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Snow in the D.C. area Wednesday; Send your pictures!

Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:58:00 EST
Alex Liggitt


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1:07pm: Snow is beginning to taper off in spots already but light precipitation will continue to fall over the next few hours. Any additional accumulations will be very light in nature and no additional accumulations are expected on the roads with temperatures mainly above freezing.

You can find the latest snowfall reports here

Snow in Berkeley Springs, WV from Chuck Marsh

11:25am Update:  The transition to snow has occurred across the majority of the D.C. Metro. Heavy snow is being reported across much of the metro which has caused visibilities to plunge to a quarter of a mile in spots. The Dulles Toll Road recently reported some slushy road conditions in spots and crews have been dispatched to treat the roadways. Here's a look at the latest Doppler radar image.

Live Super Doppler Radar as of 11:30am

We are still thinking snow will end later on this afternoon closer to 3pm west of D.C. and 4pm around the Metro.

10am Update: Rain will continue to be likely along and east of I-95. Wet snowflakes will mix in at times with a better chance for flakes closer to Noon through the early afternoon hours.

Areas west of I-95 will continue to see wet snow, with the potential for rates of a half on an inch to an inch per hour in some locations. Current temperatures are mainly above freezing at the surface, so snowfall rates will need to be heavy in order for accumulations on the road surfaces.

We have been seeing many areas still experiencing accumulating snow on the roads, even as close as Leesburg, VA. We will continue to keep you posted with the latest snowfall totals, where it is and when it will end. As of now, snow and rain looks to end by 3 or 4pm this afternoon.


Snow slows Thanksgiving travel; D.C. area warnings lifted

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:58:29 EST
The Associated Press, Brad Bell, Horace Holmes, Jay Korff, Tom Roussey, Stephen Tschida

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday as millions of Americans made the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways sloppy along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor.

More than 600 flights were canceled, the bulk of them in the Northeast. Thousands of flight delays on what is easily one of the busiest travel days of the year were also occurred as the snow spread.

Some travelers tried to change their plans and take earlier flights as major airlines waived their re-booking fees. But most planes were already filled.

Major Northeast cities saw moderate to heavy rain most of the day, although D.C. got a dusting of snow.

The heaviest snow accumulations in the D.C. region occurred north and west of the city, with elevations west of the Interstate 95 corridor seeing 6 inches or more before the nor'easter exited on Wednesday evening.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for Frederick and Loudoun counties and a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery, Fairfax and Prince William counties. Those alerts were lifted as of 6 p.m.

A snowfall of up to 7 inches across central and western Maryland made highway travel difficult on the day before Thanksgiving; police reported numerous accidents on slippery roads in Frederick County.

Dan Albert had hoped to beat the snow as he, his wife and 15-year-old daughter refueled their SUV Wednesday morning along I-81 in Hagerstown, Maryland, on their way to their Thanksgiving destination in New Jersey.

"Got to see the folks. We only get to see them once a year. Got to muscle through it, right?" Albert said. He did hit some snow later in the day, but said it was no match for the Chevrolet Suburban he rented.

An estimated 41.3 million travelers were hitting the nation's highways for Thanksgiving holiday travel, a 4.3 percent increase over last year, according to AAA.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said its highway crews were out in full force with snow plows where needed.

DOT officials said they couldn't pretreat the highways because the storm started as rain, which would've just washed the brine away. As the rain changed over to snow, there were accumulations of anywhere from an inch to six inches across Virginia.

The wintry weather was not confined to the Northeast. An Alberta clipper impacted the upper Midwest, leaving many highways in North and South Dakota slick, and a Winter Storm Warning in effect for parts of Minnesota.

UPDATE: Chances of Season's First Snowfall and Forecast Totals

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:44:00 EST
Jacqui Jeras

Today will be a fabulous weather day to travel if you have the ability to adjust your plans at all. All signs are leading to a major travel headache for D.C. and throughout the Megalopolis for Wednesday all day long. We are officially on Stormwatch now. Here are the latest warnings and advisories for our area.

Winter Storm Watch
The pink area is under a warning and most likely to have the heaviest snowfall totals that could reach 6" or more. In the advisory snow will only be a few inches. As new information from computer models continue to pour in, we still have some variations on the solution, so it makes for a tricky one. No big surprise, this is D.C.  Let's start with timing. Here is a look at the most recent Futurecast7 model of the start of rain, transition to snow and sharp ending.
ABC7 Futurecast

The models depict a cold rain to start, mix by late morning, with some hovering or the transition line around I-95 and then ending with snow.

Here are the big three things that you need to know:


1)  Starts as rain before dawn, changes to rain/snow mid-late morning, finishes as snow before evening commute.

2) Little-to-no accumulation is expected inside beltway, mainly just wet Roads. If snow rate is heavy enough, up to a slushy 1/2" or inch possible. Watch for slick spots after dark temperatures start around 40 and end just above freezing. Fairfax and Montgomery Counties may see 1-2".

3) Heaviest precipitation will be between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Impact for Potomac Highlands and Mountains:

1) May start as wintry mix or snow in the morning.

