Winter snowstorm threatens parts of DC region Saturday

FOX 5 Five Points:

-Storm system approaches the region overnight tonight into Saturday morning.

-Accumulating snow is most likely south and east of the D.C. region where winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings are in effect starting overnight tonight.

-A few inches of snow closer to the D.C. and Baltimore metro regions cannot be ruled out, but at this time we are leaning towards lower end of a dusting-2'' range.

- The farther north and west from D.C. you travel, the chances of seeing any snowfall drop significantly.

-Regardless of storm outcome, the weekend is very cold. Most stay in the 20s all weekend long, with single digit wind chills in the forecast by Sunday.

Snow lovers around the I-95 corridor and points east woke up to a disappointing scene as last night's snow left little more than a dusty coating. These same areas; however, may just have the best shot at more substantial snows heading into the first day of the weekend. A storm system is getting its act together across the Gulf States and is expected to move northeastward off the North Carolina coastline on Saturday. As it does so, it is expected to throw some moisture back into parts of our region.

WHO? Generally speaking, the snow chances primarily exist along the I-95 corridor and locations eastward. The primary zone of concern is lower Southern Maryland, the Northern Neck, and the Eastern Shore. However, it is more complicated than simply saying these areas will get snow. The center of this storm will track considerably farther east than an 'ideal' storm track for this region, meaning somewhere in our area will be right at the storm's edge. Storms like these are notorious for having a 'razors edge' where 20 miles separate considerable snowfall from nothing at all. Exactly where that line is going to set up is different in every model, so this is a very low confidence forecast. What we can say with relative certainty is those that live North and West of D.C. are likely out of the influences of this storm, and are unlikely to see any snowfall unless something drastically changes in the next 12 hours.

WHEN? Timing is a little easier to discern as there is pretty good computer model agreement that the storm will make its closest pass to the region Saturday morning. Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck could see snow begin to fall in the pre-dawn hours lasting through early afternoon. If D.C. sees snow, it would likely be during the morning hours between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. before the system pulls off to the east.

HOW MUCH? Currently we are not expecting too much in downtown Washington, D.C. We have them on the outside edge of a dusting to 2'' of snow zone (meaning closer to the dusting). But given the most recent model trends - even that may be a stretch. The higher totals will easily be found the farther south and east you go. St. Mary's County, which was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning by the National Weather Service earlier this morning, could see anywhere between 4-8'' of snow across the southern half of the county. On the eastern shore, isolated spots could receive 8'' or more.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG: The push of drier air could be a little slower allowing moisture to spread over metro D.C. for several hours during the late morning and early afternoon, allowing for 1-3'' of snow. The other, and perhaps more likely scenario, is that storm forcing is very weak due to our far distance from the center of the storm. This allows for more dry air to flood into the region, keeping D.C. and Baltimore safe from any snowfall, and causing totals to be on the lower end of the given ranges in warned counties to the east.

Due to our position relative to the storm, there is a lot that can change as the storm evolves over the next 12-24 hours, and new data gets into the weather center. Follow the FOX 5 Weather Team for updated information through tonight and into the morning hours of your Saturday as well.

Stay safe, and enjoy the weekend!

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