Steady freezing rain could make conditions treacherous late Saturday

I270 Forecast

Friday: Overcast with a few AM flurries, otherwise dry. Winds: ENE 5-10 mph, High: 30 (27-33)

Friday night: Mostly cloudy with light mist/freezing fog possible by morning. Winds: Light NE, Low: 25 (23-28)

Saturday: Cloudy with a wintry mix, mostly falling as freezing rain/sleet and leading to icy conditions. Winds: ENE 5-10 mph, High: 31 (29-34), Low: 27 (24-30)

Valentine’s Day: Mostly cloudy with AM freezing drizzle possible. Highs will be in the middle to upper 30’s with lows in the 20’s.

Monday: Cloudy with scattered PM wintry mix. Highs will be in the 30’s with lows in the 20’s.

Tuesday: Cloudy with a wintry mix. Highs will be in the lower to middle 30’s with lows in the 20’s.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy skies. Highs will be in the middle to upper 30’s with lows in the 20’s.

Thursday: Cloudy with a wintry mix. Highs will be in the 30’s with lows in the upper 20’s to lower 30’s.

Forecast Discussion

At this point, it’s nice to catch a break from any type of precipitation, no matter how short-lived it may be. We’ve been in the clear so to speak since late yesterday morning, as it’s been very cloudy but dry. Snow and mixed precipitation remains well to the south this morning, and we’ll just stay cloudy and chilly. Moisture will begin building from the south overnight as the next storm strengthens along the Atlantic Coast, so we could be a bit misty and foggy into the morning tomorrow. A wintry mix then begins to push in the rest of the morning, starting out light at first, put picking up in intensity throughout the day.

Shallow cold air remains locked in place at the surface on Saturday, while warmer air pushes in a little higher up. This is the classic setup for freezing rain and even some sleet, which is mostly what we’ll see Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. This will lead to rather icy conditions, making travel extremely difficult if not impossible. Ice accumulations will generally be around a glaze to 0.10” across the area, but locations in Northern Virginia and central MD between I-81 and I-95 could pick up closer to 0.10-0.20” of ice. Thankfully, ice totals have been trending downward in recent days, but it’s still enough to cause major issues. If you have Valentine’s plans for Saturday night, make sure you check road conditions before venturing anywhere.

The mix and ice heads out Sunday morning, and for most of Valentine’s Day itself, we’re looking pretty good. This is another short-lived break though, as the hits keep on coming into early next week. The next storm will take a track fairly close to Saturday’s system, which would mean more wintry mix late Monday into Tuesday and likely some icing. There is some uncertainty though being several days out, so this does bear watching. We’ll rinse and repeat again into next Wednesday and Thursday, with a brief dry day Wednesday before, you guessed it, another storm with everything from rain to snow to sleet and ice next Thursday.

Watch for that ice out there tomorrow and have a happy and healthy weekend!

Meteorologist Damon Matson

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