Snow to begin falling during morning rush

WASHINGTON — Snow? Yes, it is difficult to believe, but we are going to get a little taste of it Tuesday. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for much of the area, effective 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Expect some snow showers to begin during the morning rush, but it should melt on the roadways. There could be minor accumulations from a coating to 2 inches, mainly on grassy areas. Nonetheless, a slick spot or two cannot be ruled out on secondary roads, especially those less traveled.


The snow is thanks to an arctic high that has its hold on the eastern United States, continuing to push cold air into the region. Clouds are rolling in, and snow could start falling between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Weather map (Courtesy WJLA)

It will begin as snow with some rain/snow mix in Southern Maryland. Eventually, a change to rain/snow showers will take place for everybody with the precipitation becoming spottier through the afternoon hours. We could get a few heavy bands of snow in the morning, but those will be short-lived.

Mostly the snow will accumulate in the grassy areas or on your car. Some roads will have some slush, but it would have to snow very hard for several hours to get some good accumulation during the daytime hours this late in March.

The March sun angle is so high and strong that even with clouds, it continues to warm up the surface and melt snow.

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March sun angle is much higher than it is in December which means increased warming due to strong sun.

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This graphic from the Weather Prediction Center shows the probability of getting around 2 inches across the region (look at the left hand side for percentage values with the coordinating colors).

Mainly we are expecting a trace to around 2 inches of snow across the region (some higher elevations could possibly get 3 inches). But it will not be a major winter storm in our area.

Winds will be the biggest player in this once the storm exits the region, and as the low moves up the coast and rapidly intensifies – the central pressure of the low center is forecast to decrease by 39 hPa to an intense 959 hPa by Thursday night.

This system is the strongest low forecast to develop off the East Coast this year.

Hurricane-force winds will develop around the low off the coast of Nova Scotia, while wind speeds will gust up to possibly 45 mph in our region. Winds will increase starting Tuesday night from that exiting low and an area of high pressure building into the area through the day on Wednesday.

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Take a look at the intensification of the low off the New England Coast by Wednesday morning. As it moves north it intensifies rapidly. Winds will increase from the exiting low and the area of high pressure building into the area over Kentucky and Tennessee.

So all in all, this storm will have a minimal impact on the D.C. region with some minimal snow accumulation. Winds may be more discussed than the unwanted snowfall.

However, once we get through Wednesday, we are in smooth sailing territory.

Thursday temperatures push back into the low 50s, and by Friday, we are talking about low 60s with a few possible rain showers — something we definitely can handle at this point.

Although the latest “measurable” snow recorded in D.C. was a half inch on April 28, 1898, we have had snow into May. The latest record of snow (a trace amount) recorded in D.C. was on May 16, 1988. Although this has been a year for the record books, let’s hope that is not one the region will break.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and Lauryn Ricketts on Facebook.


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