2) Snow totals are likely 3-6" with isolated spots getting more.

3) Hazardous roads much of the day. Ending mid-afternoon, but slick spots will stay unless roads are treated.

Challenge: Temperatures. Through the duration of the storm, temperatures are currently forecast to be above freezing in the close-in metro. We've been very warm the past few days, so snow will melt on contact for a while.  There is no arctic air in place, but the storm will create it's own cold. How much is still somewhat in question. Bottom line is that confidence is moderate on this storm and these forecast totals could go up or down still.  Here is my latest forecast snow totals map.

ABC7 Snowfall Forecast Wednesday

Make sure you join ABC7's Stormteam of meteorologists today from Noon-6:30 p.m. on Facebook.  We will take your questions in a live Q & A session about the storm and travel across the country.

Weather drones track a hurricane's every move

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 21:01:32 EST
Doug Hill

Winter storm on the menu for Thanksgiving travelers in the D.C. region

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:56:07 EST
The Associated Press, Kendis Gibson, ABC 7 News, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - A nor'easter is expected to develop Wednesday along the East Coast just as millions of travelers are heading to their Thanksgiving destinations.

"I would pack your patience," said Robert Sinclair Jr. of AAA.

The storm, forecast to dump rain along the I- 95 corridor and snow in the higher elevations, could cause delays at the region's airports and for motorists along area highways.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday for points to the north and west of the D.C. metro area, saying rain may mix with or change to snow. The NWS also said mountain elevations would likely see accumulating snow.

Officials at the three major airports in the D.C. area - Reagan National, Dulles and BWI - said they were monitoring the weather forecasts carefully and were ready to take action if needed.

Sinclair noted that an estimated 41.3 million travelers were expected to hit the nation's highways for the holiday weekend. That's a 4.3 percent increase over last year.

Sinclair suggested travelers consider going on Tuesday or Thursday, instead of Wednesday, if they can.

Coastal Storm with Big Travel Impact Imminent for D.C. on Wednesday

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:15:00 EST

It seemed unlikely last week, but now it is almost certain that D.C. will see a strong storm on Wednesday that will bring the first snowfall of the season. The timing couldn't be worse for Thanksgiving travelers. There are still many elements that have to come together. Here is what we know right now.

A cold front will pass our region tonight and stall just to our east in the Atlantic Ocean. Low pressure will develop near the Carolinas Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and head up the coast. It will pull in colder air from the northwest and moisture from the Atlantic to make a travel headache for millions of Americans from D.C. to New England. All of the weather computer models have predicted that there will be a strong coastal storm, but they differ on the exact track. This means it is still uncertain where the rain/snow line is and how much snow could accumulate.

Possible Computer Model Storm Tracks

What can we expect in the D.C metro? Right now, I expect temperatures to be in the 40s when we wake up on Wednesday, leading to the onset of precipitation as a cold rain. As temperatures drop, it will transition to snow in the afternoon. Because of the borderline temperatures at the surface and warm ground with today's record heat, it is going to be tough to get snow to accumulate on roads inside the beltway. Minor accumulations are possible on grassy areas, but the snow rates will have to be very heavy for that to happen.

Potomac Highlands/Blue Ridge/Mountains: Temperatures are key here too with upper 30s possible to start the day as moisture moves in. A rain/snow mix is possible to start with before transitioning to snow by late morning or early afternoon. With falling temperatures and elevation, snow will likely accumulate here. It's too soon to put numbers on this, but we may need a whole hand to count the number of inches that accumulate. As temperatures drop further after sunset, roads will become icy.

Computer models are showing a very wide range of possible accumulations. We will have a better idea Tuesday morning so stay tuned for snow band maps. Here is a look at a probability graphic of 1" of snow or more accumulating from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.

Percentage of Probability of 1" of Snow or More- NOAA

The storm will exit late Wednesday or very early Thursday morning with wrap around snow showers in the mountains. The rest of Thursday will be clear and cold with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s. A good day to turn on the oven and cook a bird and stay indoors. The rest of the holiday weekend is looking calm and cool.

Warming Up on Monday but Uncertainty Comes Mid-Next Week

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:33:00 EST

Get ready for a warm up-and I believe that is something we can all latch on to given the bitterly cold air more normal for January that moved into our area of the last week. However, after some evening rain on Sunday, we will warm up nicely on Monday – into the lower 70s in some spots!

Caption: Temperatures warm to around 70 degrees on Monday

However, a cold front will sweep on through on Monday night into Tuesday morning and that will gradually bring an end to our mini warm up. Tuesday should be a fairly quiet day as temperatures will still top out in the mid to upper 50s with sunshine however, as we head into Wednesday, we could see some changes.
Since this is several days away, the forecast confidence is low for mid next week but given it is one of the busiest travel days of the year, I want to go ahead and tell you what we’re looking it. Temperatures will continue to fall below normal on Wednesday and Thursday (Thanksgiving)-most likely topping out in the mid to upper 40s.

