From the ABC 7 Weather team

Heavy snow not likely for Sunday

February 17, 2012 - 02:47 PM
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Are we finally going to get snowmageddon? Check here for the latest.

Another day has gone by and it still appears that a storm will affect the east coast on Sunday. There are still numerous questions as to the strength and exact track this system will take but here are some of my thoughts as of Friday afternoon.

The D.C. Metro area shouldn’t expect a heavy snow storm. I say this for many reasons which I am more than happy to outline. The first and primary reason is the storm is a fast mover and will move off the east coast and into the ocean rather quickly. This will only allow for a couple of hours of precipitation. Precipitation amounts also appear like they will be light with only a quarter to a half of an inch of liquid. If this is the case, which is not set in stone, if it all falls as snow, then a 10:1 snow ratio would only give 2.5 to 5 inches maximum. Not a big storm.

Further delving into the reality that a heavy snow storm is unlikely, the forecast track of the low is unfavorable for heavy snow as it does not intensify and curve up the coast towards the northeast. Usually when that happens it brings heavier snowfall for a longer duration. Finally there is the whole question about the models. Each does show a storm developing in Texas, moving along the Gulf and eventually off the east coast. A number have now been trending farther to the south with some even showing no precipitation at all for the D.C. area.

Sunday evening forecast of 6 hour precip and MSLP

Does this mean no snow appears likely at all with this system? Not at all. With the trend to the south, the chance for snow will go with it as Central Virginia may be in for a more favorable area for some measureable snow. In the D.C. area, Southern Maryland may actually be in the most favorable location to see snow. I still think the heaviest snowfall from this system will be possible in Southwestern Virginia over the mountains and southeastern West Virginia. I think some locations there may get a half of a foot or more.

So what will the D.C. area see? Sunday will be cloudy and chilly to start with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. We are anticipating light precipitation in the form of snow to begin in the late morning hours and continuing through the evening before ending after sunset. Only light accumulations are likely for the D.C. Metro. Our best guess is a trace to a couple inches. Higher snowfall accumulations may be possible along the I-64 corridor from Staunton to Fredericksburg and in the mountains of West Virginia. A Winter Storm Watch has been put in effect for counties to the south and west of D.C. beginning Sunday morning.

Our latest snow predictions in and around D.C.

We are expecting a few changes to occur in the forecast by tomorrow morning and will continue to keep you updated through our updates on ABC 7 and News Channel 8 as well as WTOP Radio. Chris Naille and Doug Hill will both be on WTOP tomorrow morning with the latest forecast and Dave Zahren will be in the studio tomorrow morning with the latest updates to the forecast.

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