Find out what to expect in these 5 things you need to know for today's storm, courtesy of the FOX 5 weather team's own Mike Thomas:
1. The tricky winds of change…
As is always the case when it comes to snowfall, temperature is everything. Many of you started yet another day in the teens and single digits. Baltimore broke a record from 1885 this morning by falling to 2°!!!
This all means ground temperatures are very cold, so what initially falls will stick and could accumulate quickly. However, a southerly wind brings some warming later on this afternoon. This will bring a change from all snow over to a period of sleet and freezing rain, eventually changing over to all rain after sunset this evening. This will cut down on accumulations for many, which brings us to our next point…
2. Balancing the snowpack.
The storm on Monday brought the heaviest snow accumulations down to the south and east of D.C. Today will be nearly the exact opposite, with the mountains and highlands to the north and west receiving the most (6-10" in some cases).
Here in the city, we once again find ourselves somewhere in the middle. Most inside the beltway should end up with somewhere between 1-3" of snow, but those suburbs to the northwest could see some higher totals creeping in (3-5"). North and west of the city, 3-6" is more favored as close as Montgomery, Howard, and Louden counties as well as the city of Baltimore where Winter Storm Warnings are in effect.
3. Do you want to build a snowman?
Yes, you can roll your eyes at the corny Frozen reference, but for those who enjoy the moldable snow, this afternoon should serve you much better than Monday did. With warmer air streaming in first at the upper atmosphere, the snow will have a heavier liquid content to it than the "snow dust" we received earlier this week.
This means better snow for snowballs, snowmen, snow forts, sledding, and any other creative creations your kids (or the inner kid in YOU) can come up with! However, you should get outside before 4 p.m. to enjoy it because it may not last…
4. Make it a movie night!
At the end of the day, warm air is not your friend if you like the snow. Models are showing that around 4 p.m. this afternoon the air in the upper levels of the atmosphere will be warm enough that our snow will change over to a period of sleet and freezing rain. Freezing rain means ice, and ice on top of snow means a nightmare for travel.
If you do not have to be on the roads today, we strongly suggest you avoid them. Hunker down this evening, catch up on your Oscar nominations, and by the late evening hours (7-9 p.m.) the wintry mess should change over to all rain. While not warm or wet enough to melt away all of the freshly fallen snow, it will at least be enough to compact much of it down and reduce totals by first light Sunday in D.C.
5. Warming up? Not so fast…
We've seen some record-setting cold in and around D.C. over the past few days. While temperatures will not approach the same levels that they were on Friday morning, yet another round of Arctic air will settle into the region on Monday. This will send many of us back into the teens and lower 20s to start the new work week.
With some melting on Sunday, there is the threat for a refreeze into your Monday morning so plan on watching out for slick spots and icy sidewalks. The good news? As far as winter weather goes, the upcoming week looks like a much quieter week for the region. However, models do suggest we need to keep our guard up as we get into next weekend.
Of course, your FOX 5 Weather Team will be here to get you through whatever winter has to offer. Stay safe and stay warm, and enjoy the #Fox5SnowDay weekend edition!