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Significant snowfall beginning Friday could make commuting difficult on roads and rail

5:30 a.m. UPDATE: Good morning from Get There Central. The forecast is becoming clearer. The Capital Weather Gang's snow accumulation map is now showing at least an 80 percent chance of 10 inches or more in the Washington region beginning Friday morning and continuing through Saturday. There is a 40 percent chance of 16 inches or more.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the region beginning Friday. That is expected to become a winter storm warning.

Some highlights from the advisory:

  • ACCUMULATIONS...THIS STORM IS LIKELY TO PRODUCE 12 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW IN THE WATCH AREA...WITH A GOOD CHANCE FOR LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OVER 20 INCHES.
  • TIMING...SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN LATE MORNING FRIDAY... CONTINUING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.
  • THIS STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE SIMILAR TO THE DECEMBER 19TH STORM. PLAN FOR SUBSTANTIAL DISRUPTIONS TO TRAVEL FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH THE WEEKEND.

We expect that area departments of transportation and transit services will be issuing statements about their plans to deal with the approaching storm throughout Thursday. Check back for the latest updates.

Original post:Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Wednesday in anticipation of a winter storm that's expected to drop up to 12 inches of snow or more on Washington on top of what's fallen in the last several days.

The Capital Weather Gang forecasts that the storm will arrive late morning Friday and continue into Saturday. The prediction at 5 p.m. Wednesday was calling for a 35 percent chance of 12 inches or more with higher percentages north and west of the Beltway.

Meanwhile, Arlington County sent out an alert warning residents of an approaching winter storm, "with near blizzard conditions." The alert warned residents to "be prepared to shelter in place for 3 to 5 days."

So, what's going to happen? The forecasts all suggest we're in for a significant winter storm, so now is the time to prepare. If we get inches and inches of snowfall, authorities will discourage you from driving so that snow crews can do their work clearing the highways and other roads.

It's also likely that transit services, from commuter buses to Metrorail, Metrobus and suburban transit, will be affected. During recent snowstorms, Metro has curtailed bus and MetroAccess service because of dangerous road condtions. During December's historic snowfall, Metro suspended rail service at its 39 above-ground stations when heavy snowfall began to cover the electrified third fail that powers the trains. This could all happen again if the predictions hold up.

Such a significant snowfall might also affect service at the region's three main airports. Officials advise you to check with your airline before heading to the airport.

  • Airlines serving BWI may be found here.
  • Airlines serving National are here.
  • Airlines serving Dulles are here.

So, make your plans going into the weekend understanding there is the possibility that a significant snowfall will hinder movement on Friday and Saturday. The Friday evening commute is likely to be difficult with icy roads and cuts in transit services.

Stay in touch with the Capital Weather Gang for the latest on the forecast,. Check out this recent feature on how jurisdictions fight record-setting snowfall. Meanwhile, Get There will keep you current on ways to navigate Washington's roads and rails.

By Michael Bolden  |  February 3, 2010; 7:20 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Weather  | Tags: Metro delays, metro, weather  
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Next: Yesterday's snow is yesterday's news

Comments

Good point to stress:

During December's historic snowfall, Metro suspended rail service at its 39 above-ground stations when heavy snowfall began to cover the electrified third fail that powers the trains. This could all happen again if the predictions hold up.

That causes major problems/inconvenience. Good thing about it happening on a Friday is that is a popular day for Feds to telecommute ot to be off due to alternate work schedules. Coming in to the city before 10am may not be as challenging as going home in the early evening.

Posted by: uncivil | February 4, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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