From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for category The Outside Story March 2015

Snow showers and flurries possible overnight into Tuesday AM

March 23, 2015 - 03:06 PM

Snow fell in parts of the Midwest this morning and will continue to move to the south and east this evening into tonight. Early tomorrow morning, the weak disturbance will move into the D.C. area bringing the chance for some light snow showers or flurries. Here's more on what you can expect.

The system is currently moving out of Indiana and into the Ohio Valley. Areas such as Chicago picked up 1 to 5 inches of snow but the disturbance will continue to move into areas of dry air as it moves south and west towards the Mid Atlantic. The dry air it will encounter will act as a hindrance, evaporating much of the snow before it makes to the surface.

Stormscan showing snow entering the Ohio Valley this afternoon

Clouds will increase tonight but you should begin to see some clouds increasing on the horizon at sunset. Skies will be cloudy overnight and snow showers will move into the Appalachian Mountains around midnight. It will take areas east of the mountains longer to saturate, so many locations across the D.C. area won't even see any snow, but locations north and west will saturate faster and will have the chance for some light snow.

Forecast low temperatures Tuesday morning

Temperatures will be below freezing in the outlying suburbs west of D.C. and near or slightly above freezing in the D.C. Metro. Road temperatures should stay above freezing for the most part but some locations west of the Blue Ridge may experience a dusting IF snow falls heavy enough. The best chance for this would be in Washington County, MD, the Panhandle of VA and into the Shenandoah Valley in VA on lesser traveled roadways.

Potential Snowfall Accumulations (On the grass!)

While this is strictly model output, I do think there is the potential for a dusting in a few spots north and west of D.C. Tuesday morning. This will not be a big deal for the morning rush hour but it will definitely be interesting to see after the Vernal Equinox!

Just to remind you, March 25th of 2014 featured 1.7 inches of snow at Reagan National and 3.8 inches of snow at Dulles Airport, so it could be worse.

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Update: Snow possible for the 1st day of spring

March 18, 2015 - 11:29 AM

The vernal equinox (i.e. spring) is Friday, so you would think we have seen the last of the wintry weather. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, that is not the case!

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for areas northwest (in purple) and a Winter Storm Warning (pink) for Washington, Morgan, and Alleganyy counties in MD and Berkeley county WV.  A winter weather advisory indicates light snowfall could impact road conditions.  A winter storm warning is issued when heavy snow is expected and will likely cause travel impacts.  Elevation will play a huge role in this system with the highest accumulations farther NW. 

NWS Watches

The moisture is creeping in from the south, as you can see from this surface map.


The system should arrive during the overnight hours Thursday into Friday morning. Temperatures will be above freezing, but the air is dry, and as the moisture begins to fall, there will be some cooling of the air mass and wintry precipitation.

In House Model 6AM simulation of Snow

At this point, the Stormwatch 7 team cannot promise that we will see accumulating snow in the immediate metro area, but it is not out of the question.  Here's the latest StormWatch7 team's thinking:

Latest model guidance suggests around an inch of snow around the beltway with several inches possible farther north and west. I think we are in luck though because the local roadways are mild, which is a good thing. That means that even with an inch of snow possible, the amount we can really actualize (how much can accumulate) on the ground is minimal. I predict a scenario where a light coating could develop in mainly grassy areas. This setup lends itself to being an elevation-dependent situation. Meaning those who are hilltops and ridges have a greater likelihood of a couple of inches of accumulation and the potential for snow to make for slippery roadways.

As warmer air overspreads through the day, we all change over to a cold rain before it finally tapers off Friday night. The question remains though what, if any impact this may have on the region and in particular for the morning rush.  So here are the key points for now and we urge you to check back here for updates as we get new information. 


 As always, stay with the StormWatch7 weather team for more!

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Daylight Saving Time Sunday morning

March 6, 2015 - 04:14 PM

It's that time of year again when you have to again wake up in the dark but at the same time experience a longer period of daylight in the evening. We enter Daylight Saving Time Sunday morning at 2am.

Sunrise on Saturday is at 6:32am and it sets at 6:07pm. Feel free to sleep in Sunday morning, as it will still be dark after 7am with sunrise at 7:31am. Personally I love having the extra hour of daylight in the evening hours instead with the sun setting Sunday at 7:08pm.

This is also a great time to change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. IAFF will thank me for passing that along!

Sunrise and Sunset times Saturday and Sunday

As far as adding daylight to the mix, D.C. will experience 11 hours and 35 minutes of daylight Saturday, but in just 11 days there will be 12 hours of daylight.

Looking ahead, there will be 12 hours and 36 minutes of daylight by March 31st and over 13 hours of daylight by April 10th. That should be enough to look forward to for a little while. Enjoy the milder weekend!

