both portions of the storm.

This is a very difficult forecast and we will be doing our very best to keep you updated with the very latest information. Be sure to follow our facebook and twitter accounts and be sure to watch Eileen Whelan tonight on Newschannel 8 and ABC 7 News at 11pm. Jacqui Jeras will be live starting at 4am on ABC 7 News tomorrow morning and Newschannel 8 with Brian van de Graaff will start at 5am with the latest updates. Be prepared for delays, closings and travel disruptions through Tuesday morning.

 

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Winter Weather Moving In Sunday Night

January 24, 2015 - 08:54 PM
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One system moves out and yet another is on its heels.  An Alberta clipper is diving out of Canada and is currently over the northern Plains.  This clipper will continue it's trek southeastward and will bring snow to parts of our area by dinner time Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for northwestern parts of the ABC 7 viewing area from 9 PM Sunday through 9 PM Monday.  A winter storm watch is issued when 5", or more, of snow is possible.

Clouds will increase Sunday with a rain/snow mix beginning around dinner-time (6 PM) in our far northwestern zones.  As temperatures fall, precipitation will transition to all snow after midnight.  Snow will fill in across the rest of the area overnight Sunday.  Here's our in house computer simulation at 7 AM Monday.  Blue=snow.  Pink=mix. Green=rain.

Snow showers will greet you Monday morning with school closings and delays likely.  Good Morning Washington will begin at 4 AM Monday and will have all of that information. 

Temperatures will stay in the lower 30s Monday with light snow showers continuing throughout the day.  There is still inconsistency within the models, but at this time, I think our StormWatch 7 futurecast model has a good handle on preliminary snowfall totals.

The clipper will transition to a strong coastal storm and will be a major snow storm over the Northeast.  Strong NE winds will kick up Monday with the deepening area of low pressure.  That means some blowing snow showers Monday, which could result in reduced visibility.  Check out the 988 mb low, forecast by the GFS model, by 8 PM Monday.

WeatherBell Computer Models - 18z GFS

It's still uncertain the exact track of the low, which will have an impact on snowfall accumulations in the area.  You'll want to stay with the StormWatch7 weather team throughout the day Sunday for additional weather updates, as new information becomes available. 

Regardless, expect a snowy Monday morning commute with delays and closings likely. 

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A Series of Storms Headed Towards Us For the Weekend-Latest Details

January 23, 2015 - 12:43 PM
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Well here we go! A storm system that continues to approach us out of the southwest arrives this evening and will end by Saturday afternoon. A winter weather advisory (purple) is in effect this evening through tomorrow with the exception of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and the majority of Southern Maryland and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Winchester, VA, Morgan and Berkeley Counties in West Virginia and Washington County, MD.

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If your commute takes you to the southwest of the region tonight, you may want to try to scoot out a little on the early side given Friday traffic …and with added precipitation , we all know too well what kind of headaches that can cause. I wouldn’t be surprised if any sporting events (basketball, wrestling matches, etc) at area high schools are canceled given the going forecast, so please be prepared for that.

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We are looking at mainly rain to start as it moves in from the southwest to the northeast. There will be some snow mixed in and some pockets of wintry mix across the region as well. However, temperatures will still be relatively warm as the precipitation moves in. We will need to keep a constant eye on temperatures because of course, that will determine the type of precipitation as we move forward during the evening and late evening hours.

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Caption: Surface temperatures around 7 p.m. Friday evening. Notice all temperatures around the region are above freezing.

Rain showers, moderate to heavy at times, around D.C and areas south will continue through the overnight with snow and a mix to the north and west – that’s again where we can find the heaviest accumulation of snow.

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By the time daybreak comes around, we could see a changeover to snow for D.C. and areas north as temperatures drop to the lower 30s. There could be some sleet mixed in as well.

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When it’s all said and done we anticipate a trace to perhaps a slushy inch around the D.C. metro area with a few inches possible north and west of town.

I do believe travel will be impacted overnight into the first half of Saturday. Again, if your commute takes you anywhere north and west of D.C., that is where we are going to find the highest amounts of snow.
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All precipitation should be out of here as we go through the early afternoon hours on Saturday. Winds will pick up and we may even see some clearing as we continue into Saturday night. However, that will not last long. Our next system will be knocking on our door Sunday night into Monday morning.

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Caption: Sunday evening through Monday morning could see some rain change to snow with some snow accumulation on the ground by early Monday morning.


 

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Storm headed towards Washington D.C. right in time for the weekend

January 22, 2015 - 01:04 PM
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Welcome to winter. Finally it has arrived and finally we have something to talk about. A conveyor belt of systems are moving this way from different directions. Let’s take one at a time and first concentrate on the one Friday night into Saturday (the next after that will be Sunday night into Monday).

Most of the day Friday will turn out just fine. With a chilly start in store for Friday morning, we will start off with sunshine before clouds increase through the day. Temperatures on Friday will top out in the lower to mid 40s. While we are experiencing this in the D.C. region, a storm is getting organized moving through the deep South.

Thursday, a developing system moving out of the four-corners area and into the southern Plains is bringing lots of rain to Texas and eventually the deep South. On Friday, an area of low pressure will form along the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, eventually traveling north and east headed towards the Mid Atlantic.

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 Above Image Credit (Blacksburg NWS)

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Caption: Rain through the Deep South will eventually spawn a low off the VA coast as it moves towards the Mid Atlantic Friday.

As this low travels to the Mid Atlantic, it will eventually transfer its energy off the coast of Virginia Beach Saturday morning. In addition to that, there is a weak area of high pressure across the Mid Atlantic as well; therefore, we will have a feed of some relatively cold air filtering into the region but not arctic air and not a lot of it.

