UPDATE 11 a.m., Dec. 11: While snow and ice are melting away around the region, people should still be wary of dangerous conditions on roads and sidewalks.
Clear skies and light winds Tuesday night allowed temperatures to plummet area-wide and anything that was wet turned to ice. Icy conditions were prevalent Wednesday morning, but the ice is melting as the day progresses.
Wednesday will bring plenty of sun, but the temperatures may not go above the freezing mark in many spots. It will be bitterly cold with highs in the 30s.
On Wednesday evening expect partly-cloudy skies and bone-chilling temperatures with lows around 15.
Some major school systems opened late. Get the details on WTOP.com.
There are no major traffic delays at this time and major roads are clear. Commuters found dicey side roads and black ice around the area. Commuters reported black ice on ramps, turn lanes, parking lots, bridges and side streets around the region.
Check below for the latest updates from @WTOPTraffic.
View the maps to see when weather will arrive at your doorstep.
Black ice is a thin and nearly invisible layer of ice that forms almost undetected on road surfaces. It is one of the most dangerous hazards for drivers. Usually associated with wet winter conditions, black ice can form when it's not raining or snowing. Fog, condensation and dew can all be causes.
The action begins Thursday as spring-like warmth mixes with rain and colder air begins to move into the area. Thursday will bring patchy fog and a morning drizzle, cloudy conditions and highs in the 60s. (Getty Images)
(2:30PM Update) Freezing rain potential to see accumulation of ice 0.01" or less by 7 AM Sunday morning. About a 20% shot mainly south and west of DC area. The onset of precipitation is now looking to be from 7AM - 10AM however, those numbers will most likely change as we get closer to the event.
(2:30PM Update) Snow accumulation of less than 1.00" by 7 AM Sunday morning. Less than a 20% that the western tier of Virginia will see that much by that time. Most of the precip slowing down and moving in through the mid morning hours.
ABC7's Doug Hill says big changes are on the way, as temperatures begin their crash-dive this morning. Chances of rain will increase through the afternoon into tonight. Highs will only be in the 30s, but sunny, on Saturday. You can read a full forecast at www.wtop.com
A prolonged period of freezing rain with pockets of sleet to be expected Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening. The graph below shows the high probability of freezing rain rate to be more or just around 0.05" in 3 hours (this is showing Sunday night at 7PM).
National Christmas Tree Lighting Forecast: (remember, per the National Park Service--You can take umbrellas but not open them while seated). Upper 40s, chilly light rain coming through-heavy rain expected after 6:30PM.
LOCAL NFL FORECASTS:
Redskins vs. Chiefs Forecast at Fed Ex Field: Sunday 1:00PM- Lower to mid 30s, snow/sleet mix with some accumulation on the ground. Quickly changing to freezing rain (with pockets of sleet) through the 1st half. That will continue through the duration of the game.
Ravens vs Vikings at M&T Bank Stadium: Sunday 1:00PM - Temperatures in the lower to mid 30s in the Inner Harbor with some minor snow accumulation on the ground. Snow continue to fall before a change to sleet and freezing rain, then just freezing rain by the 4th quarter.
Eagles vs. Lions at Lincoln Financial Field: Sunday 1:00PM - Some early snow, but most of the precip will hold off until the game begins. Then a mix of snow and rain moving through the Philly region with temperatures in the mid 30s.
Winter Storm Watch - Sunday AM - Monday AM
Prepare Now for Possible Power Outages (courtesy NOVEC)
Gov. Bob McDonnell is urging Virginians to prepare for a possible major ice storm.
McDonnell says the state could get slammed Sunday by a winter storm moving in from the west, resulting in widespread power outages and hazardous driving conditions.
Sunday morning forecast temperatures mainly below freezing from the latest 4km NAM model (Courtesy: WeatherBELL Models)
Great explanation on "Cold Air Damming" - we will see this set-up on Sunday...creating prolonged periods of the icy stuff-(sleet and freezing rain)
Above is a great graphic showing the difference in the precipitation types.
-All precipitation begins as snow in the upper atmosphere.
*For snow, the entire column of air is at or below 32 degrees.
*For sleet, the snow falls into warm air, turns to rain and then refreezes and falls as sleet or ice pellets.
*Freezing rain is almost the same process as sleet but it doesn't have time to refreeze into ice pellets since the column of warm air is just slightly larger. The raindrops freeze on contact with the earth's surface or with power lines, trees, sidewalks, cars, etc., if the surface is at or below freezing.
*For rain, the column of air is warm the entire way through.
Winter Storm Watch (Sunday AM - Monday AM) -Believe the snow will move into the area tomorrow morning spreading from the Southwest to the Northeast. Mid-Maryland and northern Maryland residents may have to wait until after the noon hour to see the first signs of snow as it spreads north.
Data from Google Finance.