This page will serve as our winter update home for all of our Blythewood Landscape Management clients. Please check back regularly as we will post our plans of action for every area affected by the winter storms.
*** A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for a mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain tomorrow from 4am to 1pm ***
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for DC, Baltimore, and the surrounding area from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. It is forecasting up to an inch of sleet and snow and the possibility of a light (0.1 inches) glaze of ice.
This advisory extends until 4 p.m. in our far north and west suburbs, including northwest Montgomery, northern Fauquier, and Loudoun counties, where frozen precipitation is likely to last longer due to colder temperatures. In these areas, there is higher potential for an icy glaze (up to 0.2 inches) on top of the snow and sleet. In Frederick County, Md. and to its east across northern Maryland, the Weather Service forecasts one to two inches of snow and sleet accumulation. Advisories are not in effect in Southern Maryland, where mostly rain is predicted.
The period of greatest concern is between about 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., coinciding with the morning commute, when temperatures will be lowest and the chance of frozen precipitation highest. This is your typical Washington/Baltimore winter weather event in which conditions will tend to deteriorate as you head into the colder areas north and west of the Beltways, where the chance of snow and sleet accumulation and slick spots is greatest.
Forecasts by zone
As conditions will vary widely over the region, from mostly rain in Southern Maryland to substantial amounts of frozen precipitation toward the Interstate 81 corridor, we’ve divided the region into four zones, shown on the map below.
Zone 1: Northern Maryland, eastern panhandle of West Virginia and northwest Virginia
(Includes Winchester, Hagerstown, Frederick and Westminster)
Moderate accumulations of snow and sleet (one to three inches) and a glaze of freezing rain are possible in this region, as temperatures will be lowest here, and precipitation is likely to remain in a frozen form for a good portion of the event. Precipitation should begin as snow and sleet early Thursday morning, and then transition to more sleet and freezing rain as the morning wears on. Some areas could change to plain rain during the afternoon, but pockets of freezing rain may linger even into the evening in some of the colder valleys in the western parts of this zone.
Zone 2: Washington’s and Baltimore’s north and west suburbs
(Includes Warrenton, Leesburg, Rockville, Columbia and Towson)
Mixed precipitation should begin just before dawn and snow and/or sleet is likely to put down a coating to an inch through midmorning or so. More sleet than snow is likely to fall. Road surfaces, especially those that are untreated, could turn slick. Some areas may change to plain rain by late morning, and most areas should do so during the afternoon, but there may be a few colder spots (sheltered valleys) where temperatures hardly budge — which would allow for a slick glaze of freezing rain to develop. The freezing rain risk may be mitigated by the fact that precipitation will fall heavily at times and make it hard for ice to adhere to surfaces such as trees and power lines. Also, temperatures in this zone may hover right around freezing (between 30 and 34 degrees) — and would need to be lower for a more serious ice buildup.
Zone 3: The immediate Washington area and city of Baltimore
(Includes Gainesville, Manassas, Fairfax, Bethesda, Laurel and Annapolis)
Precipitation may begin as light rain predawn but transition to a wintry mix of sleet and snow around sunrise through the midmorning hours. Then the wintry mix may transition to rain. However, it’s possible that pockets of sleet and freezing rain linger into the early afternoon in some of the colder areas. Temperatures in this zone will be near if not above freezing, generally limiting accumulation. However, slick spots could form during any heavy bursts of frozen precipitation. Even if icy travel does not materialize, roads will be wet, and visibility will be reduced because of the messy mix of falling precipitation — so allow extra time to reach your destination.
Zone 4: Far southern suburbs and Southern Maryland
(Includes Fredericksburg and La Plata)
Expect mostly a cold rain in this zone. A little sleet or wet snowflakes could mix with the rain during the early morning, but roads should mostly remain just wet.
Plan of Action:
For properties in Zone 1, we recommend treating parking lots and sidewalks before the rush hour and then monitor the storm to see if any accumulation does occur and either plow or treat each property as necessary.
For properties in Zone 2, a pre-treatment of salt and or calcium on the parking lots and sidewalks should do the job. Crews will remain on standby in the event any unexpected accumulation occurs and either plow or treat as necessary.
We believe that no action will be necessary for Zones 3 and 4 but we will keep a close eye on things and will be ready to service any property if needed.
Please reply back to this email if you wish to decline service at your property for this winter weather event.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me or Mike at 410-200-5056.
Have a great night!
*** It could snow in the Washington / Baltimore area tomorrow ***
How often does that happen in November?
It’s only the second week of November, and we’re already talking about snow. A wintry mix is in the forecast for Thursday morning, and snow could coat the grass in the D.C./Baltimore metro areas and accumulate up to two inches in the higher-elevation suburbs.
Ian Livingston, climatologist for the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang, discusses snow in November. When asked about the history of snow in November, his answer was pretty much what we expected.
“There really isn’t much of one,” he said, “although the north and west suburbs get a little from time to time.”
Measurable November snow hasn’t fallen in Washington in more than two decades. The last time it snowed enough to measure was 1996, and even then it was just two-tenths of an inch — barely enough to register on a yardstick.
That’s not to say snowflakes are rare in November, they just don’t tend to accumulate enough to measure. The last time we saw snow in the air in November was 2014 during a storm similar to what we have in the forecast this week; the National Weather Service had a winter storm warning up in the far-northern and western suburbs, and a winter weather advisory in the immediate northern and western suburbs. Although Dulles ended up with 1.3 inches from that storm, there wasn’t enough snow to measure beyond a “trace” at Reagan National Airport.
In fact, Washington has measured November snow more than 50 times since records began in 1871. Washington’s average November snowfall is half an inch — the product of many Novembers with no accumulation punctuated by significant winter storms.
The top November snowfall records in the capital are more than three decades old at least, with the largest being a surprise storm in 1987, better known now as the Veterans Day Storm. The night before, forecasts called for up to an inch of wet snow. Some forecasters were predicting that it would be nothing but rain. “Just two days before, it had been nearly 70 degrees,” Jason Samenow wrote. “The air wasn’t cold enough for much snow, forecasters said, and the ground was too warm for much to stick.”
Those forecasts were very, very wrong. The next morning, snow was falling at a rate of three inches per hour with thunder and lightning. The storm was crippling. By the time it was over, nearly a foot of snow had accumulated in the capital.
The earliest snow measured in Washington was Oct. 10, 1979. A frigid rain fell the night before, postponing the first game of the World Series at Memorial Stadium, where the Orioles were scheduled to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The next morning, rain turned to wet, heavy snow. In Washington and Baltimore, 0.3 inches fell, but totals up to seven inches were reported in the northern and western suburbs. Dulles recorded 1.3 inches. “The tree damage was especially severe because the trees had not yet lost their leaves, allowing huge amounts of snow to accumulate on the branches,” the Capital Weather Gang’s Kevin Ambrose wrote in his book, “Washington Weather.” “Huge snowflakes were accompanied by lightning and thunder.”
Plan of Action:
There are no advisories posted for our area as of yet but that’s not to say that the NWS wont post something later today or early tomorrow morning. With that said, because of the possibility of winter weather, we will be preparing our equipment to service properties in the event this storm does the unexpected and drops some snow or covers us in ice. Standby for updates if the forecast changes.
Also, please reply back to this email if you any contact info that needs to be updated on our end.
Have a great day!