What to Know
- A winter storm is set to hit the D.C. area and could drop 2-5 inches of snow on Sunday evening before shifting to sleet and rain during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.
- The largest snow totals are for areas along Interstate 81 and the Shenandoah Valley, where a winter storm watch was issued.
- The storm is set to move out Monday but travel impacts and rough road conditions could continue into Tuesday.
A winter storm is set to dump snow, rain and sleet in the Washington, D.C., area Sunday and early Monday, and travel impacts could linger into Tuesday.
The D.C. area could see several inches of snow Sunday afternoon before the storm shifts to sleet and rain, Storm Team4 says.
Areas near Interstate 81 and the Shenandoah Valley could see 6-12 inches or more snow.
A winter storm watch has been issued from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning for areas including Culpeper, northern Fauquier and western Loudoun counties in Virginia and Frederick County, Maryland. Here’s a full list of severe weather alerts.
“It will be a high-impact event no matter how you slice it, and travel impacts are likely to last into Tuesday morning,” Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell said.
On Friday, temperatures are above freezing in the morning and will rise into the 40s. Friday evening is set to turn blustery and cold as an Arctic blast arrives, bringing the cold needed for Sunday’s snow chance.
Bundle up Saturday for temps stuck below freezing all day. Wind chills will be in the teens.
Get your storm preparations done by noon on Sunday, and reconsider plans for travel during the latter part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day long weekend, Bell says.
The storm, which was dubbed winter storm Izzy by The Weather Channel, is expected Sunday afternoon to Monday morning.
What time is it supposed to snow Sunday?
For areas near D.C., expect the winter storm to arrive after noon Sunday. Due to the cold air in place, it will start as all snow and a quick 2 to 5 inches of accumulation are possible by 6 p.m. Sunday.
By Sunday evening, areas east of Interstate 95 may see a shift to rain and sleet as warm air pushes the rain-snow line back to the Blue Ridge.
A pocket of dry air could limit the amount of precipitation and freezing in Southern Maryland.
Rain and snow are likely to end by noon on Monday. Sunday night and Monday will be windy before a solid re-freezing Monday night, setting up potentially treacherous travel on Tuesday.
How much snow is expected Sunday and Monday in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia?
There are still many areas of uncertainty in this forecast, but confidence continues to increase in the snow totals.
In the D.C. metro area — the 10 miles around the Capital Beltway — 3 inches of snow is likely. Here’s the breakdown from Storm Team4:
- 80% chance D.C. metro gets 3 inches of snow
- 30% chance D.C. metro gets 6 inches of snow
- 10% chance D.C. metro gets 8 inches of snow
About 5 to 9 inches of snow are possible for areas including parts of Fauquier and Loudoun counties in Virginia and Frederick County, Maryland, the National Weather Service says.
The heaviest and longest snowfall is expected along Interstate 81 and in the Shenandoah Valley. Here’s what is possible, according to Storm Team4:
- 80% chance of 6 inches or more snow
- 60% chance of 9 inches or more snow
- 30% chance of 12 inches or more snow
How to prepare for a winter storm and road conditions
Road conditions will likely be better if the storm begins as all-snow because chemicals on the roads should be more effective than they were during the Jan. 3 snowstorm, which began with rain. Plus, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday on Monday means fewer commuters and more space for road crews to work.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is treating roads ahead of the snow and ice. The agency is trying to avoid a repeat of the fiasco on Interstate 95 seen almost two weeks ago, when thousands of drivers were trapped, some for 24 hours.
Take advantage of the next few days to be as storm-ready as you can. Fill up your car’s gas tank, visit the grocery store or pharmacy and prepare de-icing materials for steps and sidewalks.