The potential for this weekend’s winter storm threatens the DC region

Meteorologists are monitoring forecasts for another storm in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast area from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Bitter cold returns Friday night, meaning Sunday’s storm starts around noon with snow for most. “With all eyes on a winter storm on Sunday, take advantage of the calm weather we have today to start storm preparations,” said Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell.

January turns out to be a blessing for the DC region’s winter weather lovers, with a chance for more snow in store for this weekend.

Meteorologists are monitoring forecasts for another storm in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast area from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Bitter cold returns Friday night, meaning Sunday’s storm starts around noon with snow for most.

But as with so many winter storms, computer models are in significant disagreement about the storm’s ultimate path. Forecasts show a sharp split between the storm’s hot and cold halves over the Interstate 95 corridor: A right turn would lead to a longer period of snowfall for DC and Baltimore actually, while a left turn would see a change to rain outside Northern Maryland and Blue Ridge.

“With all eyes on a winter storm on Sunday, take advantage of the calm weather we have today to start storm preparations,” said Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell. “Simple things like keeping your car’s gas tank full, refilling all necessary medicine, having de-icing materials for your steps and sidewalks, and moving any itinerary Sunday night or Monday morning if possible.”



Models bring the main center of the low-pressure system along or straight into the land of the shoreline, placing the rain-snow line almost directly on top of I-95. But despite persistent uncertainty, there is great confidence that at least some snow will fall on Sunday night before a transition to rain. The plows are likely to be busy for a period of time and the roads are slippery.

“It’s too early to predict exact totals, but there’s an 80% chance of plowing snow for most (if not all) of the area,” Bell said. “The timing of the storm, a Sunday night before a federal holiday on Monday, will dramatically reduce the number of people who ‘should’ be on the roads. This will allow road crews to better keep up with plowing tasks and should reduce the duration of travel problems. “

High totals are expected for regions far enough away from the rain-snow line that cold air will remain anchored. Residents of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Shenandoah Valley and Northern Maryland could get up to a foot of snow from this storm. As of Thursday, the National Weather Service predicts a moderate to large impact event along and west of I-81.

Key points from the National Weather Service from Thursday on Sunday’s storm. (Courtesy of NOAA / NWS)

The Virginia Department of Transportation is not taking chances, especially after delays on I-95 near Stafford County stranded drivers for several hours last week.

VDOT said crews will begin pre-treating I-95 around Fredericksburg, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula Thursday morning in preparation for the possibility of snow and ice arriving.

Transport officials apologized for what happened, saying there is an action report across agencies being put together that reviews what actions were taken before and during the storm, and what lessons can be learned going forward.


Forecast:

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and seasonal. A sprinkle possible. Higher in the upper 40s.

Thursday evening: Mostly cloudy and dry. Windy, with downturns in the mid-30s.

Friday: Morning clouds and afternoon sunshine. Blustery and getting colder, with highlights in the low 40s.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy. Freezing and windy. Higher in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Sunday: Snow sets in around noon, with a winter mix or rain possible after dark. Highlights in the mid-30s.


Current conditions:

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.

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