WASHINGTON -- Call it "Saturn", call it "Snowquester", call it what you will - but the biggest and possibly final snowstorm of the season will actually start as a rain event Tuesday night, according to local weather forecasters.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Greg Schorr told WMAL Tuesday morning, "We're thinking it'll start off with more rain for the immediate DC area, but still heavy snow to the west. DC and Baltimore are still going to get their snow, but it's mainly going to be during the bulk of the daylight hours on Wednesday."
Schorr says much of the area will still be seeing rain as Wednesday's morning rush hour starts, but as a low pressure system moves through, heavy snow should form right over the DC region by mid-morning, lasting in waves throughout the day and into the evening.
Schorr says the rain start will keep accumulations lower than they might have been with cooler temperatures, but he says we'll see "big, wet heavy snowflakes that accumulate pretty quickly,' especially on grassy areas. Schorr says, on average, residents in the immediate DC area will see a minimum of 4 inches of snow, with totals rising to 6 to 8 inches further to the west, and as much as a foot possible in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.
Accumulations could vary widely, however, just within a few miles.
"It's sort of a feast or famine deal," says Schorr. "You can have a heavy snow band that drops a couple of inches in an hour in one place, and then 10 miles away they get hardly anything," he adds.
The snow is expected to end by Wednesday evening. A Winter Storm Watch is posted for the immediate DC area from Tuesday night through Wednesday evening, while a Winter Storm Warning is posted for areas further to the west of town, including Frederick, Loudoun and Fauquier Counties.
Stay with WMAL and WMAL.com for the latest on this approaching winter storm.
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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-CARROLL-NORTHERN BALTIMORE-HARFORD-
MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-ANNE ARUNDEL-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...WESTMINSTER...
MANASSAS PARK...FAIRFAX...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH...
332 AM EST TUE MAR 5 2013
...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH
* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS...5 OR MORE INCHES ARE POSSIBLE.
* TIMING...RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO SNOW TONIGHT. SNOW
CONTINUING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING...POSSIBLY HEAVY AT TIMES.
* TEMPERATURES...IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS...NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* IMPACTS...HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER
OUTAGES AND DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR
THE LATEST FORECASTS.