Snow in DC region to kick off Presidents’ Day weekend

After a week that started with parts of the region picking up some snow on Tuesday morning, another snow event appears likely as we get ready to start the holiday weekend here in the D.C. area. 

While not expected to be a major snow event (still no blizzards for our region), it could be enough to disrupt travel around the area on Saturday morning. 

READ MORE: DC snow forecast: 1-3 inches likely by Saturday morning

Winter Storm Watches, which means the potential for five or more inches of snow, were recently expanded to include parts of Montgomery and Loudoun counties just west of town. 

So what do we expect from this storm? Here is the latest.

When will snow fall in DC, Maryland, and Virginia? 

The snow is expected to push into the mountain areas and those west of I-81 after 8 p.m. on Friday. 

Here in the D.C. and Baltimore region, the evening commute and even much of the nighttime hours should be dry. Snow does not look likely to start in the immediate D.C. area until between 10 p.m. - 12 a.m. 

READ MORE: Next chance for snow in DC, Maryland, Virginia comes Saturday

The heaviest of the snow is expected between 2-6 a.m. Saturday morning. Weather models show good agreement that the snow exits the region around or just after sunrise on Saturday morning. 

How Much snow will fall in DC region? 

One thing that is nice about this system is that it is a system that will be surrounded by cold air. 

We are not worried about much mix around the immediate D.C. area as there is ample cold air above the surface that should keep it an all or mostly snow event. The one exception is for extreme southern Maryland and the Northern Neck, though even these locations should change to snow quickly. 

READ MORE: DMV Winter 2023-2024 Outlook: Why we're expecting more snow, chance for blizzards in DC this winter

At times, snowfall rates could be around an inch per hour, which is more than enough to quickly cover roadways, and the fact it's coming during the overnight hours when the sun is down should help it stick quickly as well. 

Similar to the snow events our region had to deal with during the middle of January, these events could bring widespread 2-4" snow, with some localized areas picking up even more. 

Weekend weather forecast

As mentioned before, the snow is expected to stop falling around or a little after sunrise on Saturday, though the threat of some flurries will remain through lunchtime. 

Clear skies and some afternoon sunshine with temperatures rising above freezing will follow.

This should help snow melt quickly off paved surfaces by Saturday afternoon, even in locations that pick up heavier snow amounts. 

Widespread temperatures below freezing mean refreeze concerns on Saturday night into Sunday, but more sunshine and warmer temperatures on Sunday and Presidents’ Day will continue the melting. 

This snow is not expected to stick around long.  

Last snow of the season? 

Beyond the holiday weekend, the pattern does shift mild once again, with some suggestions that D.C. may flirt with the low 60s by Thursday. 

There are a few weather models that suggest we need to watch the time frame around next Friday as well. However, the majority of guidance suggests this will be more of a rain event given the warmth in the time period.  

It is a little early to call the snow season over already, but as February continues to push forward, the sun angle continues to rise along with the average temperatures, making accumulating snow in the D.C. area more and more difficult. 

Average low temperatures remain in the 30s through the middle of March in D.C., so theoretically, as long as a storm comes during the overnight hours, we could pick up more snow. 

The average final day for accumulating snow in Washington, D.C. is March 7, though snow has fallen as late as the end of April historically. 

The latest winter storm level snow (over 5") was April 1 back in 1924. The latest major snow storm (over 10") in D.C. was March 29, 1942. That was also the last time D.C. had a storm drop over 10" of snow in March. It can happen, but it is quite rare to get a good snow storm after March arrives. The last time we had a decent March snow was March 21, 2018, when D.C. picked up 4." 

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