The National Weather Service published a winter storm watch of 1 am to 1 pm Monday for DC and points south of Interstate 66 and US Route 50. Forecasters expect heavy snowfall late in at night until Monday afternoon, with total accumulations of 3 to 6 inches possible. .
Warmer-than-average temperatures have made snowfall a bit scarce so far this season, but winter weather lovers in the DC area might finally have something to get excited about.
A low developing over the southern Appalachian Mountains is poised to bring snow from Blue Ridge to coastal Chesapeake Bay from Sunday evening. While last-minute changes in the forecast can result in locally higher or lower totals, snowfall will make Monday morning commutes difficult for commuters in the district, Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday for DC and points south of Interstate 66 and US Route 50. Forecasters expect heavy snowfall from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon, with total accumulations of three to six inches possible. The heaviest snowfall is expected to be between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
The heavy snowfall forecast has been extended from its original perimeters to include areas of central and northern Maryland (parts of Baltimore, Montgomery County) and northern Virginia (Loudoun County) that may see from one to three inches.
Lower totals are forecast for the west in parts of central and northwestern Virginia, including Fauquier and Culpeper counties, where a winter weather advisory forecasted 2 to 4 inches instead.
LWX expands area to include winter storm watch valid from January 3 at 1:00 a.m. EST to January 3 at 1:00 p.m. EST https://t.co/2xP9xQbuvw pic.twitter.com/C2C3exrNTi
– Matt Ritter, OMCP Multimedia Meteorologist (@MetMattRitter) January 2, 2022
Monday’s forecast had called for little more than showers a day ago, but a drastic change in computer models on Sunday morning put the immediate DC region under separate risk for something much bigger.
The culprit – a rapidly deepening storm front leaving the Tennessee Valley above the Carolinas – will bring humidity to the DC region from west to east after midnight. While a mix of rain and sleet can get the ball rolling, overnight temperatures should be cool enough for an extended period of good old snow after dawn.
“As the colder air continues to spread across the region from the north, that rain will turn to sleet, then sleet, as the air continues to cool and increasingly colder will turn to snow.” NBC Washington meteorologist Ryan Miller told WTOP. .
But as with so many winter storms in recent memory, there is a catch: Models hint at a narrow gradient of snow accumulation just north of the nation’s capital, which means small knocks in the system’s path throughout Sunday could result in big differences in exactly how much falls – and where. The precise configuration of the heavier snow bands is also notoriously difficult to predict, and this could also be a determining factor.
“It’s a type of storm that is going to happen on the coast and there is going to be a narrow gradient from where the precipitation is falling and where there is nothing,” Miller said.
The takeaway is that the forecast is subject to change somewhat, but whatever the outcome is more than likely to be a headache for anyone hitting the road on Monday morning. Expect slippery conditions on streets, steps, sidewalks and driveways, regardless of how much snow ends up falling.
“Around lunchtime tomorrow, I think things will calm down,” Miller told OMCP.
A low has trended north and west over the past 24 hours which will now bring the potential for heavy snowfall to parts of our region late this evening through Monday morning. For all the latest details and impacts, visit https://t.co/5RyZgpeTAT pic.twitter.com/Qo7ZFTwW5V
– NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) January 2, 2022
Sunday: Rather cloudy. The rain showers end in the early afternoon. Mild in the morning but becoming considerably colder by the end of the day. Highs close to 60.
Sunday night: Snow and sleet beginning after midnight. Local accumulations between 3 and 6 inches, with higher amounts in the south of the district and lower in the north and west. Lowest in the upper 1920s to the mid-1930s.
Monday: Snow or winter mix, sometimes heavy. Gradual release after the end of the morning. Peaks in the upper mid-30s.
Tuesday: Sunshine. A little warmer, with highs in the upper 30s to the mid 40s.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy and windy. Highs in your upper thirties to mid-forties.
Thusday: Rather cloudy. Peaks in the upper 40s.
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