Winter Storm Warning In Place For Northern Virginia, DC

Deb Belt - The Patch Around Town

Via The Patch

By Deb Belt

A winter storm with the potential to bring six inches of snow, topped with ice, to the Washington, D.C., region between Tuesday night and Wednesday evening has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning for much of northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.

A winter storm watch means “significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible,” according to the weather service. Up to 6 inches of snow and a tenth of an inch ice are in the forecast between Tuesday and Wednesday nights, according to the updated forecast.

Here is when the winter storm warning is in effect on Wednesday, Feb. 20:

  • 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. —District of Columbia, Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park, Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Fauquier, Loudoun

A winter weather advisory is in effect from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday for Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. The area is expected to receive mixed precipitation. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and a light glaze of ice are predicted.

Wednesday’s drive to work not be easy. “A difficult morning commuting is expected as snow may be heavy at times with limited visibility and rapid accumulation, especially on untreated roads,” says The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. “Snow may mix with sleet late in the morning around the District and especially points east to the south. The transition from snow to a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain progresses northward in the afternoon.”

Heavy snow will mix with and then change to sleet and freezing rain during the watch period, according to the National Weather Service. The transition from snow to sleet to freezing rain to rain will likely occur midday on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast discussion.

“There is the potential for a significant snowfall prior to the changeover,” weather officials said. “Then, as temperatures warm aloft and cold air is trapped at the surface, a period of accumulating freezing rain will follow.”

The winter storm watch is effective from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Travel could be very difficult, according to a hazardous weather outlook, particularly during the morning or evening commute.

In addition to DC and Virginia, much of Maryland and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia are under the winter storm warning through Wednesday night.

Here’s the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Northwest wind around 8 mph.

Tuesday Night: Snow after 4am. Low around 30. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday: Snow before 1pm, then freezing rain and sleet between 1pm and 4pm, then rain after 4pm. High near 34. East wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Wednesday Night: Rain. Low around 33. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Thursday: Rain likely, mainly before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.

Friday: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday Night: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 40. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Sunday: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 60%.