Column: Mild Monday turns into snowy Tuesday

WASHINGTON — I guess you could call it the calm before the storm. A very mild Monday as temperatures rise into the upper 40s to low 50s, well above our average temperature of 43 degrees! Then we head into tomorrow. That’s when we will face some problems: snow problems.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the entire WTOP listening area from Tuesday 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.


A Winter Storm Warning in effect Tuesday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Courtesy WJLA)

There is a good chance we could see some accumulating snow for everybody around the region and probably the best chance we have seen yet this winter. So what is going on?

Another piece of energy moving in from Canada — remember the clippers? — will head southeast Monday out of the northern plains and through the Ohio Valley.

While this is going on, a frontal system will drop through the region crossing the area Monday night. The piece of energy slipping into the region will join with the front and eventually cause an area of low pressure to form off the coast along the front through the day Tuesday. That low will move northeast, just off of the east coast line.


Storm watch radar (Courtesy WJLA)

Lows Monday will drop into the 20s and then pretty much stay in the 20s, below freezing, for Tuesday. Therefore, there is no question that the snow will stick. Snow will begin to impact the region starting early Tuesday morning from the west — most likely around 7a.m. The snow will continue to spread eastward and reach the D.C. metro area anywhere from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

At this point, current thinking is anywhere from 3 inches to 6 inches of snow around the area with some locally higher amounts (these are subject to change). Since it will be fairly dry, the snow will be of the fluffy nature, which can tend to pile up quickly.


Potential snow totals for Tuesday (Courtesy WJLA)

There is a 60 percent chance of getting at least 4 inches of snow in the D.C. region. We do believe that it will be slightly more in total accumulation — 4 inches to 6 inches — to the north and west, mostly gathering at the onset and then also more south and east of the D.C. area once the storm forms off the coast. That could bring in 4 inches to 8 inches, with 8 inches being the locally higher amount.

Not only are we worrying about the snow falling, we are going to have some breezy conditions through the day Tuesday. Northwest winds anywhere from 10 to 20 mph will bring wind chills down into the single digits, mainly for the afternoon hours. This will also cause blowing snow around the region as the heaviest of snow will fall during the afternoon hours.

Snow will come to an end by the time we head into Tuesday night, but winds will stay put at least through the first part of Wednesday dropping wind chills Wednesday morning to below 0 degrees.


Tuesday snow factors (Courtesy WJLA)

Tuesday morning will not be quite as bad as the afternoon. Even with that being said, I do believe there will be some cancellations for schools and office buildings.

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