What to Know
- A winter storm is set to drop snow on the D.C. area before shifting to ice 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 warning is in effect.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation urged people to stay off the roads Sunday. Travel impacts will likely continue Monday and possibly Tuesday.
A winter storm brought snow to the D.C. region amid frigid temperatures in the 20s Sunday, later turning into ice and rain.
Storm Team4 has declared a weather alert. A winter storm warning is in effect from Sunday morning to Monday morning for Frederick County, Maryland, and parts of Culpeper, Fauquier and Loudoun counties in Virginia, plus areas along the Blue Ridge mountains, the National Weather Service says.
A severe thunderstorm warning was n effect for Prince George's, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland until 11:30 p.m.
Snow totals of 2-4 inches are expected west of D.C. in areas like Frederick and Loudoun counties, and power outages or falling trees are likely due to ice, the National Weather Service says.
A winter weather advisory was issued from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday. It impacts D.C.; Alexandria, Arlington Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford counties, plus Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia; and Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. Here’s a full list of weather alerts.
Temperatures were 29° in D.C., 26° in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and 20° in Leesburg, Virginia, at 6:45 p.m., and they're going to keep going up. By 11 p.m., D.C. could be looking at 49°, which explains the change in precipitation from snow to rain.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) urged people to stay off the roads Sunday, and the Virginia National Guard said about 75 guardsmen are on standby to help.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the state had completed preparations for the storm and urged people not to get on the roads.
“Keeping the roads clear not only keeps you safe, it also gives crews and first responders room to carry out their duties. We will continue to monitor this winter weather closely, and provide updates as the day progresses," Hogan said in a release.
The D.C. area started to see snow transition to ice and rain. Southern Maryland can expect mostly rain. Parts of far western Maryland are in line for heavy snowfall that could total 5-9 inches.
PEPCO reported the following outages:
- D.C.: 99 customers without power
- Montgomery: 1,102 customers without power
- Prince George’s: 65 customers without power
Dominion Energy reported the following outages:
- Fairfax: 6,333 customers without power
- Arlington: 384 customers without power
- Fauquier: 54 customers without power
- Spotsylvania: 1 customer without power
- Loudoun: 159 customer without power
- Falls Church: 135 customers without power
Rappahannock Electric reported the following outages:
- Fauquier: 14 customers without power
- Spotsylvania: 37 customers without power
NOVEC reported the following outages:
- Fairfax: 1,912 customers without power
- Loudoun: 3,820 customers without power
What time is it supposed to snow?
Snow started to fall Sunday afternoon at about 1 p.m. with the heaviest snow falling between 2 and 5 p.m., Storm Team4 said. The winter storm hit the southwestern suburbs first.
Between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the storm transitioned from snow to ice. That transition happened earlier for eastern suburbs and later for western suburbs.
By about 9:30 p.m., most of the region was seeing rain, which is expected to continue until late evening, along with windy weather. The rain could be heavy at times, Storm Team4 said.
The winter storm will continue to impact the area on Monday morning and may even bring some light snow showers. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will also be blustery and cold with highs in the 40s.
A hard re-freeze overnight could cause some tricky road conditions Tuesday.
Snow totals expected in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
How many inches of snow did we get this weekend? That depends on where you are.
St. Mary's County: 0.6 inches
Spotsylvania County: 2 inches
Montgomery County: 2.4 inches
Loudoun County: 3.5 inches
Frederick, Maryland: 4.5 inches
In the D.C. metro area, 1 to 3 inches of snow were expected. Ice accumulations of one-tenth of an inch were also possible, the National Weather Service said.
Enjoy the winter wonderland and get your sledding or snowball fights in while the snow is falling. Any rain would push the snow down.
How to prepare for a winter storm and road conditions
Firstly, stay home. VDOT in Fredericksburg said "motorists should remain off the the roads until the storm passes, and road conditions improve."
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to allow quick coordination in response to snow, noting that parts of the state are still recovering after the Jan. 3 snowstorm that left a foot or more of snow in some areas.
Road conditions will likely be better than they were during that storm, which closed many schools for multiple days. Because Sunday's storm is set to begin as all-snow, chemicals on the roads should be more effective. Plus, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday on Monday means fewer commuters and more space for road crews to work.
VDOT 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.
Between 12 a.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, Virginia State Police responded to 104 disabled vehicles and 65 traffic crashes in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church, and Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties.
Take advantage of dry weather to be as storm-ready as you can. Fill up your car’s gas tank, visit the grocery store or pharmacy and prepare deicing materials for stairs and sidewalks.