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Winter Weather Thursday in D.C.

March 5, 2015 - 04:30 AM


Please tweet pictures or reports to..

@AlexLiggitt @JacquiJeras  |  @LaurynRicketts  |  @EileenABC7

@ABC7Brian @SteveRudinABC7  |  @DevonLucie

6:43PM: The live blog is about wrapped up for the night. Accumulating snow has ended across the region, with record daily snows at Dulles and Reagan Airports.

Tonight, low temperatures will fall into the single digits in the suburbs to low teens inside the beltway. Anything that isn't shoveled will freeze solid by tomorrow morning. Highs tomorrow should approach the 30 degree mark but with mostly sunny skies and a higher March sun angle, there should still be plenty of melting.

Temperatures should move into the 40s Saturday and 50s Sunday. Have a good night, enjoy the snow and stay warm!

5:46PM: Snowfall totals across the area have mainly been in the 4" to 10" range, with the highest north and west of D.C.

Here is the latest snowfall report list from the National Weather Service

5:14PM: Snow will gradually end over the next hour with a few flurries remaining through the evening. Reagan National recorded 4.6" for the day breaking the record of 4.4" from 1888.

3:16PM: The back edge of the snow is beginning to show up on Live Doppler Radar along the I-81 corridor. Light snow or flurries may continue to persist there but should taper off over the next hour.

Snow should begin to taper in the D.C. Metro around 5pm and closer to the Bay by 6pm. Patches of flurries or light snow showers may be possible through the early evening.

2:41PM: Sorry for the hiatus! The back edge of the snow is finally starting to show up on our StormWatch 7 Super Doppler. The heaviest snow is now south and east of D.C. and will continue to be there through the remainder of the event.

That being said, there is still moderate to heavy snow in D.C.  I expect another few inches around the D.C. Metro before the snow ends closer to 5pm or 6pm this evening.

Roads have a lot of slush on them right now, which will more than likely freeze solid in many places overnight with lows in the single digits to low teens. Record lows are expected to be broken at Dulles Airport and BWI Airport tomorrow morning.

12:09PM: A mesoscale discussion for heavy snow was again issued for the D.C. area concerning heavy snow banding continuing to push through the Metro and eventually south through the evening hours. As areas to the south and east haven't experienced as much snow yet, they aren't out of the woods yet and measureable snow is still expected.

11:25AM: The heaviest snow bands remain just north and west of D.C. and appear like they will move into the D.C. Metro over the next hour. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible.

Snow still looks like it will come to an end closer to 5pm or 6pm this afternoon. Here is a link to the latest snowfall totals.

10:43 AM:  Heaviest snowfall shaded in green.  Snowfall rates of 1" an hour in these locations.  This includes you, in Leesburg, Great Falls, Poolesville, Gaithersburg, and Rockville.

Live Super Doppler

9:57AM: Please, please, please try to beat this picture... It's amazing.

Finley seems to be enjoying the snow today!

9:23AM: You can check out the area roadways at the sites below.


Maryland: Coordinated highways action response team

9:04AM: Sampling of current snowfall reports across the region...

Dulles Airport: 1.0"

Berryville, VA: 0.9"

Leesburg, VA: 0.5"

Herndon, VA: 0.7"

Inwood, WV: 2.0"

Columbia, MD: 0.7"

Hagerstown, MD: 0.7"

8:48AM: The Storm Prediction Center placed the D.C. area under a discussion which focuses on the likelihood for heavy snowfall this morning through the afternoon. Snowfall rates of an inch per hour or more will be possible through the day.

Please keep sending your pictures in via Facebook and Twitter!

7:58 AM:

66 eastbound at Markham. Sleet and snow mix- very slick!





7:49 AM:  Dulles Greenway snow covered and looking very slick in Ashburn - Loudoun county.  Thanks, Dave Johnson, for sending this!  Keep your pictures coming! #DMVSnow

Dave Johnson - Dulles Greenway - Ashburn, VA

7:32 AM:  Snow Emergency Plan in place for Howard, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties per MD State Highway Administration.  Roads are already snow covered in these areas.  Road and travel condition will only get worse over the next several hours.

MD State Highway Administration

7:15 AM update:

The rain to sleet to snow line is getting closer to D.C. metro area! Tune into for the latest radar!





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Plan Ahead for Slick Spots This Evening but Light and Widespread

March 3, 2015 - 11:31 AM



Not impressed. Yes, I can hear the keyboard typing with comments now but this is how the weather rolls in D.C. –once you think you nailed the forecast – things have to go ahead and change. We always have to keep an eye on the latest data because of this fact (and this is also why we wait just a little while longer to put out snow totals).

