WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
1. After a couple days of warm temperatures, temperatures return to subfreezing levels for most overnight tonight.
2. Snow/Mix approaches our region from the southwest Saturday afternoon, with current guidance favoring a middle afternoon (3-5 p.m.) start in downtown Washington D.C.
3. Precipitation depends on where you live. Here in the city, snow mixing with sleet and rain from time to time is expected. It is more of a snow event north and west of town. More rain mixing with sleet south and east of town.
4. Snow may fall at a moderate to heavy pace from time to time, especially during the early evening hours, causing reduced visibility.
5. Majority of snow accumulations will be on the grass, although untreated roadways may become covered in locations where snow falls heavily enough.
6. This is a short duration event, NOT a blizzard. The system will exit the region late Saturday night, and the sun is expected to return on Sunday!
A little bit of everything - that is what the mid-Atlantic region will experience as we head into the weekend. Coming off of Thursday’s 70-degree day across the region, temperatures are expected to steadily fall through the day Friday. By Saturday morning, it should be below freezing as winter makes a brief return. For those with Saturday plans, the morning hours are expected to be cold, but dry around the region with a decent amount of sunshine expected to start the day. Clouds quickly return by the late morning, but for those needing to run errands or get around, the best time to do this will be during the morning hours.
During the afternoon, a storm system will spread over our region from southwest to northeast. In the immediate metro region, the start time is likely between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. What precipitation type we get will be an issue for the I-95 corridor, although recent model trends have favored more snow and sleet as opposed to rain despite surface temperatures being marginal to even a little above freezing during the afternoon. Snow may come down a little heavy at times, and a slushy one to two inches are possible on grassy surfaces around the area. We do not anticipate too many problems on major roadways but less traveled side streets and untreated roadways could pick up a coating if snow falls heavily enough.
Southeast of D.C., warmer air looks to be more of a problem. Sleet or snow may mix in early during the event in the northern neck of Virginia, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore. The majority of weather models favor mostly a rain event in these regions. A slushy coating up to one inch is possible on the grass but this is not expected to be a major winter storm for these areas.
Northwest of D.C., as usual, is where models favor more of a snow event and therefor the highest snowfall totals - although northing too extreme. Generally favoring one to three inches of snow on the grass in these areas with an isolated area getting a little more. Closer to the Maryland / Pennsylvania border, three to four inches is expected, while the western highlands in the Maryland panhandle and West Virginia could pick up three to six inches of snow. Temperatures in these regions are more likely to stay around or just below the freezing mark during the event meaning there is a better chance for roadway issues. Be cautious if you are traveling in these areas Saturday evening as road conditions could be slick.
Unlike the blizzards that bring the big snowfalls to our region, this event will be a short lived once. The vast majority of our morning weather guidance has the storm exiting our region later on Saturday night. By Sunday, skies turn mostly clear and the sunshine returns. Any snow that did accumulate on the grass will quickly start to melt away as temperatures across the region head well above freezing. In fact, temperatures are not expected to return below freezing at all early next week, meaning there is no strong risk of any refreezing issues. By the middle of the week, another early taste of spring returns as temperatures return to the 70s across the region. In fact, temperatures look to be near record levels both next Tuesday and Wednesday.