A combination of cold, wind and many snow-covered roads meant conditions were slick to start Friday, says WTOP Traffic's Jack Taylor.
Road conditions have improved since the morning hours, when many roads were still snow-packed or slush covered. Interstates have had a chance to dry out and the bright sun is helping to melt away any remaining snow elsewhere.
And crews will continue to plow and treat roads ahead of tonight's bitter cold temperature, which could turn any wet, slushy roads to ice.
Snow walloped the area Thursday, with nearly a half foot in the inner suburbs and more than a foot in parts of Maryland. The snowfall eclipsed records at Dulles and Reagan National.
High pressure is moving in through the afternoon and the bright sun will melt some of the snow, but temperatures won't rise above the freezing mark, says Storm Watch 7 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts.
Virtually all schools in the D.C. area have closed and many businesses in the region are following suit, allowing employees to telework. The federal government opened two hours late, which contributed to a late delay.
Those who ventured out encountered major delays along some of the interstates because of morning crashes, which occurred due to icy conditions.
Ice-covered roads were reported in Arlington, which effectively ran out of salt.
Drivers should also clear all of the snow off their cars before getting on the road, including the roof, hood and trunk areas before leaving the driveway or garage.
Montgomery County’s Ride
On bus will operate under a normal schedule Friday.
Fairfax Connector is running regular weekday service Friday with some exceptions:
In Alexandria, DASH buses and the King Street Trolley will not run until 8 a.m. Friday. They say a decision will be made on the schedule soon.
Annapolis Transit suspended all service at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. No word yet on Friday's schedule.
Amtrak will run on a modified service in the Northeast Corridor Friday.
VRE service Operating "S" Schedule for Friday.
MARC-Penn Line S schedule on Friday, No Camden or Brunswick Line service.
DC Circulator has suspended service on all routes.
WASHINGTON — Thursday looks to be shaping up to be a good day for sledding. Unfortunately, D.C.’s most famous hill is still off limits.
Lauryn Ricketts, Storm Watch7 meteorologist
WASHINGTON - So remember last year? St. Patrick’s Day to be precise.
Temperatures on March 15, 2014 topped out at 70 degrees. But on March 16-17, D.C. received 7.2 inches of late season snow.
Don’t let those mild temperatures today fool you. Cold air will filter into the region from the north and west and temperatures will drop starting this evening and will continue to drop tomorrow.
When you wake up Thursday morning, don't expect to see a lot of snow, but you might find some slush on the roads. But between 9 and 11 a.m., the snow will start to accumulate quickly.
A cold front will take its sweet time moving through the region during the late afternoon and into the
evening. Behind that front, cold arctic air will filter into the area from the north and west of D.C., sinking south and east.
A wave of low pressure will ride along that front. In fact, temperatures by midnight in D.C. will already have dropped to the mid-30s! Those temperatures will continue to drop through the upper 20s by the time we hit daybreak Thursday and then fall throughout the day. Thursday night into Friday temperatures will fall into the single digits and lower teens, and could approach record lows.
The rain-to-snow changeover line will work toward the south and east – the direction of the cold air filtering in. After midnight Wednesday (anywhere from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.), rain will transition to sleet/snow with pockets of freezing rain.
Again, this transition will take place from the northwestern counties toward the southern and eastern counties with southeastern counties seeing this transition by 4 a.m.). Then that cold air will finally win out transitioning the wintry mix north and west of D.C. to snow. That cold air will continue to change all precip to snow as it travels south and east (this transition will take place from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. and may take a little longer for areas to the south and east of D.C.).
The depth of the cold air looks to increase quickly around the region but this is always where the questions lie: How long will it take to transition the rain to wintry mix and the wintry mix to snow. That is why we have a snow totals “range.”
Here's the latest range, from ABC7's Steve Rudin at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday:
If the transition takes a little while longer – of course it will cut our snow totals. If it happens quicker than predicted, snow totals will be on the higher end. Plus we will be watching for some more moderate bands to set up during the course of the storm. Brian Van de Graaff and I will be up early keeping you informed of any changes as they occur.
Steady snow will continue for much of the day Thursday. The heaviest snow will fall from the mid-morning and continue through the afternoon.
This will be a heavy and wet snow, which will form great snowballs. But watch that back as you shovel it away!
We may have to watch for some power outages since this snow will be so heavy it could pull down power lines. Winds will be just a touch on the breezy side out of the north at 10-15 mph with some
higher isolated gusts.
There will be rapid clearing late Thursday from the north and west to the south and east as high pressure builds in over the central Ohio Valley.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect overnight through Thursday evening for the entire WTOP listening area.
Travel will be hazardous all through the day Thursday so please limit your time on the roads. I do believe most area schools will be canceled tomorrow and most likely the federal government will close or allow telecommuting.
Tired of the snow? The sunset by this Sunday (yes, Daylight Saving Time begins so set those clocks forward) will be at 7:08 p.m.
By March 27, the average high temperature for this area will be 60 degrees! Hold on just a little longer and we will work through this winter as it winds down. Until then, keep it here and keep safe as the StormWatch7 team will update you all throughout Thursday!
Virginia State Police Sgt. R.A. Newby explains that while four-wheel drive may help drivers get out of a snowy or icy spot, the feature will not help drivers stop to avoid a crash.
“We have a lot of young drivers, they think they can handle things — and one of the problems is, and one of the biggest misconceptions is, that a four-wheel drive vehicle is a vehicle that can drive the normal road speed in inclement weather, and you just can’t do that,” he says.
Read more on WTOP.com.
“Not kitty litter,” warns WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath. Although kitty litter has been used for years on icy walkways and driveways, McGrath says it’s ineffective.
“It makes a huge mess,” he says, sometimes lingering in the yard for months and he argues that it provides poor traction.Read more on WTOP.com.
Governors in Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Jersey declared states of emergency in advance of the storm, and Congress hurried to finish business amid a snow emergency declaration in Washington. Mississippi counties were advised to open shelters powered by generators to give residents an option beyond cold, dark homes in the event of power outages.
West Virginia, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio were expected to get hit the hardest overnight Wednesday and into Thursday with 8 to 10 inches, while Baltimore and Washington were looking at 6 to 8 inches of snow, said National Weather Service forecaster Bruce Terry.
Read more on WTOP.com.
Due to the inclement weather that is impacting the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will be operating on the regular Saturday schedule on Thursday, March 5, 2015. View details
for Saturday service here.
Additional shuttle service for riders in the Western parts of the county will be provided between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. The shuttle will run to and from the Vienna Metro station from the following locations:
We thank passengers for their continued patience as we put safety first in our service. Please expect continued delays as the wintry weather impacts the region.
For more information, riders can:
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Call 703-339-7200, TTY 703-339-1608.
Local airports have cancelled flights Thursday morning
If you're planning to catching a flight Thursday morning, check with your airline because local airports are reporting some weather-related flight cancellations.
We're seeing many cancellations and delays at Ronald Reagan National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.