How Snow Will Impact Monday's Commute

WASHINGTON — Snow will be knocking on our door just in time for the Monday morning commute. The region is not expected to see that much snow, but it could impact the Monday morning commute and you could find a few school delays out there — so let’s break down the details.

How the storm will develop

Temperatures Sunday warmed well into the 40s, which is above freezing. There were a few flurries in the morning, and rain and snow showers are expected to develop after 3 or 4 p.m. These will be highly isolated, but, again, they will be out there. Forecasters do not expect any problems on the roadways Sunday evening because crews started treating local roads as early as Sunday morning. Temperature factor also is a key factor. With daytime highs in the 40s for the past two days, road temperatures are rather warm (in the 40s and 50s), so any snow we do see Sunday night will likely melt on contact. Therefore, expect wet roads as you travel around Sunday night.

An area of low pressure will track through Virginia on Sunday night on its way to Southern Maryland and will eventually head northeast towards the Delmarva Peninsula. This will provide the best chance of snow as temperatures drop. More widespread snow showers will develop after midnight and continue through about daybreak Monday. This will be the time to see some accumulation on the roads.

How much snow could we see?

All in all, a coating of up to an inch of snow accumulation is expected by Monday morning; however, some areas south and east of D.C. could see just slightly more as the area of low pressure intensifies as it moves off the coast. The best chance for some accumulating snowfall will be within the Greater Washington area and locations to the south and east. Shenandoah Valley and areas north and west of D.C. will likely see less than an inch of snowfall accumulation.

If you are traveling out of Southern Maryland on Monday, leave yourself some extra time in the morning. There could be some delays around the region, but very few cancelations. Winds will pick up through the day Monday, and the region could continue to see a few snow showers through the day; but additional accumulation is not expected. It will be downright blustery Monday with wind chills in the 20s and air temperatures in the 30s.

What to expect on the roads

Road crews in the D.C. region have been working since 6 a.m. Sunday putting down salt brine and preparing the pavement for the expected snow.

“That will help a little bit to prevent the snow from sticking when it begins to fall overnight,” said Jennifer McCord, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Virginia transportation officials have asked drivers to keep an eye — and ear — on the weather forecasts in case the storm’s timing or intensity changes. Transportation officials have also asked drivers to allot extra time to get to work and to not overdrive in dangerous conditions.

Ice is not expected to be a major issue, but it may form during any winter storm event. To prepare, trucks loaded with salt and sand will be staged along highways across the region by 10 p.m. Sunday.

“We just ask residents and commuters coming into the District to be careful,” D.C. Department of Public Works Director Chris Shorter said. Crews in the District have been busy tackling most streets, roads and highways, especially the bridges and overpasses.

Timing was almost always an issue with these smaller snow storms, officials said.

“It’s often these little snows that are the real problem storms because it happens right during the morning rush hour, and that’s what’s going to happen overnight tonight into Monday morning,” Charlie Gischlar said, a spokesman for Maryland State Highway Administration.

He recommended taking an alternate way into work, if possible.

“If you can, maybe even use mass transit, Metro, something like that,” Gischlar said. He said that will give road crews more room to keep the roads clear of any snow, slush or ice during rush hour.

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