The snow came pummeling into the DMV yesterday afternoon, and since then, we have seen a lot of it. Snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour have been common. Here, in Southern Maryland, we did also see quite a bit of sleet mix in for 4-6 hours last night. Before the sleet started, I measured 10.3" if snow here in Solomons, MD. We then added 2" of pure sleet on top of that, and have put an additional 1.2" of snow on top of that today. Below is a chart of my hourly snow totals so far.
Temperatures will not make it above freezing today. This will allow for most of us to stay all snow today, and stay away from mixing problems. The only exception would be for southern Saint Mary's County where some more sleet could try to mix in.
The Storm has stayed off the coast, and is currently off the Southern Delmarva beaches. Because of the storm's placement, this is when the blizzard conditions will begin across our area. Winds of 30-40mph can be expected with wind gusts as high as 50-65mph. The National Weather Serivce has extended the High Wind WARNING util 7pm this evening.
Impacts So Far have been what we've been telling you they would be. Main roads are snow covered, and I can only imagine what secondary streets and back roads look like. We haven't see too many power outages, but that is slowly changing. So far, 67 customers are without power (as shown below). Once blizzard conditions occur, SMECO has said that, "We will not risk the safety of our crews. Restorations will resume once the winds fall back below blizzard force." And that could be as late as midnight tonight.
The Bottom Line is that we're in the peak of the storm from right now (9:30am) through about 5pm tonight. High winds are likely and the snow can be heavy to moderate at time. Power Outages will be likely, and travel will be near impossible. Many have already seen 12-16"+ of snow, and you can expect to add 6-12 more inches on top of that by the time all is said and done. I will continue to keep Facebook, Twitter, the website, and Periscope updated as best I can. However, in the event that I lose power, I can not guarantee that. The clean up process will start tomorrow, and will last for days. For the latest school closings and delay, I will have them on social media first!
Heavy snow and sleet are likely throughout the night. Immediate Bayside locations may mix with rain as well. So far, most of the region has already seen 4-9" of snow, and we still have 24 hours to go! High winds are also starting to become problematic.
Road conditions are deteriorating FAST. Stay off the roads to allow those who have to be on the roads as easily of a time as possible. Traveling tonight and tomorrow could be life threatening. Snow Emergencies have been issued for each county in Southern MD. That means prohibited parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes. Also, the use of snow tires/chains is recommended (most cars now use all weather tires, so changing to "snow" tires is unnecessary).
Winds right now are averaging 25-30mph gusting up to 35-40mph. I suspect we'll start to see more power outages now. Trees and branches will also start to fall. Once blizzard conditions are reported, SMECO will suspend restoration efforts until the winds diminish, sometime late Saturday. The highest winds are expected from 1am to 1pm Saturday.
The Precipitation Type everyone started with was some snow this afternoon around noon, and has been picking up in intensity since then. 1-2" snow hour rates are likely at times tonight. As forecasted, some may have sleet mixed in with the snow. We could also see just straight sleet tonight for a period. Areas in southern St. Mary's could also see some rain. The time for mixing is from 10pm (now) through 8-9am Saturday, then we head back to all snow. The further south you head, the higher the chance of sleet and rain mixing in.
The Bottom Line is that conditions are deteriorating across Southern Maryland. The heavy snow and sleet will make travel near impossible and the high winds will knock power out and prevent SMECO from working on the issues right away. The worst conditions from this Blizzard will be felt from 1am tonight through 1pm Saturday afternoon. 4-9" of snow has already been reported, and we're just getting started. Our forecast of 12-18" (south of 231) and 18-24" (north of 231) look to be spot on. Below is an image of my snow totals so far that I've measured.
NOTE: Due to possible power outages, I may not be able to update the website. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates as well. Stay with the JB Weather team for the latest.
As of 4:45pm, here's where we stand right now with the Blizzard of 2016. Light to Moderate snow is falling across the region, and has been doing so since around noon today. Great call by the school districts to close today. As of 4:40, I have recorded 2.5" inches in Solomons, MD.
