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First flakes, frigid cold

Jason Samenow @ 1:40 AM

Falling snow, by Kevin AmbroseWhat a difference a 3,000 mile flight makes. When BWI's airport shuttle deposited me at the Long Term A lot at 8pm yesterday, the Golden Gate city's (where I had spent the week) sunny 65 degree days were a distant memory. Two of my car doors were frozen shut, half an inch of snow and ice was caked against the windshield, the wind howled, snow filled the air and the surface was a skating rink.

My usual 45 minute trip to NW DC from BWI took two hours. It took me one hour alone to drive from Columbia, Md to Laurel, Md on I-95. Numerous cars had spun out, traffic was bumper to bumper and cars were fish tailing all over the road. WTOP reported over 100 accidents across the area. Interestingly, conditions improved dramatically within about 7 miles of the beltway. And once I got on the beltway, the pavement was largely dry and the ground was bare.

It appears there was a sharp gradient in snowfall amounts. Between Laurel and Baltimore, I would guess most areas received at least 0.5". But inside the beltway, I would venture most areas just saw a dusting or so (maybe a bit more than that, but hard to measure due to the wind). Thanks to all of you who reported in with comments.

Among the highlights:
  • Thundersnow reported in Woodley Park, DC (Andrew) and in Columbia, Md (Dynagirl)
  • Six degree temperature drop in one minute in Prince William County, VA (PC)
  • Little or no snow on the ground in Montgomery Co., MD (JT, Havoc); a dusting in Reston (Kevin); 0.5" in Bowie(Bob); 0.25" in Fredericksburg (Chris); at least 0.5" in Prince William Co., VA (PC)
Here are official snowfall totals reported by the National Weather Service: Public Information Statement

Here's a news account from the Washington Post: Flurries and Blustery Cold Descend, Creating Hazards

As I wrap this post up at 1:20am, it's 13 degrees in NW Washington with a windchill of -6! Highs will only be in the mid 20s today with wind chills in the single digits. Bundle up! I will profile the rest of the week's forecast and re-assess White Christmas likelihoods in my next post.

Pictured: Snow falls in Reston, Virginia last night. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.

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