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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 01/21/2010

PM Update: Mixed bag of wintry weather inbound

By Ian Livingston

Tricky travel and some snow/sleet accumulation possible

* Winter Weather Advisory far N&W burbs tonight & tomorrow (map) *
* Coleman's climate conspiracy theory | "Bench" marking historic snow *
* D.C. region's highway crews ready for storm: Get There *
* Outside now? Temps, radar, winds & more: Weather Wall *

After plenty of morning sunshine clouds are on the increase as our wintry weather maker begins to arrive. Light precipitation, mostly in the form of rain and sleet will start to overspread the area by mid-to-late evening as temperatures fall from highs in the low-and-mid 40s through the upper-and-mid 30s. Though temperatures may not drop much below freezing overnight, some travel troubles, especially north and west of I-95, are possible by morning.

Radar: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation over past three hours. Powered by HAMweather. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Through Tonight: Light rain and sleet (possibly starting with snow well north and west) moves into the area through late evening. Rain and sleet then continue through the night, with some freezing rain also possible mainly north and west of D.C.

Tomorrow (Friday): Rain, sleet and some freezing rain should transition to snow or a rain/snow mix from northwest to southeast during the early morning. Snow to the northwest, and a rain/snow mix possibly changing to all snow elsewhere, persists into midday before winding down. Highs should reach the mid-to-upper 30s, so the evening commute is likely to be easier than the morning.


As is often the case, I-95 should be something of a dividing line between some snow/sleet accumulation and very little.

D.C. and points just south and east in P.G. County stand to see mostly rain and sleet with some snow possible to conclude with accumulations up to 1" in spots.

Just north and west, Montgomery, Fairfax and Howard counties should see more in the way of sleet and snow, bringing general accumulations to 1-3".

Well north and west, Loudoun and Fauquier counties stand a better shot at moderate accumulations on the order of 2" to perhaps as much as 5", while spots like Frederick County tend to fall into the 1-3" due to lower precipitation totals.

South and east of P.G. County will likely see mostly rain, with perhaps a little conversational mix or snow.


D.C. and South or East

North and West of D.C.

How confident are you in your forecast? Not very. This storm system appears to be more typical of the D.C. area than what we've seen earlier this winter -- meaning a borderline event. In other words, there is a good deal of uncertainty about both precipitation type as well as amount, as opposed to some of our early-season events which we were able to predict with a little more confidence than is typical around here.

Could the storm fizzle out and leave us high and dry (or wet)? Yes, there is uncertainty regarding how far north this system will make it before heading out to sea. There is a chance that areas around the north side of D.C. -- Montgomery, Howard and northern P.G. counties -- may receive little or no precipitation from this event. It is also possible that this system brings mostly (or even all) rain to downtown D.C. and points south and east.

See more storm FAQs, including the forecast for after the storm. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

By Ian Livingston  | January 21, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: "Bench" marking Washington's historic snows
Next: Update: Mix of precipitation continues


Will this upcoming weather system be similar to what we received on New Year's Eve morning?

Posted by: marie_d1 | January 21, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Stinks. Messy enough to cause traffic headaches and close schools (at least up in Frederick where I live), but not snowy enough to have fun. I guess this is the price we pay for the warmer temps of late. To have the warmer temps I'll take it. However, I'm looking forward to Saturday! Drive Safely....

Posted by: soyboy99 | January 21, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: icecubedownthetoilet | January 21, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Where's fedcast? Or does this not even rank a bit of a dome?

Posted by: ah___ | January 21, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse


I think this is a low probability federal issue. Maybe some sort of liberal leave depending on how much ends up falling to the west, but save a complete rush hour fail, I don't expect even a 2 hour delay.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Don't expect much of any acc. from this storm. Doubt there will b any delays, except 4 far N & W of the area. Dulles is now +1 4 Jan & Reagan -.4. Looks like this will b normal month 4 temps. Guess we won't c any ACW folks posting about how cold this month has been. Then again, maybe they r under reporting the actual temps in this area.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 21, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Already a coating of freezing rain/sleet in the mountains between Warren and Fauquier Counties. Now it looks like there's some snow trying to mix in. 29.5F

Down the mountain (VA55/I-66) was just wet at approx 6:00p.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 21, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I wrote: "Down the mountain (VA55/I-66) was just wet at approx 6:00p."

