Heavy snow is expected to continue to fall Tuesday evening, with some areas picking up another one to three inches after 7 p.m. as the area wrestles with a stubborn, snowy winter storm.
Falling temperatures and climbing winds will continue to add to the weather misery. Some winds will gust to 30 mph, said Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said.
The combination makes it particularly hard to keep roads clear.
"Whatever falls is going to stay on roads," Kammerer said, "and even if the roads are cleared, the wind will blow the very dry snow back on roads."
Tuesday's winter storm warning went into effect for the D.C. area at 7 a.m., and will last until 11 p.m.
Some schools, including those in Montgomery County, Fairfax County, Culpeper County, Fauquier County, Manassas City, Fredericksburg and Howard County, have already announced they will be closed Wednesday.
Public officials are asking people to stay off the roads if possible because the roads are deceptively slippery.
"We've had about 80+ calls for personal injury collisions today," said Scott Graham, assistant chief of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. "Some of which have been very minor... turning out to be property damage; some more significant, with minor traumatic injuries, vehicles overturning."
The weather conditions are "very deceptive, and people aren't used to driving in this," he told News4's Chris Gordon.
This winter storm is expected to bring more snow than we've seen at one time in the past three years. However, snowfall rates will likely vary amounts as bands of lighter and heavier snow move across the region.
"It's sticking very quickly, because I've run into a couple of stores, and I come out, and I have to do this all over again," said one woman who had to keep clearing snow from her car.
Even as the snow was already falling Tuesday, Leesburg residents were out running errands to prepare for the snow. "Filling up [on gas]. It's cold, it's snowy, it's going to be a 'blizzard,' and so, we've got to get gas in the car," one man told News4's Megan McGrath.
Not everyone was so well-prepared to embrace the snow, though. One man was spotted in a Vienna shopping center wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
"We decided yesterday that we were going to do jort [jean shorts] day at work," said Justin Fitzsimmons. "And it just ended up snowing. It's a little cold, but I had to run to the bank...."
Residents in some of D.C.'s outer suburbs reported seeing their first flakes around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Snow began falling in Northwest D.C. about an hour later, and it reached the southernmost parts of the region around 1 p.m.
Snow won't taper off until around midnight.
Before it's all over, expect snow totals of 4-7 inches in and around D.C.; 3-4 inches in southern Maryland, and 7-10 inches in west central and western Maryland.
So far, we've had a total of 3.4 inches the entire winter season.
Temperatures have fallen throughout the day, from around 30 degrees at Tuesday's start, into the low 20s. Wind chill temperatures will drop to 5 to 10 degrees by 5 p.m. and -5 by midnight as wind gusts could reach 40 mph.
In just the past 24 hours, we've gotten temperatures 20-30 degrees colder than at midday yesterday, Bell said. Wind gusts were up to 30 mph by midday Tuesday.
That's becauses the storm is at the leading edge of polar air that mean temperatures below freezing.
However, salt and plow crews are out on the roads across the region, with more than 200 trucks ready for 12-hour shifts in D.C. The Maryland State Highway Administration said they have more than 800 pieces of equipment on the roads across the state, while 4,000 trucks are at work in Northern Virginia.
TRAVEL: ROAD, RAIL AND AIR
Metro says weather conditions may cause bus service to be delayed, detoured or suspended and trains may run less frequently. Metro says it will give at least three hours' notice before suspending service.
The Maryland Transit Administration says MARC Penn line trains are operating on an "S'' schedule and service is canceled on the Camden and Brunswick lines. MTA's commuter bus service is canceled, except for Route 201.
Virginia Rail Express is also operating on an "S'' schedule.
Amtrak announced late Tuesday it will operate its Northeast Corridor, Keystone and Empire lines on a reduced schedule Wednesday.
By late afternoon Tuesday, about 170 flights out of Reagan National Airport were canceled, as were about 100 flights each at Dulles and BWI. And if you were hoping to depart from BWI tonight, you might be out of luck, reported News4's Adam Tuss -- most flights from BWI will probably not be going anywhere.
What's left of the snow -- and bitter wind chills -- could lead to yet another day of school closures Wednesday. Air temperatures will be in the single digits Wednesday morning, with wind chills in the range of -10 to -20 degrees. It only takes 30 minutes for frostbite to set in at those temperatures.
The first time the weather will rise above freezing will likely be Saturday.
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