Presidents Day snow makes shift to icy rain

WASHINGTON — What was slush is now beginning to refreeze as temperatures dip and bands of freezing rain make their way across the D.C.-metro region.

The freezing rain will stick around through the rest of the night, sometimes with a bit of snow and sleet mixed in, and will gradually change over to just rain around midnight as temperatures slowly rise above freezing.

But before then, the frozen precipitation will add a thin layer of ice on top of the snow already on the ground and road.

“By late this evening, there could be some messy areas,” Storm Team 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said of road conditions.

A tenth of an inch of ice could accumulate by late tonight. Some areas could see a bit more ice — as much as a quarter of an inch in western and northern suburbs.

Road crows are planning to continue to treat main roads and highways in order to combat any remaining snowfall plus the threat of ice. State highway officials in Maryland and Virginia warn drivers to be wary of black ice tonight.

Virginia officials urge drivers to avoid unnecessary travel especially overnight.

Temperatures will range from 35 to 40 degrees at sunrise, which could make for a dicey morning commute.

The freezing rain will be followed by periods of heavy rain overnight and into Tuesday afternoon. The rain will mix with the melting snow and could cause area rivers to flood. Tuesday, highs could reach the mid-50s and there is a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast.

Monday’s snowstorm had tracked farther south in the early morning than previously predicted. And parts of Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck saw higher snowfall totals than areas like Loudoun and Frederick counties, which typically see higher snow accumulations.

It’s “a light, fluffy, dry snow,” he said, which means that a broom could easily clear a sidewalk, but that also means “much higher amounts.”

About 8 inches of snow have fallen in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties. Other unofficial area snow totals include:

  • 4 inches Newington, Virginia
  • 4 inches in Dale City, Virginia
  • 8.9 inches in Chancellorsville (Spotsylvania County)
  • 3 inches in Bowie, Maryland
  • 2.5 inches in Herndon, Virginia
  • 6 inches in LaPlata, Maryland
  • 8.5 inches in California (St. Mary’s County), Maryland
  • 9 inches Dowell (Calvert County)
  • 4 inches Reagan National

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WEATHER:

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Prince William, Fairfax and southern Fauquier counties, as well as Manassas, Manassas Park, Arlington, Falls Church and Alexandria, until 4 a.m. Tuesday; and for Frederick County in Maryland, Loudoun County and northern Fauquier County in Virginia until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for D.C., Montgomery, Prince Geoege’s, Howard, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

A Flood Watch is in effect for the entire listening region from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday.

After waves of snow dropped 1 to 9 inches across the region, the snow turned to freezing rain by mid-afternoon. Up to a quarter-inch of ice is possible in some locations.

Get the full forecast on the WTOP.com weather page.

TRAFFIC:

Snowfall made a mess of the roads Monday morning and icy conditions loom Monday night. Highway officials urge travelers to delay unnecessary travel here.

Find a roundup crashes in Virginia here.

Follow the latest road conditions in the WTOP Traffic Live Blog.

Get the latest traffic updates on the WTOP traffic page, by following @WTOPTraffic on Twitter and by listening to 103.5 FM on-air or online.

COMMUTING/TRAVEL:

Metrobus —Metrobus will be suspended after 10 p.m. Monday. Normal service is expected to resume Tuesday morning.

Prior to 10 p.m. Monday, Metrobus will be operating on a severe weather plan. Routes along major roads are operating except for route 1A. Also, routes 52 and 54 are running between 14th/Colorado and Downtown DC only.

Metrorail — Open from 5 a.m. to midnight on Monday. Trains will run on a Saturday schedule, and parking is free.

DC Circulator — Service ends at 6 p.m. Monday

VRE — No service on Presidents Day.

MARC — Modified schedule on Monday.

  • The Penn Line will operate on the “S” weekday schedule, with exceptions.
  • Only certain trains will run on the Brunswick Line.
  • The Camden Line will also only operate certain trains.

DASH — Saturday service with snow detour routes. Service on all DASH bus routes and the King Street Trolley will end at 3 p.m.

There are transit changes for the Presidents Day holiday. See the list.

Airlines — If you have a flight scheduled for Monday, local airports were reporting numerous flight delays and cancellations. As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, 296 flights had been canceled and about 115 had been delayed at Reagan National Airport, according to FlightAware.com. More 87 flights had been canceled and 85 were delayed at Dulles International Airport. At BWI-Marshall, about 173 flights were canceled and 71 flights were delayed Monday. Travelers should check with their airlines before departing.

CLOSINGS AND DELAYS:

Some school systems have begun to announce closings and delays for Tuesday morning.

Not all area school systems were scheduled to be closed for the Presidents Day holiday and some have decided to close due to the weather including Fauquier, Manassas City and Spotsylvania County Public Schools in Virginia.

Several other systems have canceled school activities.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, are closed Monday. All other D.C. museums will close at 3 p.m. Monday.

Get the full list of closings and delays on WTOP.com.

POWER OUTAGES:

No major power outages have been reported.

If you need the phone number for your power company, text the word POWER to 91035 and we’ll text it back to you.

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