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Posted at 7:15 PM ET, 12/ 5/2009

Significant early-season snowstorm departing

By Ian Livingston

* Winter Weather Advisory ending at 9 p.m. this evening *
* Capital Weather Gang on Facebook & Twitter *
* Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall | Snowcam | Travel Tips *

Snowmen enjoy today's weather in Washington, D.C. Their lives will be short. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

A final band of intense snow has moved across much of the area, resulting in additional accumulation. While a general range of 2-4"+ west and 1-3" south and east was good for many spots, elevation and persistent snow banding added twists to the outcome. Current snowfall reports are ranging from less than an inch at National Airport to 7"+ in places like Damascus, Md.

Through Tomorrow: Snow winds down across the rest of the area in the next hour and we end up clearing out and seeing some of the coldest readings of the season so far. Lows will range from the lower 20s in cold and snowy spots to upper 20s -- watch for slick spots on roads. It's sunny and chilly tomorrow with temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s.

Snow totals: Marginally cold surface temperatures and banding has led to widely divergent totals. Big metro-area winners appear to be Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun and Montgomery counties as well as some other spots further north or west. The highest totals have, in several cases, exceeded 6". Lower elevations and those to the east of I-95 generally saw the least snow.

* Report your snowfall total to CWG! | View submitted snow totals *

Next threat? Our winter forecast called for an active one with snowy threats, and it looks like we won't have to wait too long for the next chance. A storm is expected to charge at us from the west by late Tuesday and Wednesday while cold air is in place. There will be potential for snow, ice or mix, and probably even some rain. Stick around as the pattern remains active over the coming days, and maybe longer.

How much snow at your house? Let us know in the comments below...

By Ian Livingston  | December 5, 2009; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A snowy scene with slushy & slick roads
Next: Forecast: Winter wonderland to melt away


"A storm is expected to charge at us from the west by late Tuesday and Wednesday" - that wording is going to whip us into a frenzy.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 5, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

:) But we just love snow frenzies!

Posted by: manassasmissy | December 5, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

got a few storms possible next week. exciting pattern setting up for us.

Posted by: jpl1019 | December 5, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Snowfall total in Dumfries: lame. Not even an inch, and that's just on the grassy areas. We actually had a sand truck come down our street (I live at the bottom of a steep hill). That was unexpected. Thanks, VDOT!

Posted by: southbridgemom | December 5, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

West Springfield may have topped 2" of snow, but it briefly turned to moderate rain near the end that drilled a lot of holes in the snow...then it snowed some more. Melting on the bottom was pretty significant as well.

I'll say we had 2" reliably.

Posted by: bikerjohn | December 5, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

About 4" total her in Vienna.

Why did the changeover from rain to snow occur so early in Fairfax County this morning (around 9 AM instead of noon or afternoon as predicted)? Did the low intensify more than forecast and draw down more cold air on its west side? Still, it never went below freezing during the storm. NWS though, never acknowledged the forecast error, and the early changover.....they (and the TV meterologists) kept saying it was "raining" and it "would change over in the afternoon" long after it actually DID in mid-morning. By afternoon, it was snowing even in areas to the east that they had predicted mostly rain for, and snow was piling up very quickly in Fairfax County...we had 3" or so by noon.

I know this is an extremely difficult area to forecast snow for, though....and there are many variable.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | December 5, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Amazing variability with this storm in the metro area. Just within the District, nada downtown to about 0.5" around Dupont increasing to almost 2" in upper NW.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 5, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

7 inches in New Baltimore. Whoa! Sat dish was out all afternoon. Power went at about noon for two hours .....

Posted by: weathergrrl | December 5, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

CAPITAL WEATHER: My wife and I decided that this afternoon would be perfect for seeing the National Christmas Tree. Yet, once we departed Northern VA, we found DC to not show any life of snow. even Arlington, close to the city, lacked any whiteness. There was nothing. Our windshield was covered in water and our umbrella unfortunately could not keep the rain away. We opted instead to see the Botanical Gardens. It all worked out. But when we drove home, we found 1/2 way up the hill on Sprout Run, the snow returned. The grass was white. It was the oddest thing. To drive from through the Falls Church area was so completely different than D.C. Why did D.C. receive less than a dusting??????????????????????

Posted by: schrute | December 6, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

CapWeather Gang:

Just a followup. We have almost 3 inches of snow here in N. Arlington. D.C. (downtown) has none. why the discprency?

Posted by: schrute | December 6, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Just like the March storm from last year, elevation played a big roll in accumulations in DC. Up here in Hillcrest (250'), we received 2-2.5 inches. A mile or so away on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Anacostia River (~50'), zippy.

Posted by: HillcrestDC | December 6, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd say I got 3-4" here in Fair Lakes. Hard to tell for sure though - but it was a nice storm regardless. Out in Markham where I went with my mom to help her cut a tree (great day for Christmas tree cutting! :)) there was more - maybe 5-6". At my mom's place near 395 & 495, there was a lot less, esp by the time I got there around 6pm.

Posted by: jahutch | December 6, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

@HillcrestDC - I doubt that the elevation was the difference here. Although, it is possible, you are only talking about a .4-.5 degree temperature difference at most. I would imagine that the way the breeze coming off the river is effecting the surrounding area is the likely suspect. I am sure CWG will chime in here as to what they think the reason would be.

Posted by: snowlover | December 6, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

snowlover, I think elevation was a primary issue here -- not too uncommon with early and late season events with marginal temps. Up in the "hills" we did briefly drop to right around freezing during the heaviest and then in the afternoon only got just above. DCA switched later and then hovered in the mid 30s all day. Usually temp differences over a few hundred feet are small, but it might have been just enough. National is not the best place to measure for the city in my opinion -- though it is perhaps a good measure for what's happening on the Mall and the immediate downtown.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 6, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I stand correctecd, I guess the .5 degree difference was just enough in yesterday's storm. Thanks CWG for clarifying.

Posted by: snowlover | December 6, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

snowlover, your idea may have some truth as well though the winds were not really off the river yesterday. I have not compared similar elevations without the river factor and know it does play a role with DCA's readings here and there. I do think the temperature swings at the ground were likely greater than .5 degrees especially once places picked up accumulation. Rates can overcome ground warmth initially but you need that next step to cool further. You also have to factor in the extra xx hundred of feet a snowflake might fall. I know here around 400' in NW DC they were still quite wet so maybe the extra distance allowed them to mostly melt at various times.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 6, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Had 1.8" in NW Spotsy, site won't take my snow total or show what ours report.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 6, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to tomorrow night and the latest thoughts then on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning....

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 6, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

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