3:45 p.m. - Temperatures finally above freezing in most places, but refreeze possible late tonight
The overwhelming majority of the region, even into northern Maryland, is now above freezing. While it’s not impossible some chillier air above the ground could cause a little more icing on trees in the coldest pockets of the region, we’re into the melting phase of this event for the most part.
Power outage numbers have dropped down to about 8,000 in Maryland - after rising to 15,000 mid-afternoon. This is a positive sign.
Advisories and warnings should expire over the next couple of hours, and plain rain will continue to fall into the evening.
However, a concern is that after precipitation ends (around midnight), temperatures are likely to fall below freezing again in our colder areas which saw ice earlier. That could cause wet spots on untreated roads and sidewalks to turn icy Wednesday morning.
This is the last update in this post. Stay tuned for an updated forecast in our PM Update coming out around 5 p.m.
If you’re interested in snow, it’s in the forecast for Saturday. See this article: Wet snow may sweep through the Washington region Saturday
2:25 p.m. - Images from northern Maryland show significant tree damage
As the number of power outages in Maryland hovers around 15,000 we can see why. Tree limbs are down all over the northern part of the state as a thick coating of ice weighs them down. Here are some photos:
1:15 p.m. - Advisories and warnings extended into the afternoon and evening in our northern areas
With the exception of isolated pockets of northwest Virginia and northern Maryland, temperatures are above freezing and icy roads are no longer a significant concern. However, in parts of western Loudoun, northern Montgomery, and Howard counties, ice is either continuing to build-up on trees (temperatures are colder above the ground), and/or limbs are breaking from the weight of the ice as it melts.
As such, the Weather Service has extended advisories and warnings until late this afternoon and early this evening. At this point, with temperatures rising, we think the issue is more likely to be limbs breaking off than new ice accumulation.
The number of power outages in Maryland, which had dropped below 12,000 is now back up above 15,000.
We’ve also received reports of downed trees and limbs and outages in western Loudoun County. “We’re just outside Hillsboro - many trees coming down with the ice buildup,” reports reader Reuben Firmin. “Power’s out too.”
11:25 a.m. - Temperature slowly rising in our northern areas, iciness decreasing
Temperatures, even in our colder areas well north of the city, have now risen to at least 33 degrees. There are just a few isolated pockets where it’s still freezing.
Ice build-up has decreased and we’ve seen power outages in Maryland drop from nearly 15,000 to under 12,000.
It seems like the worst of this event is over, but we still will have a chilly rain through this evening.
10:15 a.m. - Nearing 15,000 power outages in Maryland from ice build-up
Poweroutage.us reports about 14,500 outages in Maryland, mostly in Howard County, due to the ice accumulation on trees and power lines.
Reports from social media indicate trees and large branches down throughout Howard County. “Everytime the wind blows you can hear cracking of limbs coming down,” commented Facebook reader Lyzz Boorstein, reporting from Columbia.
9:30 a.m. - Winter storm warning issued for northern Montgomery and northern Howard counties, and winter weather advisories extended to the south
Due to ice buildup on trees in portions in both northern Montgomery and Howard counties, and temperatures continuing to hover around freezing, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through 1 p.m.
Reports have come in of trees and power lines coming down and utility outages due to the weight of the ice in Cloverly (north of Silver Spring), Damascus, Gaithersburg, and Ellicott City. The winter storm warning cautions up to a quarter of ice could accumulate and some areas have already received this much.
To the south, in western Loudoun, southern Montgomery and southern Howard counties, the winter weather advisory was extended until 1 p.m. as there has been a light icy glaze on trees in colder areas (generally around one-tenth of an inch).
While ice is building up on trees in the region, paved surfaces are for the most part wet - although you may hit some slippery spots on untreated surfaces well north and northwest of the Beltway.
Temperatures are above freezing from the Beltway and to the south, but there are pockets of freezing temperatures as you head north (along and north of the yellow line above). Temperatures will rise some into midday, but it will be a slow process in our northern areas.
6:30 a.m. - Mostly rain in the immediate area, but some freezing rain north and well west of the Beltway
Rain is falling but, for the most part around the immediate metro area, temperatures are mostly above freezing and roads are just wet rather than icy. Reagan National Airport’s temperature is 36 degrees and Dulles is 33.
But it’s our suburbs north of the Beltway where are there are locations at or a degree below freezing. For example, Baltimore Washington International Marshall Airport was reporting 31 degrees and light freezing rain at 6 a.m. In other words if you live in our northern and far western suburbs, watch out for slick spots on untreated areas when you head out - both walking and driving.
Generally, the trouble spots will be to the north of the yellow line on this temperature map:
By mid-morning, this line should lift north - with perhaps just some patchy freezing temperatures lingering in northern Maryland.
Detailed forecast from 5 a.m.
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
1/10: Areas far north and west may be slick, but mostly just cold and wet. Ick.
Today: Cold rain. Highs: 35 to 45 (northwest to southeast).
Tonight: More rain. Lows: 35 to 45.
Tomorrow: Sunny, windy. Highs: 42 to 46.
View the current weather at The Washington Post.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Hang in there. Part two of our messy, mucky weather system rolls through today with more cold rain, clouds and some potentially slippery stuff this morning, mainly in our colder northern and western areas. Cold rain continues tonight before some sunshine sneaks back into the picture Wednesday. Thursday is a much nicer day, with temperatures rebounding into the 50s. Precipitation returns Friday and into the weekend as this active pattern continues.
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Today (Tuesday): Rain early this morning may mix with sleet or freezing rain, mainly north to northwest of the city, but everyone should be on the lookout for slick spots and use care when venturing out. This shapes up as a raw, rainy day with highs from the mid-30s in our colder areas north and west to the mid-40s south and east of the District. Rain totals could reach a half-inch or a bit higher. Light winds blow mainly from the east at 5 to 10 mph. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: More of that cold rain finally ends around midnight or so as temperatures hold steady from 35 to 40 in our colder areas and 40 to 45 south and east. Additional rain could total a tenth to half of an inch. Winds shift to come from the west at 5 to 10 mph in the early morning hours. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Wednesday): Partly sunny, very breezy and somewhat cold as highs in the 40s feel like 30s frequently because of the wind chill. Those winds blow from the west at 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Mostly clear, still a bit breezy, and temperatures drop to the mid-20s in the outer suburbs and the low-to-mid-30s in the city. Confidence: Medium-High
A LOOK AHEAD
Thursday’s Valentine’s Day offers plenty to love as the best and mildest day of the week. It delivers mostly sunny skies and highs ranging through the 50s. Clouds increase Thursday night, with lows in the mid-30s to low 40s. Confidence: Medium-High
Friday remains on the warmer side, with highs in the 50s, but cloudy skies and showers put a damper on those milder temperatures. Some more rain is likely Friday night, with lows in the 30s and 40s. Confidence: Medium
Saturday starts off dry, but a storm system developing to the south brings a chance of some light rain or wet snow by afternoon or evening. A small chance of snow continues into the evening. Highs Saturday may hit 40 or so but will cool into the 30s at night, with some 20s in our colder areas. Confidence: Low-Medium
Sunday finds lingering clouds and a slight chance of snow showers, with highs around 40. Some clouds still hang around Sunday night, with lows in the 20s to 30s. Presidents’ Day Monday tries to clear out, with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs in the 40s. Confidence: Low-Medium
SNOW POTENTIAL INDEX
A daily assessment of the potential for at least an inch of snow in the next week, on a 0-10 scale.
2/10 (↑): Need to watch weather system late Saturday into early Sunday for some wet snow.