23 January 2016

Storm updates: Steady snow, gusty winds to slowly wane this evening 23JAN16

LATEST on our blizzard from the  +Capital Weather Gang at the +Washington Post and me! Is is still cold, snowing and blowing. I was out with friends and neighbors shoveling our walks and around our vehicles. We have about 36 inches of snow on the ground with drifts thigh to waist high and the piles of snow from our shoveling are almost as tall as me, I'm 5 feet 7 inches tall. The Ashburn hoa nazis still haven't plowed my street,  the one and only time we saw a plow as mid afternoon on Friday, 22 JAN 16. If it isn't plowed by morning I will not be able to go to work. Will have pictures from me and my friends posted tomorrow. And so it goes......

Storm updates: Steady snow, gusty winds to slowly wane this evening

Blizzard warning | Latest forecast | Radar | Live news updates | Watch the storm live | Power outage tracker | What does two feet of snow look like? | Photo gallery
*** D.C. area forecast: Blizzard rages today, ending tonight after giant snowfall ***
Key points:
  • Snow totals have reached 22-35 inches west, north, and northwest of the Beltway (locally 35″+), 17-24″ inches inside the Beltway, and 10-20 inches south and southeast of the Beltway.
  • Steady snow and gusty winds are likely for a few more hours
  • Snow tapers off between 9 and midnight tonight
  • Blizzard conditions were achieved late this afternoon, but have relented some.
  • Total snow accumulations of 16 to 30 inches are expected with some 30-36 inch totals well north and west of the District (Frederick and Loudoun counties). 20-30 inches totals will be most common in the immediate metro region. Totals in the 12-20 inch range are most likely near the Bay into Southern Maryland.
6:47 p.m. update: Believe it or not, New York City has received even more snow than D.C. JFK has logged it snowiest single day total on record. Former Capital Weather Gang contributor Andrew Freedman, now science editor at Mashable, sends us the following report from Brooklyn:
Manhattan and the Bronx along with Newark are closing in on 24-30 inches. JFK now at 24. Some areas of northern NJ could exceed 35 inches. Unreal here, in terms of snowfall rates all day and the National Weather Service has been playing catchup.
It was clear days ago that this was an excruciatingly tough forecast for New York City, with a shift of 40-50 miles making a huge difference. Unfortunately for many people, that shift happened in the models with evening runs on Friday, catching people off guard on Saturday morning, and forcing forecasters to up totals every few hours.
Historic storm in NYC, and it’s still going.

6:10 p.m. update: Between 3 and 5 p.m., the conditions outside qualified as a “blizzard” in the D.C. area.
5:50 p.m. update: Dulles Airport, as of 4:20 p.m., had tallied 26.5 inches of snow, second most on record there. It only trails Snowmageddon of Feb. 5-6, 2010, when 32.4 inches fell. Records at Dulles date back to 1963.
5:25 p.m. update: Here’s the latest snow total map assembled by the National Weather Service. Notice pretty much everyone north and west of the Beltway is over 20 inches. Many of these numbers are at least an hour or more old.
5:10 p.m. update: D.C.’s official storm total, as of 5 p.m., is 17.5 inches which puts it ahead of the Blizzard of 1996 and into 5th place among the top 10 greatest storms. Just 0.3 inches need to fall for it to pass Snowmageddon.
5:00 p.m. update: BLIZZARD! D.C. has officially met the criteria for a blizzard: Three straight hours with winds gusting over 35 mph, visibility of 0.25 miles or less and snow and blowing snow. At 5 p.m., National Airport, D.C.’s reporting station, observed heavy snow, winds gusting to 37 mph, and visibility of 0.06 miles.
4:45 p.m. update: Here are some recent snow totals:
Va.: Woodbridge 22″, Arlington 22″, Tysons-Vienna 23-25″, Leesburg 28-31″, Gainesville 27″, Fair Oaks 23″, Brambleton 35″, Great Falls 27″, Herndon 28″, Manassas 25″, Alexandra 21″, Fairfax 26″, Annandale 17″
Md.: Laurel 24″, Potomac and Rockville 24-28″, Silver Spring 28″, Pasadena 20″, Wheaton 22″, Eldersburg 34″, Greenbelt 20″, New Market 35″
D.C.: Petworth 19″, Mt. Pleasant 21″, Adams Morgan 23″, Navy Yard 19″
4:25 p.m. update: Let’s just say Columbia Heights is snowed under…
4:10 p.m. update: Reagan National Airport, D.C.’s official observing location, reports a storm total of 17.0 inches as of 4 p.m.  This puts this storm, Snowzilla, in 6th place among D.C.’s top 10 biggest storms, passing the Blizzard of 2003, which dropped 16.7 inches. It is poised to move further up the list.
4:02 p.m. update: D.C. (Reagan National) reports heavy snow and blowing snow, winds gusting to 39 mph and visibility of 0.25 miles at 4 p.m. If this persists for another hour, true blizzard conditions will have been achieved.
3:57 p.m. update: Look at the satellite (top) and radar (bottom) presentation of this storm. It’s just massive and isn’t done with us yet.
3:38 p.m. update: “This looks to last four more hours,” says Capital Weather Gang winter weather expert on this current blast of heavy snow and strong winds.  With snowfall rates of 1-2 inches an hour, you can do the math of how much more snow is possible.  Lighter snow should follow before the storm ends in the 8-11 p.m. window.

3:20 p.m. update: The following locations in Virginia and Maryland report an astounding 30 inches or more of snow…Md.: Parkville (33″), Olney (30″), Point of Rocks (31″), Jefferson – Frederick Co. (40″), Germantown (30″)
Va.: Brambleton (32″), Haymarket (31″), Ashburn (31″), Lovettsville (32″), Hillsboro (37″), Purcellville (32″), Bristow (30″), Round Hill (31″)
3:00 p.m. update: This last phase of the storm is a knockout blow. Near whiteout conditions have overtaken much of the  region. Reagan National is reporting heavy snow, winds gusting to 36 mph and just 0.13 miles of visibility at  3 p.m. Do not attempt to drive in this.
2:53 p.m. update: When does it end?  Here’s a simulation from the HRRR model, which suggests in the 8-11 p.m. timeframe this evening.
One caution is that sometimes in these very wound-up storms, the snow lasts a little longer than the models predict.
2:40 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has posted a map of totals, and they are impressive.  Bear in mind this map is an hour old now, but you can see the consistency of totals over 20 inches north and west of the Beltway… and these are just going to go higher.
2:20 p.m. update: In areas from I-95 and east, after an extended lull (6-8 hours), the snow is picking back up in earnest and winds are howling. Visibilities are extremely limited so do not attempt to drive in this.  Across much of the region, another 3-6 inches of snow is possible and potentially more depending on how long this heavy band persists over the region.
(For our previous updates,, covering 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. today: see, Snow continues through the afternoon, winds increasing)

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.