Winter storm watch issued for Friday

This image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center shows an early computer model forecasting the chances of a windy, strong sleet-snow storm hitting the East Coast this weekend, Jan. 22-23, 2016. Meteorologists say tens of millions of Americans from Washington to Boston and the Ohio Valley could be walloped by an end-of-the-week snowstorm. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP)

This image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center shows an early computer model forecasting the chances of a windy, strong sleet-snow storm hitting the East Coast this weekend, Jan. 22-23, 2016. Meteorologists say tens of millions of Americans from Washington to Boston and the Ohio Valley could be walloped by an end-of-the-week snowstorm. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP)

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for our region for Friday afternoon through late Saturday evening.

The service is calling for heavy snow and wind, with a foot or more of snow possible.  A blizzard watch is in effect Friday afternoon through Saturday night for the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metropolitan areas and portions of the Virginia piedmont.  The piedmont region in Northern Virginia includes Loudoun, Fauquier, Rappahannock and Culpeper counties.

Today’s forecast calls for a slight chance of snow with a high of 31 and a low tonight of 19.  “Snow may coat the ground … causing slippery conditions during the evening rush hours,” according to a hazardous weather outlook release from the weather service.

Thursday should be sunny, with a high of 33 and low that night of 19.  On Friday,  snow is expected to begin falling after 1 p.m. and temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20s and will dip into the teens and lower 20s at higher elevations.

The forecast calls for sunny skies on Sunday, with a high of 37 and low that night of 13.  Monday is expected to be partly sunny, with a high of 40 and low that night of 27.

For weather updates and a live radar, visit www.nvdaily.com/weather

 

Here’s the latest AP wire story on the storm:

South, East brace for big storm, significant snowfall

By Ben Nuckols — Associated Press

WASHINGTON — As the South and East braced for a nor’easter with the potential for significant snowfall by week’s end, snow began to blanket much of Kentucky and Tennessee and contributed to at least one traffic-related death Wednesday.

The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warns of heavy, “perhaps crippling” snow across the northern mid-Atlantic region, including Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia, probably beginning Friday.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that the city was preparing for blizzard conditions and up to 2 feet of snow. The city has requested Humvees from the National Guard to reach isolated people and places if necessary.

“If this is a blizzard and we have sustained winds and people lose power, that would be my biggest concern,” Bowser said at a news conference. “We can move the snow. We will move the snow.”

In the areas where blizzard conditions are possible, the weather service warns that travel will be limited if not impossible, and the strongest winds and potentially life threatening conditions are expected Friday night through Saturday night.

On Wednesday, the weather service issued blizzard and winter storm watches for parts of Maryland, Washington, Virginia and West Virginia. The watches start as early as Thursday and stretch into Saturday.

The bigger cities could get 1 to 2 feet of snow, but first the storm will bring ice and freezing rain to Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky starting Thursday, prediction center Meteorologist Rich Otto said. But it’s not yet clear where the storm will hit the hardest, he said Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of details that are yet to be seen,” Otto said. “Subtle changes can make a big difference. We’ve seen that in storms in the past.”

THE FIRST FLAKES

Snow in much of Kentucky and Tennessee led school districts and some universities to cancel classes Wednesday and contributed to at least one traffic death, and officials warned motorists to be cautious of slick roads.

The National Weather Service says between 2 and 4 inches of snow fell across large portions of both states, while some areas of Middle Tennessee also got a coating of ice. Most of the precipitation had ended by early afternoon.

The Knox County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Department says a car slid off the roadway due to speed and slick conditions, killing the driver and injuring a passenger.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says crews are continuing to treat roads to keep them passable, though they urged drivers to travel slowly as many remained partially covered.

TOO SOON TO TELL

Forecasters said Wednesday it’s too early to know exactly how much snow a potential storm will bring to eastern Pennsylvania, but that wasn’t stopping preparations around the region.

Mitchell Gaines, of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, said snow totals will be more apparent by Wednesday night. However, he cautioned that when it hits, people should be prepared for strong winds, heavy, wet snow and power outages.

NOT EVEN SAFE FOR A SNOWBALL FIGHT?

Even the organizers of a snowball fight are nervous about the storm that’s expected to hit the nation’s capital.

With forecasts calling for up to 2 feet of snow — accompanied by strong winds that could lead to blizzard conditions — the Washington D.C. Snowball Fight Association is taking a wait-and-see approach to its gathering in Dupont Circle, tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

“If it is still blizzard conditions, that’s not the optimal conditions. We might have to move it. Maybe to Sunday, maybe later on Saturday,” snowball fight organizer Ami Greener said. “Once it stops snowing, anything is good. Two feet of snow is fine.”

STOCKING UP ON SUPPLIES

Simon Martinez, 48, felt fortunate to find a new snow shovel at a True Value hardware store in northwest Washington. He tried a nearby Home Depot first, without success.

“It’s crazy there,” he said, adding that they were also out of salt.

In Baltimore, Director of Emergency Management Bob Maloney urged residents to make sure they have enough water to last for three days, along with a working flashlight and a battery-operated radio.

For Mitchell Cohen, owner of Cohen & Co. Hardware in Center City Philadelphia, the snowy forecast is good news.

He said he has been getting calls from people asking to hold shovels for pickup on Friday and Saturday. He was getting shovels and snow melt delivered Wednesday.

“For us, it’s good,” Cohen said. “We live right around corner so it’s no problem getting here, no matter how bad it gets. We’ll be open all weekend.”

 

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