Was referring to road conditions... there was sleet at the lower elevation.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 21, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

You all be careful in those sub-freezing conditions out west! in downtown DC, we're about to commence our cold rain in the mid-30s. Ugh.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Slight coating of sleet and snow in Crozet. Decent burst for about an hour, but now is starting to let up.

Posted by: crozet | January 21, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Still no SLCB...probably due to reduced ice/mix for those of us to South and East.

Here's a national lightning snapshot...locally there's no thunderstorm threat but...

StrikeStar U.S. has 9 strikes/minute... peak 36 per minute earlier today. Chief areas: KY/TN and northern peninsular FL.

Vaisala has 26,400+ events so far today, adding some strikes in extreme southern CA to the busy regions in KY, TN and FL reported above.

NALDN reports "frequent" lightning in southern KY and "occasional" activity in FL with "isolated" action in the other areas cited by Vaisala and StrikeStar. There's also a severe watch/warning area in connection with the KY/TN activity, including a mesoscale discussion. At least one tornado seems to have been reported.

Thunderstorms in progress recently: Areas of north to north/central peninsular FL, and Blythe, CA. General activity in the KY/TN severe weather area. This activity likely will pass to our south.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 21, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

It is sleeting south of Old Town Alexandria. Maybe some rain in there as well.

Posted by: ntrlsol | January 21, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Crozet is the home of my favorite Virginia beer. I switched to Starr Hill after Old Dominion was bought and moved to Delaware.

Wintry mix continuing. 28.4F. Half inch accumulation so far I believe mainly due to the snow portion.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 21, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

seems to be sleeting at a decent clip in Clarendon

Posted by: novajeffc | January 21, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

A glaze of sleet and freezing rain in the Valley.

32 degrees with freezing rain at 8 pm.

Posted by: AugustaJim | January 21, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

It's mostly sleet now in Oakton,VA. The precipitation started as sleet, turned to rain, now back to sleet.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

We've got sleet with some rain mixing in NW DC

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Currently ALL sleet in Ashburn.....

Posted by: bodyiq | January 21, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

So, how does it look for Frederick (MD)? School delays or closings..? Technically, Frederick is "north and west" of DC but I wasn't sure whether you were also referring to Frederick.

And what's SLCB? Snow Lover Crystal Ball?

Many thanks.

Posted by: JSTF | January 21, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse


Think a decent chance of delays in Frederick, maybe even closing. SLCB=Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Now that the show has begun, I'm curious as to how long a period of precipitation we are in for. Are we still expecting this system to hang around until midday tomorrow?

Posted by: bodyiq | January 21, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

In Oakton, mostly rain now, with a little sleet mixed in.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

At this hour, the mix appears to have turned predominantly to the freezing rain variety at my location. 28.8F

Posted by: spgass1 | January 21, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Starting as sleet here in Columbia. Temps are still pretty warm though, 37.7 right now. Dewpoint's been fluxuationg between 24 and 25 though so we should start to dip here soon.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Although I havent been outside, it just seems like light rain in Germantown.

Posted by: PoorTeacher | January 21, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

sleet started at 6 when I left Manassas for New Balto. Light sleet has accumulated since then, about 1/4 inch and still going. Interested to see what we'll see come sunrise ....

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

From the regional radar, it looks like this wave of rain/clouds is moving fast. Maybe sunshing tomorrow?

Posted by: jojo2008 | January 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse


Don't think we'll have much in the way of sun tomorrow. A trailing upper level disturbance will keep intermittent precip going through early afternoon...and clearing may hold off until overnight.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 21, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

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