Snow big deal: Advisories canceled as temperatures trend warmer

Key points:

  • Between a trace and an inch of snow is still possible before noon, but chances of anything more substantial are rapidly dwindling.
  • Falling temperatures and single-digit wind chills will lend to a refreeze overnight. Additional school delays or cancellations are possible.

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Commuters can breath a sigh of relief: Rush hour snow didn’t materialize for most of the D.C. region on Thursday, yielding instead to a cold and steady rainfall.

The National Weather Service has dropped its Winter Weather Advisory. Little to no accumulating snow is forecast outside of Northern Maryland, and even there, snow totals aren’t expected to exceed an inch on grassy areas. A brief snow shower is possible in D.C. and Baltimore before precipitation finally tapers off around noon.

“Temperatures have remained above freezing and minimal snow accumulation is expected,” the weather service said in its Thursday morning update.

But while the forecast trended favorably, commuters are still faced with a risk of black ice amid plummeting temperatures this afternoon and tonight. Crews are having to retreat roads due to rain having washed away de-icing solution.

Drive slow, leave plenty of stopping distance from the vehicle in front you, and be extra cautious on driveways, highway ramps, bridges and overpasses.

The Virginia Department of Transportation spent much of Wednesday pretreating major roads with a salt brine solution in anticipation of both Thursday’s winter weather and Friday’s refreeze. District officials will have the city’s snow team on full deployment during Thursday morning rush hour to salt roads.

“If travel is unavoidable and absolutely necessary, drivers must plan to complete travel before snowfall begins and remain off the roads until they are passable,” VDOT said in a news release.

Snow wanes to flurries around noon, after which attention shifts to blisteringly-cold temperatures and wind chills due to persist through the weekend. Believe it or not, Thursday morning’s forecast highs in the 30s might be the warmest it’ll get until at least Sunday: Thursday night’s lows will be in the teens, while Friday and Saturday highs aren’t likely to climb out of the upper 20s.

Computer models, meanwhile, continue to shy away from snow chances early Saturday. A developing low over the Tennessee Valley will bring more snowfall to the Carolinas and portions of central and southern Virginia, but the worst of it looks to stay well outside of the WTOP listening area.

“In those areas south of D.C., 2 to 3 inches are not totally out of the question, but it is unlikely that anyone around the D.C. region will get much more than an inch,” Bell said. “There is still time to watch, but this does not look like a major event in our area.”

Mass transit:

Metrobus: Operating its Saturday supplemental service. Routes may be adjusted based on weather conditions.

RideOn: Reduced bus service continues due to a driver shortage. Flex and extRa services are suspended.

DASH: All lines except 102, 103 and 104 are running on an enhanced Saturday schedule due to a driver shortage.

VanGo: Due to driver shortages, the Berry Road, La Plata, Pinefield, Indian Head I, and Indian Head II routes are suspended until further notice.


Thursday: Rain ends as snow before noon. Breezy and cold, with highs in the low 30s and wind chills in the mid 20s.

Thursday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Bitter cold. Lows in the teens, with wind chills near zero.

Friday: Mostly cloudy and freezing. A slight chance of snow showers late. Highs in the upper 20s.

Saturday: Cloudy and cold. Snow likely, with totals under 2 inches. Highs in the upper 20s.

Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s with wind chills in the mid 20s.

Current conditions:

Power outages:

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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