Sleet Possible for Thursday Evening

To the chagrin of winter-weary Washingtonians, the Season that Won't End is sending us yet another icy-cold commute Thursday evening.

Sleet is possible as a rain system moves into our region between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., Storm Team4 reported.

Temperatures will fall quickly as the storm approaches, said Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer. They will reach the mid to low 40s, which will turn the rain into a rain/sleet mix.

It's part of a long cool early spring that has lingered in our region. This morning, temperatures in many places were below freezing. This afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia Tech actually cancelled classes Thursday due to snow. The National Weather Service in Blacksburg reported almost 5 inches of snow by 6 p.m., and areas around Blacksburg saw even more.

And we're not alone: Last month, an Ohio prosecutor filed court papers indicting Punxsutawney Phil for fraud for predicting an early spring - and that was before a freak spring storm brought several inches to much of the East Coast.

March 2013 was three degrees below average temperatures, and April is off to a worse start: it's already 5 degrees below average. But it may seem worse because we had the warmest March ever on record last year.

One small benefit to 2013's chilly spring: last year, the pollen levels were off the charts, said Storm Team4 Meteorologist Veronica Johnson.

And how about Washington's other famous blossoms of spring? The cold has kept cherry blossoms from showing up so far - and the National Park Service just pushed back the expectation for peak bloom.

But this storm isn't likely to hurt the blooms. The sleet might "knock the cherry blossoms around a bit," Johnson said, but there would be "no heavy damage."

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