Snow Mas! Record-Breaking Blizzard Exits Area

Blizzard warning issued

The heavy snow has stopped falling, and except for a few lingering bands, the snowstorm almost has left the D.C. area entirely, but you can't always tell thanks to the wind.

Strong wind gusts created whiteout conditions throughout the day Wednesday and continue threatening to make huge snow drifts.

On Wednesday morning the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the Washington region until 7 p.m. It was extended to 10 p.m. for D.C. and Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary's counties in Maryland. Previously, a winter storm warning was in effect.

All jurisdictions advised people not to drive in the snow, as road conditions are deteriorating -- and they weren't very good to start with.

Meanwhile, the District set a winter record for total snowfall. By 2 p.m., D.C. had broken the 1898-1899 seasonal record of 54.4 inches.

That means D.C. has gotten more than a foot more snow than the more snow-familiar city of Denver has had this year (41.4 inches).

NBC4's meteorologists predicted 10-15 inches of mostly snow in D.C. and the near suburbs, 15-20 inches further north, and 5-10 inches of snow south of the D.C. area. By noon Wednesday, eight inches of snow had fallen on D.C.

Visibility was a quarter mile to a half mile throughout the area at midday, with wind gusts up to 30 mph in D.C., down from about 45 mph earlier Wednesday. Temperatures were in the low 20s with wind chills in single digits.

The wind could cause considerable blowing and drifting of snow through the night, with drifts reaching 6 feet.

Light snow began falling in the District before 4 p.m. Tuesday. The storm brought a wintry mix to the D.C. area Tuesday, but that mix moved into southern Maryland later Tuesday. It turned back to all snow Wednesday morning, NBC4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said.

NBC4 meteorologist Tom Kierein said major storms like the ones we've already this winter occur in the D.C. area about once every 10 years.  But this storm was our third in about six weeks.

Stay with NBC4 and for updates.

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