Temperatures are lower than originally thought. What does this mean? Well it means two things that are very important. Firstly, that means that more snow is able to fall and accumulate. After 2-3 hours of snow, most already reported 1-2" of snow. I'm sure those totals are way higher now. I expect for this to continue throughout the day. It's for this reason alone that it looks like our updated forecast should verify. Secondly, this means that it will take longer for temperatures to get to the point for mixing to occur, and when it does occur, it shouldn't last for too long, maybe just a few hours. It's for this reason that snow totals could be on the higher side of our ranges
The Storm Track looks to be further south than I had expected. Our new area of low pressure is forming off the South Carolina/Georgia border, when I had expected it off the South Carolina/North Carolina border. What does this mean? This will allow our already colder than forecasted temperatures to stick around. This also means that the mixing line may not be as far north as thought. Having this further south storm track is good news for snow lovers. This by no means signifies that we'll get the heaviest snow, but it does mean that we could see some more snow. Additionally, this storm track could mean that the winds may not be as high, but could still be above 35mph.
The Bottom Line is that things are working in favor for snow lovers right now. The temperatures are cold than thought, and the storm is tracking further south. Expect for the snow to continue, and increase in intensity, throughout the night. If we're going to mix with sleet or rain, it would be between 3am and 10am Saturday. However, some areas in SoMD (Huntingtown, La Plata, Lower Marlboro) may never mix. We are still expecting blizzard conditions, but the winds may not be as high as once feared. Power Outages are still possible, if not likely. Tomorrow midday and early afternoon will feature the heaviest snow for SoMD of the whole storm. The earlier arrival means that snow should leave later, and I'm thinking the snow tapers off between 5pm and 12pm Saturday. Our final forecast was for 12-18" south of Route 231, and 18-24" north of there. We're not changing our forecast, but totals could definitely be on the higher side of those ranges, and might exceed them. Stay off the roads, and inside. Snow removal personnel, SMECO crews, and emergency personnel do not need to worry about navigating around us to do their job. This storm looks to be a top 2 all-time snowstorm. Stay with JB Weather for continuing coverage.
...HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY.
* TIMING: .LATE TONIGHT THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY AFTERNOON.
* WINDS: NORTHEAST 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 65 MPH...BECOMING NORTH SATURDAY.
* IMPACTS: DOWNED TREES... POWERLINES...AND MINOR STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. DRIVING HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES IN THESE CONDITIONS IS DANGEROUS.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTION. A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A DAMAGING WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED. SUSTAINED WINDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR MORE WILL CAUSE TREE AND PROPERTY DAMAGE. ANTICIPATE POWER OUTAGES. IF YOU LIVE NEAR LARGE TREES... REMAIN IN A LOWER LEVEL OF YOUR HOME OR SEEK SHELTER ELSEWHERE IF POSSIBLE.
Many who know me know that I HATE to change my forecast last minute or during a storm. However, the only time I've ever done it in the past two and half years, it was necessary. Like last time, this is a necessary update. It looks like this storm exceed my previous expectations. It looks very likely that most of the region will see at least 12" of snow, with some getting over 18".
The storm also looks to come in a bit earlier than previously forecasted. Snow should start across Southern MD between 11am and 2pm today. Some sleet and rain may mix in at time Saturday, but mixing problems will not be a big worry.
Our Blizzard WARNING takes effect at 1pm today, with Governor Hogan's State of Emergency for Maryland already in effect. Many schools and businesses are already closed today, or scheduled to close early, and will remain closed all weekend.
It will take days to recover from this high impact, crippling blizzard. Wherever you are by lunchtime, expect to stay there for days. SMECO announced yesterday that if the winds get to Blizzard conditions (35mph gusts for 3 or more hours) they will be forced to wait to restore any outed power until the storm comes to an end to ensure safety for their workers.
For more in depth information, refer to yesterday's post.
Stay with JB Weather for non-stop 24/7 coverage here on the website, the Facebook page, the Twitter page, and on my Periscope.