I’ll just come out and say it – although there will be slick spots out there this afternoon and tonight, anything we get will be fairly widespread and pretty light. We are really dry out there and temperatures are rising. The precipitation will be delayed slightly because it is evaporating before it even hits the ground. Considering it will take longer to moisten the atmosphere, temperatures will continue to rise.


I would still plan ahead for some light icing during the evening commute and use caution but I believe a good majority of the roads around the D.C. metro area and south will just be wet with some light rain. However, please watch for the regular spots – bridges, overpasses, underpasses and exit ramps for a better chance of some light glaze. (Don’t worry – the StormWatch7 team will continue to update through your evening commute to get your home safely).

Temperatures will rise overnight and we will have some spotty rain showers during the overnight hours. More scattered showers will move in through the day tomorrow as temperatures move on up to the lower 50s in spots! Rain could be heavy at times which could lead to some flooding around the region (rain plus melting of the existing snowpack).

We are still on point to see some snow/sleet move in on Wednesday after midnight as a cold front will unleash more arctic air upon us for Thursday. In fact, temperatures drop on Thursday from the 30s and into the 20s (winds will pick up as well making it feel like the teens and single digits). Any sleet will then turn to snow showers and those are forecast to hang around for much of the day on Thursday which means accumulating snow around the region. It is too early to push out snow totals so please don’t buy into the hype on the internet just yet (look how quickly things changed today). If I had to go out on a limb right now, I would count on delays and cancelations on Thursday as the way things look now. However, we will update you with snow totals early Wednesday morning with all the latest information!

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Another Round of Wintry Weather

March 2, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Alright March – stop it. This is where we should begin to look forward to spring: days are getting longer, next Sunday Daylight Saving Time begins, it is actually the begin of meteorological spring, etc. However, you give us one day this week that will feel like spring-wedged between days that we have winter weather activity. C’mon March!

This week will be a roller coaster ride so get ready. The forecast is subject to change (as always) but I want to give you an outline of what to expect. The reason for the change is that there are a lot of timing issues that we will have to watch. For example – how much ice could we accumulate on Tuesday evening before warm air takes over? That is an example of just one of the questions we have this week but bear with me and just keep an eye on the forecast. Here is what you can expect in the very least.

After some decent melting through the day on Monday as temperatures climb through the 40s, we will once again have some icy spots tonight with overnight lows forecast to drop into the teens and 20s. We will start off on the mostly clear side tonight with high pressure slipping east from the Midwest. However, clouds will be on the increase towards daybreak Tuesday.


A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from Tuesday morning through the evening hours across the D.C. area. This is to cover the potential for light icing through the day. It may actually start as a brief period of snow and sleet before changing to freezing rain.

Winter Weather Advisory in effect for the entire D.C. area Tuesday

The first half of Tuesday looks fine (besides some morning icy spots). Temperatures will move into the mid-30s through the day ahead of our next system. A warm front will slide in from the south and west through Tuesday night as high pressure scoots off the Mid Atlantic coast.


There will be plenty of clouds around and cold air in place at the surface. Precipitation will begin to fall from the southwest to the northeast after the lunch hour into the early afternoon. It looks to start off as maybe some snow but a quick transition to sleet and freezing rain.

Warm air will eventually filter in from the south and west but the question remains: when can that warm air win out at the surface? At that point, we will begin to see a transition to rain as temperatures actually go up Tuesday night into Wednesday. However, at this point, expect some icy accumulation for the evening commute on Tuesday.  


Probability of .01" or more of ice accumulation through 1a.m. Wednesday


This is the most spring like day we will experience this week. Temperatures will shoot into the 50s as the D.C. region will be in the warm sector. However, there will be some scattered rain showers around throughout the day. There could be a decent amount of rain coming down in areas so we will have to watch for potential localized flooding throughout the region as the snow pack that is left begins to melt. I do not expect widespread flooding but at least the potential for again, some more localized flooding.

River Flood Outlook


A strong cold front will then slowly move through the region and cold air will begin to move back in from the north and west. An area of low pressure will form and ride along the front after it sweeps through our region and sags to the south and east of the D.C. area. This will give us a chance of some wet snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

In fact, there could be some accumulating snow around by Thursday morning. Temperatures on Thursday will only rebound into the lower 30s, not far off from our overnight low on Wednesday night of around 30 degrees. Any snow will move out during the morning with arctic high pressure pushing in. Expect a breezy day on Thursday as winds pick up.

High pressure will stick around Friday and Saturday giving us sunshine and gradually warming temperatures. Plan ahead and keep it here for the latest forecast as we continue to tweak it! 

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