Winter storm may threaten DC region as spring begins

- FOX 5's Mike Thomas was ready to declare winter over and move on to springtime after the early week storm missed our region just to the east and hammered New England for the third time in the first two weeks of March. It just has not been the winter snow lovers had hoped for in the D.C. region, with less than 4 inches of snow so far on the record for the District - and a number of very near misses. Despite Thomas' desire to push onward to springtime and the 70-degree weather we are all longing for, Old Man Winter is not done playing games with us just yet!

It has been a rough start to March here in the Washington, D.C. region. Despite the lack of snow, temperatures have remained very winter-like. Friday will mark a dozen straight days of below normal temperatures at Reagan National Airport, and a month that typically averages a dozen days above 60 degrees has yet to hit the mark once. Keep in mind, we hit the 80s in February this year! The reason for the lack of spring warmth is due to a feature known as an "atmospheric block” over Greenland. This feature helps create an atmospheric highway of sorts, for colder air to continue to spill into the eastern half of the United States even with the Spring Equinox arriving just after noon on Tuesday.

Weather

So with that, let's talk about this storm that could potentially be the fourth nor'easter of the month for the northeastern United States. This weekend, a strong storm system will make landfall on the west coast of the United States. This storm appears to be heading northward into Canada, but a strong area of high pressure across southern Canada will block its path. This will force the storm to take a more southern route across the country's midsection…and this is where things get very tricky!

The exact path of this storm will be key to whether or not we see any snowfall at all in our region. If the storm comes straight across the Midwest, the warmer air intruding out in front of the storm will likely cause it to be more of a rain event as opposed to a snow event for the immediate Washington, D.C. metro region. Similar to the last event, this scenario would mean better odds that interior portions of New England deal with yet another storm.

However, if the storm dips farther south and then turns up the coastline as it approaches our region, then we are looking at the potential for a sizable snow event for most of the region, particularly those that live northwest of town where colder temperatures would be more likely. Some of our more accurate weather computer models have been strongly hinting at it since Thursday afternoon, even showing the potential for more than a foot of snow in some areas. Now, a question I get a lot is "won't it be too warm for snow?” Again, this depends on the track of the storm. The farther south this storm tracks before it turns northward, the colder our temperatures will be as the storm will pull some colder air southward. So, just like the track of the storm itself will certainly change over the next few days, expect temperatures to change as well.

Weather

Currently, the timing for this event would be around the Tuesday or Wednesday time period of next week. That is essentially five or six days away, which means another five or six days where things can - and probably will - change in the weather modeling. If every single winter storm that showed up on our weather models five or six days into the forecast period actually hit us, we would have been digging out from FEET of snow this winter! So far, many of those storms have changed track on us last minute and missed our area. So please understand that the forecast CAN AND WILL change in the days ahead! But yes, we do at least have another chance at some snow next week! We will keep you up to date with all of the latest data here at fox5dc.com and on social media throughout the weekend as new data becomes available to us.

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