So it begins: DC area gets hit with first blast of winter weather

Snow falls on Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday night. A mix of warm temperatures and pretreated roads kept the snow from accumlating on the pavement in most areas. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
Snow falls on Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday night. A mix of warm temperatures and pretreated roads kept the snow from accumlating on the pavement in most areas. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)

A snow covered bike at a Capital Bikeshare dock on Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
A snow covered bike at a Capital Bikeshare dock on Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)

Not a lot of people choosing to dine outside at the Grilled Oyster Co. in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
Not a lot of people choosing to dine outside at the Grilled Oyster Co. in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)

The view outside WTOP's newsroom at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
The view outside WTOP’s newsroom at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)

About two inches of snow at a home just west of Front Royal, Virginia. (Courtesy Mike Stinneford)
About two inches of snow at a home just west of Front Royal, Virginia. (Courtesy Mike Stinneford)

Snow falling on the Chain Bridge over the Potomac River in D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Snow falling on the Chain Bridge over the Potomac River in D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Scout keeps a watchful eye on the snow covered backyard. (WTOP/Darci Marchese)
Scout keeps a watchful eye on the snow covered backyard in Waldorf, Maryland. (WTOP/Darci Marchese)

Barkley, WTOP’s Mike Jakaitis’ dog, likes snow but not when it’s in his face.

A snow scene in Amissville, Virginia. (Courtesy David Faux)
A snow scene in Amissville, Virginia. (Courtesy David Faux)

Be careful out there: even with little accumulation, roads are slick, as evidenced by this crash on on Rock Creek Parkway near Calvert Street and Beach Drive. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Be careful out there: even with little accumulation, roads are slick, as evidenced by this crash on on Rock Creek Parkway near Calvert Street and Beach Drive. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

The snow coming down in College Park Maryland right in front of the University of Maryland. (Courtesy Naumaan Hamid)
The snow coming down in College Park, Maryland, right in front of the University of Maryland. (Courtesy Nomie from Krazi Kebob)

(Courtesy Naumaan Hamid)
View of the snowfall from northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
View of the snowfall from northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)

Clouds and snow fill the sky above northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
Clouds and snow fill the sky above northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)

Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)

In Loudoun County, the snow sticking to grass but not pavement. (WTOP/Mike Moss)
In Loudoun County, snow is sticking to the grass but not the pavement. (WTOP/Mike Moss)

Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)

Snowfall picks up in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
Snowfall picks up in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)

Snow falls Saturday morning in Calvert County, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Snow falls Saturday morning in Calvert County, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Snow begins to fall in Woodbridge, Virginia. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Snow begins to fall in Woodbridge, Virginia. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

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Snow falls on Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday night. A mix of warm temperatures and pretreated roads kept the snow from accumlating on the pavement in most areas. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
A snow covered bike at a Capital Bikeshare dock on Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
Not a lot of people choosing to dine outside at the Grilled Oyster Co. in D.C. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
The view outside WTOP's newsroom at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. (WTOP/Patrick Roth)
About two inches of snow at a home just west of Front Royal, Virginia. (Courtesy Mike Stinneford)
Snow falling on the Chain Bridge over the Potomac River in D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Scout keeps a watchful eye on the snow covered backyard. (WTOP/Darci Marchese)
A snow scene in Amissville, Virginia. (Courtesy David Faux)
Be careful out there: even with little accumulation, roads are slick, as evidenced by this crash on on Rock Creek Parkway near Calvert Street and Beach Drive. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The snow coming down in College Park Maryland right in front of the University of Maryland. (Courtesy Naumaan Hamid)
View of the snowfall from northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
Clouds and snow fill the sky above northeast D.C. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
In Loudoun County, the snow sticking to grass but not pavement. (WTOP/Mike Moss)
Snow collects on bushes outside the WTOP newsroom in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
Snowfall picks up in northwest D.C. (WTOP/William Vitka)
Snow falls Saturday morning in Calvert County, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Snow begins to fall in Woodbridge, Virginia. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON — The D.C. area is getting its first taste of winter.

While the snow has been falling along the I-95 corridor since Saturday morning, Storm Team4 meteorologist Somara Theodore pointed out that road temperatures had been in the mid to upper 30s for much of the day, which combined with pre-treated roads prevented the snow from accumulating on much of anything besides grassy surfaces and the tops of cars.

Now that it has been snowing for several hours, road temperatures will be closer to freezing, which should help the snow accumulate.

A Winter Weather Advisory for much of the region has been extended until 9 p.m. Saturday — 7 p.m. for Culpeper and southern Fauquier areas — and snow is falling all across the area. At 7:40, the advisories were canceled.

In Virginia, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George counties until 9 p.m.

In Maryland, the Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties until 9 p.m.

Snowfall is expected to continue throughout the afternoon. Some areas could see as much as 4 to 8 inches of snow or more, but in the D.C. metro area, closer to 2 inches is anticipated.

The winter weather has prompted schools in Maryland and Virginia to cancel Saturday activities, including the ACT exams for several school districts, including Charles and Howard counties in Maryland and Alexandria City in Virginia.


Get the latest from the WTOP Traffic Center

Get the latest from the WTOP Weather Center

See the latest closings and cancellations 


Snow totals so far:

Totals as of 8:30 p.m.

