In a mix of rain and snow, area road conditions vary widely

WASHINGTON — With temperatures expected to straddle the freezing mark much of the day Tuesday, the D.C. area looks to be dealing with a mix of rain and snow around the region. But which of the two your area gets can vary widely.

While Clarksburg, Maryland, has gotten about four inches of snow so far, and Westminster has gotten 2.8, only a trace has fallen at the airports and about an inch in Purcellville, Virginia. You can keep track of the snowfall totals from the National Weather Service here.

Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts says it’s hard to figure out which areas will get rain and snow, because temperatures are right on the line. But while the northern areas of the D.C. region had gotten several inches of snow, the District was getting mainly rain and freezing rain or sleet was falling to the south.

That could lead to some difficult, and changing, conditions, on the roads. In the District, roads are merely wet on Tuesday morning, but Ricketts says that someone driving from Carroll County to D.C. told her they encountered snow, wet roads and clear conditions all in one trip.

On Route 7, in Sterling, the snow was falling rapidly around 8 a.m., WTOP’s Neal Augenstein reports, but the roads were still wet. In Leesburg and Purcellville, the roads were slushy — the result of a difference of only degree or two, he says.

Meanwhile, heavy snow was falling in Reston at 9 a.m., WTOP’s Alan Etter says. There haven’t been any spinout accidents, he says, but visibility was getting difficult.

In Germantown, WTOP’s Nick Iannelli says that snow is starting to cause a slushy mess. “Cars ahead of you are spraying slush on your windshield … it can be difficult to see,” he says. You can go through 20 minutes of heavy snow, he says, then hit a light patch.

Ricketts says that temperatures are going to fall in the afternoon and evening, which could lead tio more icy conditions on the roads and more snow in the District.

Jennifer McCord, with the Virginia Department of Transportation, told WTOP that, depending on where you’re coming from, one trip from Virginia into the District could present “a variety of precipitation, a variety of road conditions.”

Crews were pre-treating the roads beginning Monday evening, she said. Wet roads, she said, could be slippery, particularly on the usual danger spots: bridges, overpasses and ramps.

Charlie Gischlar, of the Maryland State Highways Administration, tells WTOP it’s unusual to pre-treat the roads before a storm that starts out as rain, but they did this time, seeing as how temperatures could easily freeze.

As a result, he said, there’s “pretty much bare pavement everywhere, with the exception of some of the upper counties.”

He added the customary exception for bridges, ramps and overpasses, such as the Governor Harry Nice Bridge, where a crash blocked U.S. 301 in both directions for about an hour and a half before it was cleared.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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