Some residents of the D.C. area saw snowflakes this weekend — but cold rain in the forecast washed out hopes for a winter wonderland near the Beltway.
The winter storm was moving out of the region on Saturday night, but before it did, it left light snow and some sleet before it changed into all rain for much of the area. Highs were in mid- to upper 30s.
"We could see rain and snow coming down at a pretty good rate at times," Storm Team4 Meteorologist Amelia Draper said.
Areas to the north and west of the D.C. metro area saw the largest effects of the storm and the most frozen precipitation. Loudoun County, Virginia, public schools canceled on-campus activities and announced administrative officers would be closed Saturday.
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Fairfax County and Fauquier County schools in Virginia followed suit, also closing on-campus activities for Saturday. In Maryland, Frederick Community College canceled classes and closed its campus for the day.
Storm Team4 predicts:
- Little to no accumulation in the D.C. metro area
- 1-3 inches of snow north and west of D.C., for Warrenton up through Leesburg to Frederick
- 3 to 6 inches of snow and some ice further north and west, in the I-81 corridor.
Here’s where snow and rain are expected
Latest weather forecast, live radar and weather maps for Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Red zone: Along the I-81 corridor and up to Frederick County, Maryland is where the storm will have the biggest impacts. Snow is expected to arrive in the morning and continue into the afternoon. Even in this zone, the storm will likely end with rain.
But there's also the chance for some ice in these areas north and west of D.C., including the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Hagerstown area.
Yellow Zone: Between Washington; most of Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince William counties and down through Stafford and Fauquier counties, expect a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and/or snow.
“We're looking at a mix of rain and snow changing over to all rain by the midday and afternoon hours” on Saturday, Draper said.
Green zone: In southern Maryland, central and southern Prince George's County and up through Anne Arundel County, you're dealing with mainly rain.
“Could you see a few snowflakes? Absolutely,” Draper said. “But this is just going to be, for the most part, a rainy chilly day for those of you east of I-95.”
Timing and snow totals
By 9 a.m. Saturday, we saw a wintry mix across the area, dropping mainly wet snow around D.C. and areas to the north.
By midday, the rain and snow line was in play right along the I-95 corridor. The D.C. area saw a shift to mostly rain in the afternoon.
But residents further west, in places like Purcelville and Clear Brooke, Virginia; Walkersville and Corriganville, Maryland; and Petersburg, West Virginia, snow began to accumulate by lunchtime.
Rain will exit as we head into nighttime, but there could be a lingering shower or some lingering snow showers out there on Sunday.
We're talking about a lot of moisture: Nearly an inch of precipitation could fall in D.C. and its immediate suburbs.
Unfortunately for snow lovers, most of this precipitation will be rain.
If this storm system was all snow, we'd be talking about nearly a foot of snow across the area. But surface temperatures will be too warm, among other factors.
Winter weather advisory issued for parts of Maryland and Virginia
A winter weather advisory will be in effect from Saturday morning through the evening in areas all around D.C., including:
- Spotsylvania County, VA
- Orange County, VA
- Greene County, VA
- Culpeper County, VA
- Madison County, VA
- Stafford County, VA
- Central and Southeast Prince William County/Manassas/Manassas Park, VA
- Fairfax County, VA
- Rappahannock County, VA
- Northern Fauquier County, VA
- Northwest Prince William County, VA
- Eastern Loudoun County, VA
- Western Loudoun County, VA
- Central and Southeast Montgomery County, MD
- Central and Southeast Howard County, MD
Roads could be slippery in these areas, the National Weather Service warned.
A winter storm watch was issued for the I-81 corridor, including Winchester and Luray.
In Frederick, Maryland, state police activated the county's Snow Emergency Plan on Saturday afternoon, designating a series of highways as snow emergency routes and requiring drivers to use snow tires.