The frontal system that passes through the area on Tuesday morning will stall out off the eastern seaboard. The models are hinting at an area of low pressure forming along the stalled frontal boundary and moving north along it. The question will remain: how close to the coast can that area of low pressure get? If we see a shift westward, then we could have some rain/snow along the eastern seaboard on Wednesday (D.C. area included). However, if it keeps veering out to sea, there is a good chance of not seeing anything expect a dry day here. Obviously this will be something we continue to watch as we head into next week.

As far as the rest of the U.S. is concerned for travel, there are no major storms across the region mid-next week. There could be a clipper system that dives southeast out of northwestern Canada that could bring some light snow showers to the Great Lakes region and Upper Plains (this could include any Chicago airports) – however, any snow associated with that looks to be light.

Until then, just enjoy the weekend and we’ll keep an eye on the weather!

Voracious sunspot could impact us on Earth

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:22:00 EST

When the sunspot faced Earth last month it was the largest one on record in nearly a quarter century. What impacts could it have on us and is there anything we can do to prepare for it? Check out my one-on-one interview with NASA Solar Astrophysicist Dr. Alex Young.

Record cold across the D.C. area Wednesday morning

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:07:00 EST

Record lows were broken at both Dulles and BWI Marshall last night. Dulles broke the record of 20F set back in 1990 by 7 degrees as the location plunged to 13F this morning. BWI Marshall broke its record of 20F set in 1936 as they dropped to 19F this morning. Reagan National, which hasn't broken any record lows between November and March since 1996 was close, but still failed to break the record of 18F this morning as it only fell to 22F.

Record Lows at Dulles and BWI Marshall Wednesday morning

 A number of other records were broken across the country this morning as well. Here are a few cities that also broke or tied low temperature records. You can find a bigger list of all kinds of records from the NWS here.

Elkins, WV: 12F (Old record 14F-1990)

Richmond, VA: 18F (Tied 1936)

Philadelphia, PA: 20F (Tied 1936)

Morgantown, WV: 16F (Old record 19F-1989)

Charleston, SC: 23F (Old record 27F-1949)

Savannah, GA: 26F (Old record 27F-2008)

Jacksonville, FL: 27F (Old record 28F-2008)

New Orleans, LA: 31F (Tied-1946)

While it was freezing in the central and eastern U.S., the opposite is happening in parts of Alaska, with record highs broken in both Anchorage and Nome yesterday.

Temperatures will begin to moderate tomorrow as they settle back into the mid 40s, but another brief cold push is expected Friday before a milder weekend ahead. Just to put this cold in perspective, today will be the earliest day with highs below 40 degrees at Reagan National since 1996. Basically, this is the coldest it's been this early in the season in 18 years. I don't think anyone I've spoken to has missed the cold!

Dulles sees record low cold temperatures, Baltimore matches record

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:50:40 EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington-Baltimore region hit record-low temperatures on Wednesday.

Dulles International Airport dipped down to 13 degrees Wednesday morning. That shattered the previous record low for Nov. 19 - 20 degrees in 1990.

The Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport also beat its previous record, set back in 1936. The temperature at the airport fell to 19 degrees Wednesday morning. That's 1 degree colder than the previous record of 20 degrees.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport remained shy of its record low, set back in the 1800s.

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray declared a cold-weather emergency on Tuesday. That allows the District to implement additional measures beyond traditional shelters for the city's homeless, such as warming sites.

More seasonable temperatures are forecast for the rest of the week.

Arctic Blast Brings Record Challenging Temperatures Tonight and Wednesday

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:49:00 EST

Today's bitter arctic blast brought us the coldest air of the season so far and beats last week's cold by about ten degrees. D.C. dropped down into the 20s for the first time and wind chill temperatures were down in the the teens and even single digits in a few spots.

Lows this Morning

Believe it or not, our high temperature actually happened at midnight with 42 degrees and then plummeting temperatures through sunrise. This afternoon will recover a bit, but temperatures only warm a few notches in the low to mid 30s. That is more typical of January temperatures! And it isn't just the temperatures making it feel unreasonably cold. Gusty winds will keep our wind chill factor in the 20s all day long. Wind gusts will reach 25 to 30mph at times. Here's a look at ABC7's computer model forecast wind chill temperatures this afternoon.

Forecast Wind Chill this Afternoon

The wind will diminish after sunset, so that will help, but clear skies means a cold night ahead. Record lows are in jeopardy tonight. The record low for Dulles is 20. I'm expecting to meet or just break that record. Reagan National's record low is 18, and I think we'll miss that by just a few.

Lows Wednesday Morning

Additional records may be set Wednesday afternoon. Highs will only reach the low to mid 30s. We could have the coldest high temperature on record for the date. Here at the stats for that.

Record Cold Highs Wednesday?

By Thursday, we start a slow recovery with temperatures back in the 40s. A dry cold front will pass our area, but won't bring the temperatures down too much more on Friday. For those of you hating on the cold, we'll reach near average temps in the mid 50s late this weekend and should easily top 60 on Monday. The warmer temperatures won't stop there.


6-10 Day Temperature Probability

The 6-10 day outlook has much above average temperatures for the Mid-Atlantic and that should last into the first part of December. Hang in there!

Bundle up! Near record cold temps for Wednesday morning in region

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:18:06 EST

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