From the ABC 7 Weather team

D.C. Weather Forecast: Winter Storm Warnings and Watches

March 5, 2013 - 07:55 AM
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Heavy, wet snow will develop late tonight. Tomorrow's morning and evening commutes will be unpleasant.

TODAY: Increasing cloudiness
Highs: 45°-50°
Wind: Bec. SE 5-10 mph

TONIGHT: Rain and snow to all snow overnight
Highs: 30°-34°
Wind: E 5-15 mph

TOMORROW: Wet snow, heavy at times. Windy.
Highs: Low to Mid 30s
Snow:  4-7" Metro area.....much more west of D.C. and Blue Ridge

Clouds will be increasing today in advance of what will become a major, late-winter snowstorm. Energy consolidating across the TN and OH Valleys will phase with the southern branch of the jet stream and a new storm will form along the mid-Atlantic coast near Virginia Beach. Because this storm will have to generate its own cold air, we do not expect a fine, fluffy snow but rather, a heavy wet snow with high water content. Because the nature of the snow, it will compact and may be hard to measure in places. So final accumulation measurements, after the storm, may not be very accurate.

Because the atmosphere is relatively warm, the precipitation will begin as rain or a mix of rain and snow later this evening. But as the new storm forms and deepens, colder air will change everything to snow. By sunrise, wet snow should be falling in most areas. The snow will be heavy at times through the day tomorrow and the winds will be very gusty. This will laden pines, spruce and other evergreens.Driving will be difficult, walking even more difficult.

How much snow will fall? Check on this site for updated maps and graphics because those forecast numbers will be finessed once the storm begins and new guidance becomes available. Right now we a forecasting 4"-7" in the metro Washington area. Lesser amounts east and southeast and substantially more snow west of Washington. The "jackpot" will be somewhere west of the Blue Ridge where 18" could fall in spots.

The snow will begin melting on Thursday not because of a dramatic warm up  just from the radiant  warmth of the ever increasing sun angle. I would bet that most snow in the metro area will be gone by Sunday.

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