- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

The region’s first major snowstorm in nearly a year is expected to arrive in full force today, bringing two to 10 inches of snow and chilling winds that will make the temperature feel like 10 degrees.

“This is our shot of winter,” said Brian Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. “Usually by this time, we would have about a foot, and we’ve had only about half of that.”

In fact, the region has had just 4.8 inches of snow since November, with the only significant storm on Dec. 5 and 6, which brought roughly 2.9 inches of snow.

Early forecasts called for a winter-storm watch and snow to begin falling this morning.

However, the Weather Service said yesterday that snow could start falling before daybreak and issued a heavy-snow warning. Four to eight inches is expected to blanket the region by early afternoon. The snow is expected to continue through the evening, then taper into snow showers with strong wind by tomorrow morning.

The storm is a combination of low pressure in the South and cold air from the Midwest that will connect in Virginia, then track up the coast.

Regions east and south of the District are expected to receive the heaviest snowfalls, with possible accumulations of 10 inches.

“This may bring us to our average snowfall, because we are about six inches below normal,” Mr. Guyer said.

This winter has been mild, to be sure.

Though temperatures this week were in the 30s, they reached 60 degrees last week. The average temperature this season is about five degrees above normal, Mr. Guyer said.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s or 60s again next week.

Road crews across the region were preparing as early as yesterday morning.

“All our trucks are ready, all of our people are ready,” said David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. “We will have people out before the first flake ever touches the ground.”

He said a storm arriving during a weekend has mixed consequences. Fewer vehicles on the roads allow plows, salting-trucks and other equipment to move more freely. However, a constant flow of traffic creates the friction and heat that helps melt the snow.

Bill Rice, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, cautioned motorists to drive carefully and use Metro if possible.

The revised forecast also brought a late round of cancellations. Several schools canceled activities for today in anticipation of inclement weather.


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