A potentially wet and messy storm is heading our way Sunday night, another winter episode to keep an eye of in a season full of snow and ice.
Forecasters across the board are saying it’s hard at this point to tell if the storm will bring snow, ice, sleet, rain or some combination of all four.
Here’s a sampling of what area weather watchers are saying as we head into the weekend:
Monday Snow Probabilities
Chance of at least 1″: 50% (60% north & west burbs)
Chance of at least 4″: 25% (35% north & west burbs)
As we’ve said over the past couple days, the metro area will likely be in or near the wintry mix battleground between primarily snow to the north and primarily rain to the south. The models continue to advertise that the storm will likely start as rain as early as late Sunday afternoon or as late as Sunday evening or overnight, developing first in the far north and west suburbs and then spreading south and east. Rain likely transitions to mixed precipitation overnight (rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow are all possible) from northwest to southeast. Then the big question is if and how early Monday precipitation transitions to mostly or all snow, before ending by or during Monday evening.
Some of today’s models have trended colder and snowier for Monday, while others have trended warmer and more toward mixed precipitation. Even the models we trust the most are still wavering from run to run, and that inconsistency means we still can’t say with much confidence how much of each precipitation type will fall and where.
Storm scenarios (note: the lines depicted are not authoritative, they’re highly generalized)
Track 1: This scenario would play out should the boundary between warm/cold establish itself near us and the low tracks either over the region, or just to the south. Warm air thrown in front of the system, and a lack of cold air to reinforce throws the rain/snow line back deep into Pennsylvania.
Track 2: This scenario involves a low tracking through southern Virginia or northern NC. This scenario involves more cold air to start with so precipitation starts frozen and stays frozen along I-95 including Washington and Baltimore. Areas far N/W stay all snow. This is the scenario the models appear to be shifting away from
Track 3: Southern track even more south of Track 2 would push the mixing line to I-95 and deeper into the Eastern Shore as the push of cold air in front and behind are stronger. This is the solution models seem to be heading towards
Mark Ellinwood (Mad US Weather):
Forecast models are having a tough time trying to decide what they want to do with DC's mix/snow potential Sunday into Monday.
— Mark Ellinwood (@markellinwood) February 28, 2014
Howard Bernstein (WUSA9):
Hey DC! With the rain to sleet and snow potential of Monday, it's going to be tough to make accumulation forecasts. Stay tuned….
— Howard Bernstein (@hbwx) February 28, 2014
Weather.com: Freezing rain/sleet on Monday with a 90 percent chance of precipitation.
AccuWeather.com: Rain Sunday night into Monday, when it will become an icy mix. Monday will get colder with periods of snow, sleet and freezing rain in the afternoon with 1-3 inches of snow.