Storm Team4

Season's 1st snowfall in DC area leads to school delays

Wet roads and some slushy spots are possible. Some school districts announced a two-hour delay due to the snowy weather

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Heavy, wet snow fell in the Washington, D.C., area on Monday morning in the first significant snow of the season.

A white coating on grassy areas and some enormous falling snowflakes were seen by early risers.⁠ But don’t expect a long-lasting winter wonderland: Snow was finished before most people took their morning coffee break.

Snow totals ranged from under a half-inch to 1.5 inches in the areas farther outside the Beltway, including Prince William County and upper Montgomery County, according to the National Weather Service.

After a nearly snow-free winter last year – D.C. got a measly 0.4" all season – drivers had to again wipe snow and sometimes ice off their cars. Some slushiness was seen on roads early Monday.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer cautioned drivers to use caution on untreated roads or elevated surfaces including bridges and overpasses, which could be slick.

Public schools in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, plus Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties in Virginia were among those who started late because of the snowy weather. Here’s a full list of school delays.

“It looks scarier than it is going to be,” Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell said. "On the whole, roads are just wet."

Temperatures were near-freezing early Monday and forecasted highs are in the mid-40s. By Monday afternoon, clouds will be long gone and blustery wind will take over. Here’s the Storm Team4 forecast.

Little, if any, evidence of snow will be visible by Monday evening, Bell said.

But about 4 a.m., snowflakes were coming down hard in parts of the region.

Photos show a dusting of white in Rockville and thick flakes falling in Waldorf.

By 6 a.m., the snow turned into a wet wintry mix in Upper Marlboro. Snow remained on grassy areas and parked cars, but melted on Maryland Route 301, leaving wet driving conditions.

On Interstate 270 in the Rockville area, slush along the shoulders of the highway was gone and traffic was running as normal, even with wet roads.

Parts of Montgomery County had some of the highest snow totals in the region: Damascus reported 2.5 inches in one reading and Gaithersburg measured about 1.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

In Prince William County, Manassas and Dale City reported about an inch of snow. In Fairfax County, Mount Vernon, Vienna and Chantilly each had reports of more than an inch of snowfall.

The snow comes after a rainy Sunday with 1 to 1.5 inches of rain in the D.C. area.

D.C.'s burst of snow came on the early side this year. The average first snowfall occurs on Dec. 20, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Ryan Miller said.

Does that signal a snowy season to come? Maybe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently predicting above-average temperatures for our region this winter, and Storm Team4 agrees with this. They are also predicting above-average precipitation in our region — and we agree with this as well.

El Niño has set up in the equatorial Pacific, and that could lead to more snow, including the potential for some big snowstorms. El Niño has a profound influence on the weather around the globe. In our area, it normally means more snow.

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