News: Four to eight inches of snow expected in nation’s capital
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON – The National Weather Service Sterling, Va. Forecast Office predicts four to eight inches of snow to fall in the National Capital Region on Tuesday.
The snow is forecast to begin falling between 8-10 a.m. and intensify in the four to six-hour period before the early afternoon, with rates of one to two inches per hour.
At press time, the status of federal offices is being decided upon by the Office of Personnel Management. Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling follows OPM guidance. Non-essential or non-emergency personnel should monitor the media and OPM for its decision and guidance.
The heaviest band of snow is likely to be someplace within the NCR, but it is too early to predict the area in which it will occur. That location will become better defined and easier to predict as the storm gets closer, according to an NWS forecaster who provided detailed information to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and other agencies.
Two to four inches of snow is predicted to have fallen by the afternoon rush hour, with another two to four inches predicted to fall throughout the rush hour. The snow is predicted to end mid to late evening on Tuesday.
“Confidence is high that this will be an all snow event. We do not predict sleet or rain,” the forecaster stated.
The current high pressure area over the NCR will be replaced by a cold front moving south from Pennsylvania and a strong disturbance form low pressure areas in the Plains states will combine overnight, bringing cold air into the NCR.
Cold air will rush into the NCR tonight. Temperatures will fall sharply tonight.
The snow is expected to stick as it falls, due to the fast drop in temperatures, bringing them below freezing by 3-5 a.m.
Temperatures will continue to fall throughout Tuesday and after dark, before they arrive in the teens as the snow fall tapers off.
Tuesday’s winds are forecast at 5-10 mph, increasing to 10-15 mph, with gusts as high as 25-30 mph during the afternoon and evening.
Blowing snow will be a challenge in the afternoon and after the snow stops falling, the forecaster said.
Wind chills as cold as minus 10 or minus 15 degrees are possible Tuesday evening, according to the forecaster.
Temperatures will remain cold throughout the work week and are not expected to be above freezing before Saturday.
Area road and transit crews are gearing up to meet the storm’s challenges. Road crews have begun pretreating roadways and bridges.
Virginia’s Department of Transportation will mobilize to its highest level of activation by 4 a.m., with some 4,000 trucks deployed. District of Columbia DOT full activation begins at 4 a.m. and Maryland’s DOT full activation begins at 1 a.m.
Even with all of the pretreating and vast resources being deployed, road crews predict they may have difficulty keeping up with the storm and caution that some roads and driving conditions will be extremely hazardous, in spite of their best efforts, according to one official.