Today was the official first full day of Spring but the climate models suggest a slow start to the season with periods of cooler than average temperatures through about mid April. The Chesapeake Bay waters and ocean temperatures are running cooler than normal after a brutally cold winter. Add to the fact that our last average frost/freeze occurs around mid-April … patience would be wise before planting frost/freeze sensitive plants.
Rain will begin falling between 2 and 4 AM Friday morning. The rain will change over to snow from northwest to southeast.
Snow will likely begin falling inside the Capital Beltway between 6 and 8 AM, (sooner in the northwestern suburbs) with predominantly rain across the southern and eastern suburbs (Stafford eastward to southern Maryland).
The latest forecast models are surprisingly bullish with snowfall accumulations Thursday night & Friday. Several hours of moderate to heavy snow is likely between 4 and 10 AM Friday.
In the immediate Metro Area I expect a general 1 to 2″ of snow on grassy surfaces.
The northern and western suburbs can expect 2 to 4″ of snow on grassy surfaces with slick travel conditions on untreated roadways during the morning rush hour.
Elevations above 1500 feet including the Blue Ridge, Bull Run Mountains, Sugarloaf, Catoctins, and locations across northern Maryland could pick up over 4 inches of snow with this storm.
Snow will gradually change over to rain across much of the region during the afternoon hours. Snow will hang on the longest across northern Maryland. There will likely be some delays and closings in the typical colder locations on Friday morning.
Unless the coastal storm rapidly deepens overnight on Thursday, the likelihood of accumulations is fairly low this time of year outside of higher elevations in the Potomac Highlands and grassy surfaces in the northern and western suburbs of Washington.
Let’s take a look at the latest GFS and Snowfall Accumulation forecasts…
The European and GFS (American – Global Forecast System) models are in basic agreement that a storm system will track through the Mid South on Thursday as an area of low pressure develops off of the North Carolina Outer Banks before tracking northeast. This system has the potential to deliver some accumulating snow from Northern Virginia to New England.
How much snow could fall? Let’s look at the latest forecast models…