Another nor'easter to brush D.C., hammer Northeast on Wednesday

- After a mild and quiet February, March sure is coming in like a lion across the Northeast. Just days after a massive and powerful nor’easter brought hurricane-force wind gusts to the Washington, D.C. region and over a foot of snow for parts of the interior Northeast, yet another nor’easter is expected to hammer many of the same areas with a late-winter snowfall.

In the mountainous regions of West Virginia and the Maryland Panhandle, winter weather advisories are in effect as sleet and snow shower activity may bring several inches of accumulation to parts of the region with the highest elevations expected to see the most snowfall.

As the storm intensifies Wednesday morning, it will try to throw some precipitation back into our region. With enough cold air in place, the threat for sleet and snow is there for our region. 

As things stand now, models are in agreement that the immediate D.C. metro region is on the southern edge of this precipitation shield. This means it looks to be lighter locally, and therefore the threat for accumulations is less around the District. A spotty coating to an inch cannot be ruled out, but currently the more impactful totals are expected north of Baltimore during the morning and early afternoon hours of Wednesday, where winter storm watches are in effect. 

Local impacts will be entirely dependent on whether or not sleet or snow is able to fall moderately or heavy enough to cause visibility issues, or put down a quick coating faster than the ground can melt it. The first chance of snow mixing in with the showers came Tuesday night. Weather models are keeping this light enough that impacts should be limited, with any slick spots confined to the western highlands as well as the Maryland and Pennsylvania border. This should move out after midnight and there should be a break in the region where conditions are mostly dry during the overnight hours, which should help limit early commute impacts.

It’s during the mid-morning hours that the coastal storm system will begin to intensify off the Delmarva coastline. How rapidly it goes through this intensification process is what will control what we see here in the D.C. region. Currently, models are bringing some light rain perhaps mixing with some sleet or snow back into our area between 4-6 a.m. This is more favored to be snow the farther north you go, particularly north of the Baltimore region. 

As the storm continues to intensify, the precipitation will increase in intensity northwest of the storm. This is the important stage for us here in Washington. At this time, weather models are generally too far north with the deepening storm to throw the heavier snow back to D.C., instead favoring the area northeast of Baltimore for the zone of greatest accumulations during the late morning and early afternoon hours on Wednesday. 

For those with travel plans north, snow impacts will be highest Wednesday afternoon across portions of eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, eastern New York State and interior New England as the nor’easter really takes shape. Some of these locations are expected to pick up over a foot of snow. Widespread winter storm warnings are in effect covering a region from southeast Pennsylvania all the way to Maine. 

While winds will pick up on Wednesday as the storm intensifies, winds are not expected to get anywhere close to the levels seen last Friday.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued until 10 a.m. Wednesday in Montgomery, Frederick, Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll and Baltimore counties.

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