WASHINGTON - For the second time in a week, the nation's capital is set to receive an unwelcome dollop of wintry weather. A plowable snowfall is expected Thursday night into Friday, with accumulations locally topping three inches.
The instigating disturbance was approaching the Tennessee Valley as of early Thursday morning, a lobe of cold air, spin and low pressure nestled within a dip in the jet stream. That system will saunter northeast, eventually transferring its energy to a nascent system developing offshore.
Snow will reach the Interstate 81 corridor by suppertime, expanding in areal coverage and intensity during the evening hours. The Beltway and D.C. proper will see snow by midnight.
There are indications to suggest snowfall rates may briefly approach an inch per hour in the metro, with up to 1.5 inches per hour possible for a two-hour window to our southeast over St. Mary's and Calvert Counties, as well as over the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Snow will exit quickly on Friday morning around sunrise, with sunshine emerging and conditions rapidly improving. That said, the quick dose of snow and the swiftness with which it will have fallen will likely make for a messy commute — particularly in areas that already experienced snow on Monday.
A general 2 to 4 inches is likely across most of the DMV, with a pair of "jackpot" zones that could see heavier amounts.
The first is to our southeast, where heavier snowfall rates near the rain/snow line may squeak out 3 to 5 inches.
The mountains off to our west could see similar amounts, with 4 to 7 inches in the Alleghenies.
Thereafter, chilly weather settles in as a cold air mass sloshes southeast from Canada for Saturday. By Sunday, our next chance of a wintry mix arrives with a cold front. Crashing temperatures on the backside of the front may flip rain over to snow, sleet or freezing rain. We'll iron out those details in the days ahead.
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