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**Significant Snowstorm on Track**

Josh Larson @ 12:00 AM

The moment Washington area snow-lovers have been waiting diligently for all season long appears to be at our doorstep. All the right ingredients are coming together for a major snowstorm for the DC metro area: we have plenty of cold air settling into the region via a cold High to our north, and a wave of low pressure coming out of the Tennessee Valley, drawing plenty of moisture with it from the Gulf, will spawn a secondary area of low pressure off the Carolinas by tomorrow afternoon.

The team has spent significant time analyzing the most recent atmospheric data and computer modeling, and we have relatively high confidence in calling for 4-6" of snow accumulating over the immediate DC metro area. (Note that the most that has fallen from a single snowstorm this season at National has been around 3" from a storm on January 22, and that a total of only 6.6" of snow has fallen this entire season.)

Overall storm assessment

Storm Impact:

Travelcast (for Thursday):

Schoolcast (for Thursday):

It appears that there will be enough cold air over the region tomorrow so that snow will be the predominant precipitation type, even over the nearby southeast suburbs - such as most of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. However, south and east of a line extending from extreme southern Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, sleet may mix in with the snow, allowing for lighter accumulations. On the converse, our typically colder NW suburbs have the best chance at seeing higher snowfall accumulations, perhaps approaching 8". Areas west of a line extending from western Montgomery County south and west through Harrisonburg, VA have the best chance at seeing the most snow from this storm.

Light snow will likely break out by dawn - from west to east - over the area. More moderate snow will develop by mid-morning, with the heaviest snow expected to fall from mid-morning through early to mid-afternoon; during this time, snowfall rates may reach or exceed one inch an hour. From mid-afternoon through early evening, expect periods of light to moderate snow to continue, with occasional light snow possibly lingering through the evening hours.

4am to 8am: light snow will break out from SW to NE
8am to 2pm: moderate to heavy snow
2pm to 6pm: light to moderate snow continues
6pm to 10pm: occasional light snow
after 10pm: occasional light snow or flurries


  • Retained ground heat from an increasingly high February sun might mean that snow may have difficulty sticking to some surfaces when it first falls; this may cut down on totals slightly.
  • The surface low that is forecast to develop may be weaker, faster, or further to our east than models are predicting; this would also likely cut down on snowfall totals.
  • However, recent model runs have, if anything, shown a stronger, slightly slower, and more inland surface low; if this trend continues, then we might be looking at higher snowfall totals.
  • Computer models have not handled snow storms for the DC area well this winter, and Mother Nature seems to love to throw tricks at our area over the winter.
NWS: 3-5" // Accuweather: 3-6" // Weather Channel: 5-8" // Channel 9: 4-8" // Channel 7: 3-6" // Channel 5: 3-6" // Channel 4: 3-6"

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