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As this low travels to the Mid Atlantic, it will eventually transfer its energy off the coast of Virginia Beach Saturday morning. In addition to that, there is a weak area of high pressure across the Mid Atlantic as well; therefore, we will have a feed of relatively cold air filtering into the region but not arctic air.

ZZZZZCaption: Area of low pressure off the coast of Virginia Saturday morning.

With all that being said, we can expect precipitation to move into the region late Friday evening moving from the Southwest to the North and East and moving out by Saturday afternoon. There are still some inconsistencies in models but the spread is decreasing with each run. We are still concerned about timing, track and the depth of cold air across the region.

It does look like we could see a mixed bag of precipitation ranging from snow, rain, freezing rain and sleet. We are not talking about big totals, but we are talking about enough precipitation to disrupt traffic through the area and areas north. This storm will eventually become a nor’easter as it travels up the eastern seaboard. Any bigger snow totals would of course be north and west of D.C. with more of a rain event for areas to the south, through central Virginia and southern Maryland. There is going to be a fine line with temperatures and the type of precipitation that will fall across any area. Just know to plan ahead and keep it here! We will continue to keep you updated.

After we get through this storm, we will have to watch for another clipper type system on Sunday night into Monday. Just fasten your seat belt, it could be a bumpy ride as we continue through the 2nd half of January.

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Another clipper headed for the D.C. area Wednesday (Update)

January 20, 2015 - 10:30 PM
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TUESDAY NIGHT FORECAST UPDATE

Temperatures have dropped into the upper 20s to lower 30s across the region late this evening and should pretty much hang here for the majority of the night. Low pressure associated with the clipper system is still over the Midwest but will reach the D.C. area by tomorrow.

Looking at some of the latest data, we're still expecting much of the same with light snow and even some rain beginning in the morning hours. At this point, I would only expect a few flurries in the early morning between 6am and 8am. The more steady and possibly even heavier precipitation appears like it will move through the region between 11am and 4pm.

Snow appears more likely north and west of D.C., with a mix of rain and snow closer to the Metro, and more rain than anything else south of D.C. Travel problems appear likely during this time, and schools may be delayed, cancelled or even let out early because of this. If not, it may be a mess on some of the area roadways during the early afternoon.

If you're working tomorrow and commuting anywhere north and west of D.C., remember travel problems will be likely for the afternoon and evening rush, so plan accordingly. We will of course be updating the forecast and following the system as it pushes through the region so will have updates on air throughout the day.

Road temperatures in and around the Metro will have a chance to warm so may be marginal at or near freezing. This could allow for some melting, but areas north of D.C. may not be as lucky and may possibly experience accumulations due to heavier snowfall rates.

Forecast temperatures Wednesday in D.C. (Courtesy: NWS)

With this system, temperatures will be around the freezing mark, so a mix between rain and snow will be likely. Current forecasts tonight even bump temperatures up a few degrees after sunrise which will help the road temperatures. Be sure to monitor road conditions at the links below.

Current Road Surface Temperatures in Maryland

Virginia Road Conditions and Cameras

As far as snowfall totals are concerned, we still think the heaviest accumulations will be north and west of D.C. where more cold air is available. Here is a look at our snowfall map.

Snowfall Forecast for Wednesday

The D.C. Metro will have the potential for up to an inch or so of snow. Areas north and west including northern Montgomery, Loudoun, the Panhandle of West Virginia to the Mason-Dixon will have the chance for 1 to 2 inches of snow. Areas closer to the Mason-Dixon will actually have a chance for 2 to 3 inches of snow, especially norther Frederick into Carroll and north of Baltimore and points east.

Winter Weather Advisory for the D.C. Metro and points north and west Wednesday

A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for the D.C. Metro and points north and west from 6am to 6pm tomorrow. Areas west of the Blue Ridge have the Advisory starting at 4am and continuing until 6pm. We will continue to have the very latest on ABC 7 News and NewsChannel 8 starting at 5am tomorrow.

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Chance for light snow or wintry mix Wednesday morning for the D.C. area

January 13, 2015 - 11:17 AM
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Latest guidance has changed some over the past 12 to 24 hours to start depicting a better chance for light snow or a light wintry mix across parts of the D.C. area.

The system appears to have the same timing as last week's clipper which crippled the morning commute in the D.C. Metro, but this time around, the best chance for measurable precipitation looks to be south and east of D.C.

Snow and Wintry Mix Potential

Above is a look at our first guess, with light snow possible from around 4am to lunch time in the D.C. Metro. Regions south and east of D.C. may experience a longer duration, with precipitation beginning earlier and ending later tomorrow afternoon.

We have a low to medium confidence in this system as this has been slow to show up in the models. With temperatures forecast to be in the 20s tomorrow morning, even light snow will have the potential to stick to the area roads and treatments may not have much of an effect.

Advisories and Winter Storm Watch south of D.C.

Currently, there aren't any advisories in the D.C. Metro area itself, but places south of Richmond east to the Tidewater and south into North Carolina have the potential for light to moderate icing. Some locations are forecasting an inch to two tenths of an inch of ice through the day tomorrow. It is our guess that these advisories will spread north this afternoon and we will update you if they do.

Our team doesn't want to take any risks with this system since the same modeling that handled the Clipper very well last week is depicting the same light snow scenario for tomorrow morning. With the timing, the cold air in place, and the light precipitation again expected, we don't want to see a repeat of last week, so please plan accordingly and if you need to be at work tomorrow be sure to allow for extra time to get to your destination.

The system itself is much different from the clipper that moved through last week. The forcing doesn't appear to be quite as strong, and upper-level dynamics don't look as favorable with a weaker jet, but the potential still exists.

As always, this will be an evolving weather system and we will be here throughout the day delivering the very latest information.

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