  • Oakland, Maryland: 6.1 inches
  • Gamber, Maryland: 5.7 inches
  • Germantown, Maryland: 5.5 inches
  • Winfield, Maryland: 5.4 inches
  • Damascus, Maryland: 5.2 inches
  • Woolsey, Virginia: 5 inches
  • Indian Head, Maryland: 5 inches
  • Clarksburg, Maryland: 4.6 inches
  • Reistertown, Maryland: 4.5 inches
  • Derwood, Maryland: 4.4 inches
  • Montgomery Village, Maryland: 4 inches
  • Dulles Airport: 4 inches
  • Poolesville, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Germantown, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Gaithersburg, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Potomac, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Centreville, Virginia: 3.5 inches
  • Ellicott City, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Elkridge, Maryland: 3.3 inches
  • Crofton, Maryland: 3.2 inches
  • New Market, Maryland: 3 inches
  • Baltimore Washington International Airport: 2.6 inches
  • Bowie, Maryland: 2.5 inches
  • Purcellville, Virginia: 2.2 inches
  • Thornhill, Virginia: 2.2 inches
  • Reagan National Airport: 2 inches
  • Dale City, Virginia: 2 inches
  • Dentsville, Maryland: 1.8 inches

As of 5 p.m., the totals were:

  • Westminster, Maryland: 6 inches
  • Damascus, Maryland: 5 inches
  • Oakland, Maryland: 4.7 inches
  • Dulles Airport: 4 inches
  • Great Mills, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Clarksburg, Maryland: 3 inches
  • Baltimore Washington International Airport: 2.6 inches
  • Ashburn, Virginia: 2.5 inches
  • Bloomfield, Maryland: 2.3 inches
  • Centreville, Virginia: 2.2 inches
  • Chantilly, Virginia: 2.1 inches
  • Annapolis, Maryland: 2 inches
  • Flat Run, Virginia: 2 inches

As of 3 p.m., the totals were:

  • Gaithersburg, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • St. Mary’s, Maryland: 3.5 inches
  • Herndon, Virginia: 1 inch
  • College Park, Maryland: .6 inches

The accumulation of snow in the airport areas broke daily snowfall records for Dec. 9.

Quick Links:

Forecast:

Periods of light to moderate snow will continue throughout the day, then it should start tapering off by Saturday evening with the D.C. area seeing between 2 to 4 inches, but closer to 2, Storm Team4 meteorologist Matt Ritter said.

Temperatures should be in the mid-30s during the day. But roads could refreeze Saturday night.

Don’t expect much accumulation on treated roads but it will stick on grassy surfaces or untreated pavement, Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper said.

Areas to the north and west of D.C. could see less snow. Higher snow totals are expected in the Southern Maryland peninsula and the Northern Neck area of Virginia.

The snow is expected to end after 7 p.m. Saturday.

As the snow moves out, the winds will start to move in making for a very cold and blustery Sunday. Temperatures will peak in the upper 30s and windchill values will be in the upper teens and 20s.

This graphic shows updated snowfall predictions. (Courtesy NBC Washington)

Current weather:


Traffic:

WTOP Traffic will be monitoring all road conditions 24 hours a day. You can listen live on the 8s at 103.5 FM. For the most recent traffic report, visit WTOP’s Traffic page.

Commuting and travel:

As the day wears on, road temperatures are starting to plummet, warned Charlie Gischlar, spokesman with the Maryland State Highway Administration.

On the highways, temperatures remain above freezing, but that could change.

“The worst thing you could do is be in a hurry,” Gischlar told WTOP.

The Virginia Department of Transportation began pre-treating roads in the D.C. suburbs on Thursday and Friday.

A little after 5 p.m., VDOT warned that the while the interstate, primary and secondary routes throughout the 14-county Fredericksburg District were clear from snow and ice, the pavement remained wet, which could freeze and lead to icy conditions.

If road temperatures drop enough, the snow could create slick driving conditions.

VDOT crews began salting overnight. They won’t plow unless at least 2 inches of snow is on the pavement, said spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis.

Brine pre-applied to roads in Northern Virginia should turn any snow into slush, she said.

She urged drivers to give VDOT salt trucks lots of room. They big, heavy trucks take longer to slow down and make wide turns. She said if drivers can hear the salting pinging off their windshield, they are following the truck too closely.

VDOT posts road temperatures online, which are a great tool for drivers to check before they hit the road.

Maryland State Highway Administration crews pre-treated roads on Friday and headed back out onto the roads at midnight. Trucks will use rock salt to treat roads during the snowfall, said Greg Slater, Maryland State Highway administrator.

Contractors with additional trucks are on standby and can be called in to help with snow removal if needed, Slater said.

“We are geared up and ready to go,” Slater said.

His tip to drivers: Posted speed limits were designed for dry pavement. Give other vehicles plenty of space and slow down.

The D.C. Department of General Services Facilities Management team said it began pre-treating some roads in the District’s Priority 1 and 2 locations, which included areas near emergency personnel facilities, D.C. public schools, hypothermia centers and shelters, senior wellness centers, community centers and other D.C. government buildings.

Crews began treating the roads with salt in D.C. at 2 a.m. and the Snow Team will remain in full deployment through midnight.

All D.C. roads will be covered including residential streets, said Chris Shorter, director of the Department of Public Works.

“We assume we’ll move into a plowing operation by (Saturday) morning,” Shorter said.

Shorter asked that drivers give the plows room to work.

Track the plow:

Residents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia can track area snow plows’ progress:

How to check road temperatures:

VDOT posts road temperatures on its 511Virginia.org site. In the left navigation bar, choose the weather drop-down. Then click the button for pavement temperatures.

Drivers can find pavement temperatures on VDOT’s 511Virginia.org site. The information is under the weather tab. (WTOP photo illustration)

Listen live:

Listen live on WTOP.com, on the WTOP app or tune in to 103.5 FM.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch and Max Smith contributed to this report. 


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